Miles’s pal Joey

Joey is best unseen.

I hate Joey.

I know, hate is a strong word. Maybe loathe is better; it has an appropriately slimy ring.

Joey is a companion of Miles (you might say they’re attached), and he is as omnipresent as he is slovenly. He has left his mark on the couch, a bedspread, pillowcases, and pretty much everywhere else Miles has taken him.

The site of Joey makes me sick; he literally triggers my gag reflex. He peeks out from under or around Miles and leers at me through his veiny visage. My better half doesn’t like Joey either, but he has a stronger stomach than I. And I don’t think Joey looks at him with the same unnerving animus.miles_joey1

I’ve considered putting out a hit on Joey, but I can’t afford it. My partner in crime has suggested taking care of Joey ourselves; a slow, subtle method involving fishing line. I now sleep with one eye open. (In his defense, my partner grew up in Kansas.)

Although Miles could live without Joey, they’ve been inseparable for years, and Miles cares for Joey with almost parental devotion. He seems especially affectionate toward Joey when I’m trying to eat.

I used to be able to tune out Joey. But Joey has grown, and is rarely out of sight long enough to put out of mind.

Joey is a freeloading, ne’er-do-well. He is Randy Quaid in Christmas Vacation.

And I don’t think Joey is going anywhere anytime soon. At least not without some fishing line.

Miles gets kind of blue when you yell at him for licking Joey.
Miles gets kind of blue when you yell at him for licking Joey.

Joey, you see, is the name my significant other assigned to Miles’s skin tag. The weird, nipple-like protrusion that sprouted from Miles’s underside has been thus dubbed because saying “skin tag” is gross. After a couple years, however, the joke now insinuates a sentient being.

Skin tags are the olives of canine skin disorders, the mushrooms of mongrel aging; you know they’re not inherently harmful, but there’s a repellent gruesomeness to their appearance and texture. The knowledge that these benign growths are common in older dogs and are noncancerous (except to the psyche) does not make them any more agreeable. Neither, alas, does naming them.

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