Sunday, September 14, 2003


Do you know anyone who stands in their back yard in the middle of a rain storm and yells, "I've got green beans!"?

Hi, my name is Michael. Nice to meet you.

"I've got green beans!" has become an odd rallying cry around our home.

We learned some months ago that my "sister-in-law," Kasha, is being fed green beans on the advice of her veterinarian. Kasha was on medication that made her hungry so the vet suggested green beans as a low calorie solution to quell her desires.

As I have often mentioned, we have three dogs. They aren't on any medications, although I wouldn't object to regular doses of Prozac.

Despite the lack of need, Amy decided it would be fun to see if our dogs might eat green beans, as sort of a treat.

I vaguely recall my high school biology text defining a dog as a carnivore. This apparently is evidence of another flaw in our education system. Our dogs react to green beans like Martha Stewart does to triple coupon day at Hobby Lobby. They salivate in anticipation and celebration when the mere promise of green beans is indicated by the distant whir of an electric can opener.

Being responsible pet owners we treat the green beans like any other snack; we try to limit their intake.

Amy only buys them one case at a time.

Give us some credit, Amy and I quickly realized the potential upside to this behavior -- that we might be able to parlay it into a heretofore unseen phenomenon in our household: Dog obedience.

So, I have evolved into something akin to a Jolly Green Crack Dealer.

When I need the dogs to do something they're not used to doing, for example, pay attention to me, I bellow, "I've got green beans!"

Before we left for church this morning, I used my vast meteorological forecasting skills and pronounced with authority, "It's not going to rain!"

Hence, we left the dogs outside.

Upon our return, the puddles and mud in our backyard only added to my humility as our soaking wet and wound up dogs scurried about me in the driving rain. Of course, they refused to come inside.

Bravely, I stood foursquare against the storm.

I hollered the words I knew would return a small portion of my dignity.

"I've got green beans!"

Now the dogs are inside and like opium den customers of old they are satiated.

And I am perfectly willing to ignore the absurdity of the situation.

Perhaps I have attained an enlightened state of bean.