In addition to the various scriptures, chapters, books, pamphlets, brochures, newsletters, quarterlies, bulletins, letters, street signs, billboards, chore lists, and car dashboard indicator lights that I am currently reading, I am also reading The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst. This novel is also published under another title, Lorelei's Secret.
It is the story of a grieving widower, Paul Iverson, who does not understand how or why his wife fell from an apple tree in the backyard. Was it an accident? Was it suicide? With only their dog, Lorelei, as a witness, the linguist tries to piece together clues while attempting to train the dog to talk.
I did not buy this book at a store, nor did I purchase it online. Instead, I think it was sent to me through a "Bestsellers Book Club" that I once joined. I was surprised to find out that this was the #12 selection for the Today Show Book Club Series.
I sure wish I could understand what animals are saying. I wonder, are my cats, Penny and Simon, just telling me over and over, "I'm hungry. I'm hungry. I'm hungry. I'm hungry..."? It seems I will never know for sure. When I was in Arkansas, we played one of the board games that I took on the trip. It was Would You Rather...? (Classic Version), and one of the questions posed that night has remained with me: Would you rather.... automatically understand all foreign languages or understand all animal languages? Unanimously, we agreed on the foreign languages...but I keep rolling the options around in my head - weeks later. Hmmmm.....
The book's lead character carries out various attempts at teaching the dog to speak the English language, and that reminds me of Talk to the Animals by Sammy Davis Jr. (I can't find a site with him singing the song, but here are the lyrics.) It also reminds me of several talking animal jokes I've heard.
One day a man went to an auction. While there, he bid on a parrot. He really wanted this bird, so he got caught up in the bidding. He kept on bidding, but kept getting outbid. So, he bid higher and higher and higher. Finally, after he bid way more than he intended, he won the bid. The parrot was his at last! As he was paying for the parrot, he said to the auctioneer, "I sure hope this parrot can talk. I would hate to have paid this much for it, only to find out that he can't talk!" "Don't worry." said the Auctioneer, "He can talk. Who do you think kept bidding against you?"
A man and his dog walk into a restaurant. The man proclaims, "I'll bet you a $1000 that my dog can talk." Waiter: "Yeah! Sure... go ahead." Man: "What covers a house?" Dog: "Roof!" Man: "How does sandpaper feel?" Dog: "Rough!" Man: "Who was the greatest ball player of all time?" Dog: "Ruth!" Man: "Pay up. I told you he could talk." The waiter, annoyed at this point, throws both of them out the door. Sitting on the sidewalk, the dog looks at the guy and says, "or is the greatest player Mantle?"
Two roaches were munching on garbage in an alley when one engages a discussion about a new restaurant."I was in that new restaurant across the street," said one. "It's so clean! The kitchen is spotless, and the floors are gleaming white. There is no dirt anywhere. It's so sanitary that the whole place shines." "Please," said the other roach frowning. "Not while I'm eating!"
Q: What's smarter than a talking horse? A: A spelling bee.
Q: What does a frog say when it washes car windows? A: Rub it, rub it, rub it.
Q: How do you get a parrot to talk properly? A: Send him to polytechnic!
A guy driving around the countryside and saw a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog For Sale.” He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a Labrador Retriever sitting there. “You talk?” he asks. “Yep,” the Lab replies. The man asks, “So, what’s your story?”
The Lab looks up and says, “Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running. But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired”
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog. “Ten dollars,” the owner replies. Astonished, the guy yells, “Ten dollars?!?!?! This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?” The owner retorts, “Because he’s a liar. He never did any of that stuff!”