When I was a child, like most other children, I always wanted a pet.
Any type of pet would have made me happy, I imagine. Snakes and spiders aside, obviously. (Ew, a shiver runs down my spine just thinking of having to look after something like that!) My friend who lived down the street had a rabbit called Magic. It would have been fun. I wouldn't even have minded cleaning out the hutch. Several of my friends had cats - I wouldn't have minded one of them - easy to look after since they're independent and all. (I've since revised my opinion of cats though after the last two I was remotely friendly to made my eyes swell up for several days but back then I didn't have a problem with them.) I wouldn't even have minded a GOLDFISH or two. Better than nothing! One of my friends had a dog called Muffin, though. She was a Lhasa Apso and was actually the cutest little bundle of fur you ever did see. I was dying for one of my own.
But no. My parents never let me have a pet.
Probably a good thing. I can barely look after myself. But back then, I was extremely sad about this.
It means when people ask me what my "porn star" name is (based on your first pet's name and your mother's maiden name) I had NOTHING for a first name. I had to use my first teddy bear instead and, let's face it, Cuddles Tonner does NOT sound like the kind of person you would find starring in "Explosion . . . in your Face." It was just EMBARRASSING.
Now I KNOW what I should have done in order to get a dog.
I should have, first of all, ensured my parents had been born in the USA. This would serve a dual purpose since it always seemed a more fun place to live than Scotland anyway.
Then I would have encouraged my dad to run for president. Now, I realise this may be a slightly unrealistic dream but I'm sure my dad would be a good president. He ran for a place on our schoolboard when I was in high school and he had a far better reason as to why he would be good for the post than anyone else - well, I think he did, at the time he used lots of big words I didn't understand but it sounded impressive to me. Also, because he was a university lecturer before he retired this summer, he's obviously used to talking in front of people. And he's a very clever man.
So if he had put his mind to it, I'm sure he COULD have been president. And a very good one.
But anyway . . . once I'd convinced him to run for president and he'd done all the stuff president wannabes need to do and managed to win the election . . . then I'd FINALLY get my dog. "But it's TRADITION, daddy," I would wail. "The White House ALWAYS has a dog."
Things could have been so different . . .