Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dude, I'll Trade You a Carl Yastremski for Your Last Beggin' Strip

Today and Sunday are days that remind me of childhood in all of its glory. Currently, we are in the midst of International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. One might think that such a holiday were for the dogs. One would be right. After all, dogs, above all living creatures, likely appreciate dog biscuits. However, do they need one day to commemorate that appreciation? Being an amateur scientist, I have been closely observing my dog today. He wags his tail just as actively today as any other when he is offered a treat. He seems to appreciate his biscuits as much today as any other.

Perhaps we should be the species appreciating dog biscuits, after all.  Think about what they allow us to do. Without the biscuit, it would be just that much more difficult to train our dogs to do many of the things that we come to expect them to do. It would be hard to get them to sit. It would be hard to get them to shake. It would be impossible to get them to balance a biscuit on their snouts if we had no biscuits.  In the place of biscuits, we might be forced to offer our dogs small bird carcasses or pieces of rabbit as rewards, and that would just be gross. Who wants to keep a basket of bloody birds and rabbits atop their fridge?

Another segment of the human population appreciates dog biscuits, also. If one were to spend enough time on the message board, one would get the impression that a surprising number of people seem totally cool with eating biscuits and dog food (mostly the wet kind, I infer). Granted this is a segment of the population that spends time posting to the message board to begin with, so they are most likely not a representative segment (one can only hope), but many of them seem almost proud of their predilection for narfing Milk Bones. Hey, man, whatever floats your boat, I suppose.

Regardless of whether or not this is a representative sample of humanity or not, I did mention that the holiday they most admire puts me in mind of my own childhood. The reason being, a friend of mine had a habit of nibbling on his dog’s treats, too. I don’t remember what the brand was, but they came in different colors and shapes that I think were representative of what they were supposed to taste like. The yellow triangles, for instance, were supposed to taste like cheese. If I recall, his reports indicated that there really was little, if any, flavor in them, regardless of the color or shape. I almost wish I still kept in contact with the dude to see if he still likes snacking on bacon-flavored crunchies.

This dog biscuit-eater was also one of the guys I used to spend hours with as a kid trading baseball cards. He used to have a Pabst Blue Ribbon case full of his cards. He was one of the guys who would order a whole set from Topps or Fleer or whatever company was printing cards. I only bought them by the pack, so my collection was not as grand as his, but we spent the bulk of many a summer day drinking lemonade and trading an Al Bumbry for an Oscar Gamble and a Rick Manning. Of course, he’d have to run into the kitchen every now and again to snatch a cheesy puppy bite, but that was no matter. 

That other childhood memory is brought to the front of my mind on account of Sunday’s observation of National Trading Card Day. It is understandable that this is merely a national observance and not an international day. Most likely, the children of France and Vietnam do not spend their early days exchanging pieces of cardboard with pictures of sports heroes on them, but since the concept of the trading card has proliferated, I can envision a future with not only an International Trading Card Day, but also an intergalactic observance, as well. Even in my own trading card trafficking, I watched as the industry moved out of its baseball-centric origins to include football and hockey, and then into movies like Star Wars, Jaws, Grease, and all of the sequels for these films. (Yes, there were Grease 2 trading cards…not that I bought any of them.) Nowadays, I imagine they have trading cards for all manner of thing: WWE, Legos, American Idol. In truth, however, all of this is speculation. It is entirely possible that the trading card industry is dying and being almost single-handedly propped up my forty year old men with plastic-cased cardboard photos of Odibe McDowell in a color-coded three ring notebook.

Whether the trading card industry is alive and well or in the midst of death throes, and whether you appreciate dog biscuits as a consumer or a distributor, I hope this last weekend in February brings you child-like joy.