U-mail on the caninet

January 04, 1996|By H. H. Morris

MOST COMPUTER nerds didn't grow up in homes with real dogs. If they had a canine presence in their childhoods, it was a sibling rival their mothers could use as a muff, a mop or a table decoration -- a tiny, spoiled pretender to genuine doghood.

Only a dogless person could get thrilled by the Internet. The caninet has existed since prehistoric times and is far more complex.

Levi, mixed beagle and collie, and I follow a regular route. If Levi is desperate to void his bladder, he uses a bush in the front yard or the mail-box post. Otherwise, he holds his urine for two long blocks, until he reaches a neighborhood caninet terminal. It consists of one tree, a tangle of bushes ranging from berries to poison ivy, a brick wall, a row of weeds 40 yards long, a culvert's drain pipe and a street sign. He both receives and transmits u-mail.

For the next three or five blocks, depending on our route, Levi remains a quiescent pup on lead and choke chain. Then we hit another area with bushes, a fence, trees and more than a dozen mail boxes. He begins to run dry. Maybe he can't send the full text of ''War and Peace'' at this point, but he still has telegrams in him.

In the early '80s, my daughter played field hockey and lacrosse for Frostburg State. When my wife and I went to games we took Algernon, German Shepherd crossed with either wolf or coyote. He was well-behaved on a lead, and it was easier and cheaper to haul him around than board him.

Challenges to duel

Algernon enjoyed trips to Frostburg because we used the I-70 rest stops at the Frederick-Washington County line. He left lots of messages in the pet areas, probably challenges for a duel to the death, given his temperament.

He also liked it when the teams played in Salisbury and he could communicate on the caninet terminal at the Smyrna rest stop off Route 13 in Delaware. In addition, he established his own neighborhood patrol with appropriate bulletin boards until he got too old.

To humans, urine is a waste product not discussed in polite company. To dogs, it's an electron that needs no wires, modems or displays. When a male dog lifts his leg, he can speak as eloquently as Churchill during the darkest hours of the blitz.

If you think about it, most of what appears on the Internet is a waste product, too. One of these days we humans will evolve to the level of dogs. We don't need computers to do so.

H.H. Morris writes from Aberdeen.

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