Four: The American Dream

Posted: October 1, 2012 in The Road to Skid Row

If I was a Mexican with a leaf blower or a little girl with an ice cream, I would not have had a chance. The hiring man made it clear when he didn’t like someone. Jackson wore his prejudices on his sleeves. Or he would have done, if he wore clothes.

Weighing around 18kg (39lbs), with 90% pure muscle, I wasn’t ready to argue with him.  We all have our pet hates, but when it’s your pet doing the hating, well that’s even more reason to play dead.

Jackson’s mommy was a beautiful blonde actress from Alabama with a soft spot for crazy canines.  Mercedes was heading north to shoot a web series in Frisco and needed someone to look after her baby. Correction: Not some-one but some-two. One person couldn’t handle this little fella.

Jackson – and Mercedes’s Beverly Hills pad – was ours for a month, providing he liked me. The odds weren’t good. We were warned beforehand he doesn’t like men – it took him three-months to get used to Mercedes’s boyfriend. Then there was the persisting jet lag from the 12-hour flight to La La Land which messed up my sleep. I’ve been to some tough job interviews before but this was a cake taker.

Mercedes walked the Border Collie – now you understand why I say he’s crazy – to the sidewalk where I waited to meet him. Ruff, ruff ruff! He let rip like it was feeding time and I was the plat du jour. I was sure he’d get me: Mercedes looked like her wrist was going to snap trying to hold him back. We walked around for a while and the crazy mutt calmed down. He even did a shit on some greener-than-Ireland, Beverly Hills grass. Something in me enjoyed that. Dog’s got to poop his Lincoln Logs somewhere.

Within 20-minutes we were best pals. I was throwing his ball; he was catching it, bringing it back and dropping it at my feet. I’d never met such a clever dog, or a more exhausting one. After 30-minutes of catch I was ready to crash out.

Playtime paid off. We got the job and moved in with surprisingly little hesitation – all we had to do was survive the pup for a month.

This was my second zip code in a week and it was a hell of a step up. We were less than eight-miles away from East Hollywood, a mere 20 minute car ride in good traffic, and yet average property values jumped by $200,000. In one week I achieved the kind of social transformation most Americans never get close to. Of course it was false. We belonged in Beverly Hills about as much as Jackson did. Even less so, at least Jackson had a rich mommy.

I was living the American dream in the way comedian George Carlin understood it. “It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it,” Carlin joked. After a week of jet lag I was ready to believe any dream, so long as I could sleep through it.

Tune in on Thursday for the next installment of The Road to Skid Row.


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