October 11, 2003

Bilious Dog

Have you ever had one of those days where you return home to find a pile of yellow dog bile on the hall stairs carpet?

America's Silliest Dog is also a Bilious Dog.

The Thirteen-Year-Old heard it happen. He immediately hustled the dog outside. Hustling the dog outside (1) minimized the problem should the dog vomit more, or again; (2) delayed his having to face the pile of bile; (3) while still allowing him to claim that he was fulfilling his dog-care responsibilities.

Once outside, however, the dog was not sick as a dog--the dog was not sick at all. She picked up the scent of a five-point buck just outside the front door, tracked it into the creekbed, flushed it, and then chased it up the hill at full speed. The Thirteen-Year-Old labored up the hill after them, getting his legs scratched by the Armenian yellow star thistle.

A healthy five-point buck has nothing to fear from a short-legged undersized Labrador Retriever. But any stern chase is a long chase.

"Bilious dog," I said to Ann Marie when she got home.

"The dog is not bilious," said Ann Marie. She does not have a liver disease showing itself in excess bile secretion. Nor does she have a peevish and ill-natured disposition."

"But there was a pile of yellow bile on the stairway hall carpet. And there are so few opportunities to correctly use the word 'bilious' in everyday conversation."

"But you are not using 'bilious' correctly. You are using the word incorrectly. And there are a near-infinity of opportunities to use 'bilious' incorrectly. Opportunities to use words incorrectly are never scarce..."

Posted by DeLong at October 11, 2003 12:50 PM | TrackBack


Well, if you're Captain Haddock from the Tintin comics, then you can always say "Billions of blue bilious blistering barnacles!" whenver you stub your toe or something...

But I suppose you aren't Captain Haddock.

Posted by: Julian Elson on October 11, 2003 02:02 PM

Even less often do we get a chance to say, "You brought that bile on yourself."

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on October 11, 2003 05:00 PM

The Chinese just toss'em out on the street when they cease to be cute. I think they may be on to something (or is that on something?).

Posted by: David on October 11, 2003 10:50 PM

pedantic ann marie.

Posted by: bryan on October 12, 2003 06:02 AM

Ann Marie is incorrect: you used the word in its proper sense. She needs a copy of the OED.

Posted by: Michael on October 12, 2003 07:06 AM

Ann Marie is incorrect: you used the word in its proper sense. She needs a copy of the OED.

Posted by: Michael on October 12, 2003 07:08 AM

No, she is correct. The dog does not have a peevish and ill-natured disposition.

Posted by: Brad DeLong on October 12, 2003 08:40 AM

I think hurrying the dog outside also prevents it from lapping up its own vomit . . . not sure if that is a plus or a negative.

Posted by: cc on October 12, 2003 11:52 AM

My dog goes through periods of barfing, for no apparent reason at all. But I have found some correlations (with where I take him for a walk). I think that one cause is insecticide spray. Some apartment complexes and homes spray their lawns (including right up to the sidewalk) and don't put up signs. I've seen it happen.

Does your lab eat grass to induce vomiting?

Posted by: ETC on October 12, 2003 03:57 PM

The Lab eats grass, but does not as a rule vomit: it goes straight through.

The Lab also eats acorns, fewmets, mud, pears, blackberries, deer bones, lizards, spiders, dog food, salad ingredients (with the exception of lettuce, but including onions), meat, rice, cheese, table scraps, and lots of other things. It is a miracle that we are able to keep her at 60 pounds, considering how much of her brain is devoted to the constant search for food.

Posted by: Brad DeLong on October 12, 2003 04:39 PM

Somebody's gotta say it: mmmmm, fewments.

Posted by: David on October 12, 2003 06:33 PM

Would have been EVEN funnier without the typo of course.

Posted by: David on October 12, 2003 06:34 PM

Despite all your efforts, you had to clean the carpet yourself, didn't you.

I hate when that happens.

Posted by: Chuck Nolan on October 13, 2003 05:39 AM
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