My Dog Ollie

For years and years I visited a New England antiques shop while on vacation. There, a Victorian-era kaleidoscope was displayed among an otherwise rather thin and unexciting inventory comprised largely of frilly, fussy items. The kaleidoscope was priced at more than double its market value.

One day, I thought, value would catch up to price.

Going to this antiques store became, more than anything else, a census-taking exercise: will the kaleidoscope still be in inventory? Maybe this qualifies me for government employment.

Mostly, though, and far more productively, I visited Ollie at the same antiques store.

Brought to the store as a puppy, Ollie was cute. What puppy isn’t? He had vigorous, long, fluffy, puffy cinnamon colored fur.

Though appearing to be the texture of straw, Ollie’s coat was silky and practically insisted on being stroked. As did he. Behind his ears and on his tummy were the preferred locations.

He wasn’t especially particular about who did the stroking. Seemingly, any-old-one would do.

Ollie is one of those currently fashionable, cross-bred mutts that people today like to pay substantially more money for than they would for a pure-bred AKC dog capable of winning Westminster.

Recognizing this oddity of canine valuation, the kaleidoscope’s price tag began to make considerable sense. Inflated, certainly; but logical, in a peculiar way.

And so I would visit the shop, fulfilling a singular mission and killing two birds with the same stone: wishing Ollie and the kaleidoscope each a Happy Birthday. At least Ollie grew – the toy just gathered dust as the ink handwriting on its price tag faded a little bit more with each passing year.

This year, to my surprise, the kaleidoscope had been marked down to a third of its original price.

Previously, I had announced privately that if the kaleidoscope was priced half what the tag asserted, I’d be interested in acquiring it.

What to do? Not much thinking required here. Run to the car, grab the checkbook and write the check. I did so promptly.

But here’s the twist: I wrote the check in the required amount, made it payable to the shop name, as directed and signed the check. But inadvertently, I post-dated it for a week in the future!