"Why haven't you written a story this month?" asked Jake the Dog. He looks forward to my monthly articles and the stories are his favourite bits, though he likes it better when I put book reviews in as well. He claims that he uses the reviews as a guide to tell him which books he can pull off the shelves and munch on with impunity. He never chews the books that I praise.
He gets to see my articles before anyone else does. I always take careful note of his cogent criticisms and adjust the articles appropriately before I send them out. He is, if you like, my target audience. If he's happy, I know that everybody else will be happy as well.
"Well," I said, "neither you nor I have done very much of anything this month, so I didn't really have anything to write about."
"That's not quite true," said Jake. "I got a trip to the vet who gave me some nasty tasting medicine. Surely that's worth a mention?"
"Do you really want me to tell the world that you had to go to the vet because you got a rash on your willy?" I asked.
"Why not?" said Jake. "It's nothing to be ashamed of. It was only an allergic reaction to pollen. It serves me right for lying down on the grass to chew those yummy bones that you keep giving me. Actually, in some ways I miss it now that it is cured. The dogs at the park claimed that it gave me an interesting, mysterious and somewhat sexy aroma. There was an awful lot of good sniffing going on there before it finally got fixed."
"So that's why our daily walks were taking longer than usual," I said thoughtfully.
"The ball dogs didn't notice anything different though," said Jake. "But what else would you expect from a ball dog?"
"Ball dog?" I queried.
"Yes," said Jake. "Those complete and utter obsessives who only want to chase tennis balls. They are so totally single-minded about it that they never notice anything else that's going around them. They have no social skills whatsoever. Couldn't sniff a bottom if their lives depended on it. Their whole world is just balls!"
"Yes, they do seem somewhat narrow in their interests," I said. "I've tried giving them treats and I've tried scratching their ears, but I never get anywhere. If it's not round and bouncy they just don't want to know."
"Us dogs have a special word for them," said Jake.
"Really?" I said. "What is it?"
"We call them geeks," said Jake. "Or nerds."