Today the National Evil finds himself experiencing an odd sensation. A kind of tender pity wedded to a loving disgust. For you see: the world’s ugliest dog, 2008 edition, has been crowned.
Gus, described as “a three-legged, one-eyed, hairless pedigree Chinese crested”, won the award days ago. But something has been bothering the Evil ever since, and he had a hell of a time figuring out exactly what. Evil loves dogs. Evil loves ugly dogs. Evil is fascinated and creeped out by three-legged, one-eyed dogs—the pirate captains of the canine world.
Then the Evil read this snippet: Gus’s owner says “she would spend $1,000 prize on treatment for Gus’s skin cancer.” And she entered him in the contest to “raise awareness and hope for people whose pets have cancer.”
Here’s where the Evil becomes a muddle of conflicting emotions. On the one hand, that is certainly a wonderful use of prize money, plus a noble purpose for entering your dog into the contest. On the other . . . is this a slippery slope or what? Should we equate “desperately ill” or “cancer-ravaged” with “ugly”?
Something strikes the Evil as ominous about a three-legged, one-eyed, cancer-ridden dog winning an “ugliest” dog competition. Was Gus all that ugly before the cancer? What about all the other dogs that were born ugly? Shouldn’t “ugliness” cleave to the flesh as the flesh cleaves to the bone?
Can you achieve ugly?
One might suggest his owner is making the best of an ugly situation, to which the Evil can’t muster much of an argument. It seems the purpose of the world’s ugliest dog contest is to salute the humans who see a wretched beast and love it anyway. And that probably works equally well for a person who travels cross-country to show her love for her sick dog.
Still—the Evil can’t shake this vision from his head: Somewhere a twisted soul hunkers in a rusting trailer stinking of moldy pizza and cat piss. He smacks the fuzz out of his TV, tweaks its rabbit ears, and sees a news report about Gus the W.U.D. And he looks at his own dog and thinks, “Three legs wins you a grand? Hell, I can do better than that!”
Sometimes the Evil scares himself . . .