My problems all started about one month ago when a friend of mine came up to me and said, "Hey Doug, you know Millie the White House dog has a book on the best seller list?" Now, the reason he mentioned this fact to me was threefold. First, because he knew I worked in the Bush White House as a writer. Second, because he knew I had a book published last year and third, because he was just downright mean.
I decided not to give him the satisfaction of seeing the inner pain I was indeed feeling with the news. "Fine," I said, "Swell. I think that's just wonderful news for Millie and her new family. Well, hey, I hope Hollywood options it for a mini-series and they get Lassie to play the part of Millie."
Somehow, I don't think I came across as sincere as I had hoped. I went home that night, opened up a can of spaghetti I had just bought for dinner, and contemplated where I went wrong in life. Outsold by a dog. My book had come in second (and a very poor second at that) to a tome penned by a creature whose idea of a really good time is chasing a stick on the South Lawn and then having its tummy scratched until its leg jerks uncontrollably. At 3 a.m. I suddenly sat bolt upright in bed and yelled, "Revenge! Millie wrote the book to get even with me."
I was now smiling and nodding my head in the dark to absolutely no one, because I was by myself at the time (another tale of woe best left unexplored.
The reason Millie wanted revenge against me was because I had accidentally kicked her in the head about a year ago at the White House. I was, and am, totally absent of any malice. It was truly an accident. I swear, Mrs. Bush.
What happened was that the First Lady was walking from the West Wing to the Executive Office Building. At that same time, I was walking to the West Wing. What Mrs. Bush did was cross West Executive Avenue and start walking up the ramp leading into the EOB.
Escorting her was a member of her trusted Secret Service detail and Millie. The Secret Service agent stayed with Mrs. Bush, but Millie decided to take a stroll down West Executive Avenue. I never saw the plaintiff come around the corner, Judge Wapner. Honest.
I'm only guessing at this point, but I assume once Millie realized that she had lost visual contact with the First Lady, she started double timing it to catch up. Well, Millie and I reached the corner of the ramp at exactly the same time, and "WHAM-O," man dents dog. Film at 11.
Mrs. Bush was kind enough to smile at me and continue on her way. Millie on the other hand, stared at me for a few seconds and then, I think, smirked, as if to say, "You're dog-meat, pal."
I guess what this exercise is all about is that I want to apologize to Millie. I'm sorry I kicked you. Let's call a truce.
Who knows, maybe someday we can even call ourselves "friends." We'll meet, share a drink out of the same toilet bowl, and exchange horror stories about writing.
I mean you never know, Millie -- at this very moment, Morris the Cat, might be hard at work on the great American novel. How would that make you feel?
Douglas MacKinnon is the author of "Footprints," the story of the men who walked on the moon.