A Dog’s Life
(A one act play)
By Patrick F. Cannon
Scene: In a drab, institutional room, there is a counter; above it, a sign proclaims: “Bureau of Vital Statistics.” Behind the counter is a drab, institutional man of indeterminate age. Let’s call him the clerk (C). Facing him is a well-dressed younger man. He wears a suit and tie, and a fresh haircut for his full head of hair. Let’s call him the supplicant (S). Although there is no one else in the room, the clerk ignores the supplicant until he rings a bell on the counter.
C – Can I help you, sir?
S – Yes, I need to change my birth certificate.
C – Is there some mistake on it?
S – Not exactly.
C – Would you want to be changing your sex? We get a lot of people who think they got the sex wrong when they filled out the Birth Certificate. The legislature passed a law that says it’s OK to do that now, so no problem. If you’ll give me your name and date of birth, I’ll pull up the record and fix it. Would you be going from male to female, or female to male?. Oh, I’ll need to see your driver’s license and Social Security card.
S – No, that’s not it, although if someone wants to pretend they’re the opposite sex, who am I to object? Live and let live, I say. Anyway, the Constitution guarantees equal rights for everyone, as it should. No, I want to change my species.
C (looking more than a little perplexed) – Your what?
S – My species. I want to change form Homo sapien to Canis familiaris.
C – I don’t understand. You what?
S – I decided I wanted to be a dog instead of a human. Dogs are loving and loyal; everyone loves a good dog, and I intend to be one of the best. So, if you’ll just change the record, that’ll make it official.
C – I don’t know. There’s no box on the form for that. I guess it just kind of assumes everyone is a human being. Besides, you don’t look anything like a dog.
S – Not to worry. I’ll let my hair grow and learn how to bark. I’d consider plastic surgery, but I’m not sure it would work in this case.
C – But you wouldn’t really be a dog! You can’t be a dog by just deciding to be one.
S – You can’t really change your sex either, so what’s the problem?
C – Well, I guess you’re right. What breed would you like to be?
S – I rather see myself as a Labrador retriever. Oh, and I’ll need to change my name too.
C – What would you like?
S – How about Fido?
C – How’s that spelled?