Happy Linus Day!

One year ago, we adopted a rambunctious little brown pupper from a rescue shelter in Ruskin. We named him Linus. Here’s the story about how the little rascal joined our family and changed it forever. 

The Complimentary Spouse and I adopted Lucy, also a rescue, in 2013. We talked occasionally about getting her a little brother or sister, and from time to time we’d fawn over the puppy photos on the adoption sites. That’s what we were doing at lunch at Chili’s on January 25, 2020. We kept coming back to one picture of two playful pups. This is the photo: 

“Should I call?” I asked Britt.

“If you want to,” he said. 

I called and asked if the puppies were still available. The woman on the other end of the phone said they were, so I asked if we could see them next weekend.

“If they’re here next weekend,” she said. “There’s a lot of interest.” 

I thanked her and told Britt that we had to visit the puppies that day. He shrugged and agreed. It felt like he didn’t want to go.

We left the restaurant and made the half-hour drive to Ruskin. A woman with an English accent greeted us and escorted us to a gated enclosure. Inside were the two brown pups and their mother. We asked to hold the puppies. She opened the gate and took them out. They were warm and wanted to be held. It was love at first cuddle. 

We reluctantly gave back the puppies and went inside to talk to the shelter employees. We gushed over the dogs and made a pitch to adopt one of them. I said we were ideal candidates because: 

  • We already had one dog
  • Britt works close to home, so he could check in on the puppy once a day
  • We had the means to cover any medical costs that might come up
  • We used one of the top veterinary clinics in Tampa
  • We have an enclosed courtyard

We filled out the application form on the spot, and they told us that it would take about a week to make a decision. On Monday, I had our vet contact the shelter to attest to our capabilities as doting pet owners.  

On Tuesday, I called up the shelter to make sure they had everything they needed. I then asked how long it would take to make a decision. 

“They didn’t call you?” they asked over the phone. “You’re getting one of the dogs.” 

I was ecstatic. 

Britt and I had already discussed which dog we wanted. Both puppies were similar, but we decided we wanted the smaller one since Lucy was the runt of her litter. So I told the woman that we would come by Friday to get that dog; Britt didn’t have to work that day and I could take the day off. 

We drove out to Ruskin around 9 a.m. on Friday. We took along a new collar and lead, some toys, and a few towels. Linus seemed confused and less energetic than before, but just as affectionate. We were pleased to learn that his mother had been adopted a few days prior, and his brother was to be adopted that afternoon. Everyone was getting new homes! 

Here’s Britt the moment they brought Linus to us: 

We wanted to introduce Lucy and Linus in a neutral spot, so Britt took Linus to our Starbucks while I went home to fetch Lucy. We expected Lucy would growl at the strange little guy when they met. Instead, Linus barked at Lucy, surprising her and us. 

Linus’s adjustment wasn’t easy. He howled and whimpered all night until we let him sleep in the bed with us. He was hard to house train. He has a taste for shoes. He’s still quite stubborn and doesn’t always come when called. He’s definitely a barker! He likes to gnaw through power cords, so we’ve had to erect some makeshift barriers to keep him from electrocuting himself.2 

But, despite all these challenges, Linus has become the spark plug that drives our family. He plays often with Lucy, tugging at her ears. He tussles with his sister over chew toys. He has invented a game where he rolls a rubber ball under the coffee table and rushes to the other side to pick it up.3 If you’re lying on the couch, Linus loves nothing more than to curl up on your torso or nestle between your legs: 

Just as Lucy had done several years before, Linus reshaped our family dynamics — for the better. We can’t imagine life without him. 

When the pandemic ends, stop by and meet Linus. He might be skittish at first, but soon he’ll be jumping on your lap and into your heart. 

1 Britt explains his reluctance: He wasn’t sure he wanted another dog right away, “and I knew that as soon as I saw a puppy, I’d have to adopt it.”4
2 When you visit Camp David, don’t be surprised to see some folding chairs lying on their sides. 
3 Which means Britt and I have to crawl on the floor to reach the ball if it doesn’t roll all the way through. 
4 Which, of course, is exactly what happened.

Four Questions

The Four Questions Bless the Rain Down in Africa

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing a gray V-neck T-shirt, his blue sweatshirt, jeans, and Stan Smiths.

How does Dave feel today? Dave is celebrating.

What are the factors affecting Dave’s mood today? Dave is happy that today is the one-year anniversary of adopting Linus! He plans to write a long post about Linus later today.

What are some of Dave’s nicknames for Linus? Dave’s main nickname for Linus is Rascal. But Dave also calls Linus Hairy Hound-ini and the Quarantine Canine.

Four Questions

Take the Four Questions Down to Paradise City

What is Dave wearing today? Dave looks awesome in a Pride Lightning T-shirt, blue Adidas zip-up hoodie, jeans, Snoopy socks, and Stan Smiths.

How does Dave feel today? Dave is super happy.

What are the factors affecting Dave’s mood today? Dave is spending some socially distanced time with his family, including the two nephews and sister-in-law he hasn’t seen in more than a year.

Why is Dave mad at Starbucks today? Dave keeps asking baristas for absinthe lattes, but has yet to receive one.

Four Questions

The Four Questions Drove Their Chevy to the Levee

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing a Bucs T-shirt, jeans, and white socks.

How does Dave feel today? Dave is relieved.

What are the factors affecting Dave’s mood today? Dave has survived another work week.

What would Dave have done if he had won that billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot? Dave would have finally paid the late fees on that copy of Waterworld he never returned to Blockbuster in 1996.

Four Questions

Those Who Are Tardy Do Not Get the Four Questions

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing a Tampa Bay Lightning T-shirt (the one depicting a manatee holding a hockey stick), jeans, and gray socks. 

How does Dave feel today? Dave feels it is hard to write.

What are the factors affecting Dave’s mood today? Dave is trying to type, but Lucy keeps crawling into his lap; hence, it is hard to write. 

Who is Dave mourning today? Dave is sad about the death of Cloris Leachman, who played unforgettable roles in two of his favorite films, “Young Frankenstein” and “High Anxiety.” Rest in peace, Frau Blucher. Now you’re making horses neigh in heaven.

LGBTQ Married Life

The Utter Banality of Same-Sex Marriage

I’ve seen a lot of diverse couples on teevee recently, especially in ads. This is amazing, I thought, because social change happens more quickly when people see examples of diversity in entertainment. In the ’90s, many people met their first gay friends on Will & Grace. Similarly, today, many people might be seeing their first diverse couples in detergent commercials. Positive portrayals precede progress.

It was only recently — in the past week or so — that I realized that the Complimentary Spouse and I are one of those diverse couples. It seems so obvious in hindsight, but it honestly didn’t dawn on me.

On a daily basis, I give virtually no thought to being part of a same-sex couple. It just doesn’t occur to me. Here’s what occupies my mind:

I wasn’t always this unmindful of being part of a same-sex couple. Britt and I met in 2002 and married in 2008. Things were much different back then. We were challenged at car rental counters when we tried to add me as a spouse to the rental agreement. We were given dirty looks when we got to hotel check-in desks and requested a room with a king-size bed. When we registered for wedding gifts, we were told at one high-end home furnishing store that we would have to register as a bride and groom because that’s how their computer system was configured. We walked out.1

These events, and hundreds more just like them, were constant reminders that we were different. As such, it was hard to forget that our relationship wasn’t like everyone else’s.

Today, it’s rare when someone reminds us that we’re unlike other couples. The other day, we were apart in Target, and a clerk asked me if he could help me find something. “Yes, my husband,” I said. Now that I’m thinking about these issues as I write this blog post, it’s possible to consider a statement like that to be political, declaratory, and assertive. But at the time, it was just a cute rejoinder.

The only time we’re treated differently as a same-sex couple is in restaurants when servers ask if we want one check or two. Do they ask opposite-sex couples wearing wedding rings if they prefer separate checks? Every single time? My hunch is no.2

Diverse couples on teevee represent a significant step forward for our society because they legitimize and destigmatize relationships that are, well, let’s face it, just as ordinary as mine. We can eventually get to a place where diverse couples are so mundane they don’t earn a second glance. And that, my friends, is an exciting prospect.

1 They called their corporate office, figured out a work-around, and tracked us down, so we did register there. Thanks for the plates, silverware, glasses, serving platters, and gravy boat, everyone! 
2 When a server brings us a check without offering to split it, we automatically increase the tip. 

Four Questions

The Four Questions Made it Through the Wilderness

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing an Alabama T-shirt, jeans, Alabama socks, and Stan Smiths. 

How does Dave feel today? Dave feels like a big man on campus.

What are the factors affecting Dave’s mood today? Dave is a big man and he’s on the University of Tampa campus. 

Is Dave wearing anything else we should know about? Dave may be wearing Baby Yoda underpants, but only Britt and the doggos know for sure.


Some Companies Are Doing Great Things. Don’t Call it “Virtue Signaling.”

I don’t like the term “virtue signaling” in the business world because it’s often used by conservatives to dismiss the efforts of organizations trying make a positive impact. 

Let’s look at Apple. Today, it announced its plans for Black History Month: a limited-edition Black Unity Apple Watch and efforts to highlight Black contributions in music, literature, television, movies, podcasts, and app development. That means we’re due for another round of “virtue signaling” complaints from the usual suspects. They’ll call it hollow grandstanding, a cheap money grab, a publicity stunt, a surrender to political correctness — you get the idea.

I don’t subscribe to these dubious interpretations. That’s because I think these products and initiatives from Apple aren’t for show. They’re the natural results from a company that has made diversity and inclusion moral imperatives. What we’re seeing is virtue, not virtue signaling.

Why do I think the Black History Month efforts are genuine? Because I’ve seen how Apple has demonstrated its commitment to the LGBTQ community. Looking just at the LGBTQ products they produce — rainbow watch faces and bands1 — might lead you to believe that Apple is trying to make a quick buck for Pride month. But is that really the case? No. Here’s what Apple does for the LGBTQ community:

  • 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Equality Index
  • Corporate-backed LGBTQ affinity group
  • Donations to GLSEN, PFLAG, Trevor Project, Gender Spectrum, National Center for Transgender Equality, and more
  • Numerous amicus briefings supporting LGBTQ equality in lawsuits
  • “Visible: Out on Television” documentary on Apple TV+

These are good things. If your company is doing all this behind the scenes, these types of LGBTQ+ products and services are an authentic expression of your values. 

I’ve used Apple as an example, but they’re not alone. I’ve noticed Target selling Black History Month T-shirts and promoting products from Black-owned businesses. That’s entirely in character, considering Target committed $10 million to racial justice initiatives last year. The story is similar at Etsy — it’s not surprising when a company donating $1 million to Black-led justice reform organizations opens a Black History Month section. And I don’t think I need to elaborate on Nike’s relationship with Colin Kaepernick.

I’ve only scratched the surface of this conversation. Some additional thoughts:

  • This is part of a much bigger discussion about corporate ethics and morality. There are reasons to praise many of these companies, but they are far from perfect. Apple does business in companies that are hostile to LGBTQ people. And while Nike is saying all the right things in the United States, how is it (and its suppliers) treating workers in other countries?
  • Let’s not be naive: Many companies pay lip service to progressive issues of importance to their customers. But I still think the word “virtue signaling” is the wrong term to use in these cases. Instead of disregarding what these businesses are saying, we should work to get them to put their money where their mouths are.
  • As laudable as these initiatives are, we should recognize that they’re not entirely altruistic. These companies know that their actions earn them goodwill and publicity, which can have a positive impact on the bottom line.

1 Of course I own a Pride band for my Apple Watch. Did you even have to ask?

Four Questions

The Four Questions Always Read the Terms & Conditions

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing a Buccaneers polo shirt, jeans, his blue mixtape socks, and a pair of Stan Smiths.

How does Dave feel today? Dave is in a fog.

What are the factors affecting Dave’s mood today? Dave is literally in a fog. He had to drive the Complimentary Spouse to the suburbs this morning, and for some reason it’s foggy.

Why is Dave sitting outside a Starbucks on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard? Dave went to the office after dropping Britt off, but it was locked. Dave isn’t upset as he now gets to enjoy his morning iced coffee al fresco.


My Ulterior Motive, Revealed

You might be wondering if I have any nefarious plans for the Daily Dave. The answer is no.1 I’ve started blogging again for two perfectly cromulent reasons. I want to …

  • Get back into the habit of recreational writing on a regular schedule.
  • Become more familiar with commercial web publishing tools and technology.

If nothing else, the Daily Dave allows me to write for pleasure and learn new things. But I’m also thinking about the future. One day, I’d like to launch a website that covers LGBTQ issues from a business perspective.2 I think it’s a promising idea, and the time and effort I invest in the Daily Dave today may help me greatly in the future.

I’ve already started tinkering with an email newsletter and I’m trying to incorporate video into some posts. Expect me to work on search engine optimization soon. I might even try my hand at podcasting.

I don’t know what will happen next, but I’m enjoying the ride so far, and I’m excited to see where it goes. I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

1 OK, I have one nefarious plan: It’s to win the Guinness World Record for the most footnotes on the internet.
2 Outsports will give you an idea of what I’d like to do. Just imagine less Indy 500 and more Fortune 500.