This Week

Scott Pilgrim sought and found

Aug 3, 2007

Pavlov's Brian; Peter's Dirty Secret

QUAHOG, R.I. - I was sitting at my desk practicing Astral Projection when I was interrupted by the arrival Brian Griffin and his owner, Peter. The famous family pet and star of the hit reality series, Family Guy, had quite a problem and he'd heard I was the HPSIC (Head Problem Solver In Charge.) He'd heard correctly.

Luckily, for us both, Doc Samson, Dr. Katz and Dr. Harleen Quinzel were already sitting with me. (Just to clarify: I'm not crazy. It's just that, well, being in love with a superhero is hard and sometimes painful. *sob*)

Brian nodded to two of my companions; lifted an appreciative Martini glass to the third; then gave me the old 'up-down'. "You're cute," he said, "Or you would be if you were six shades lighter and blonde."

"Thank you," I replied through a tight smile—wondering how badly I could hurt him before PETA came looking. Did I mention that Harley is my friend and she'd totally help me dispose of a body. This would be an easy one—high blood alcohol levels make for great accelerates.

Doc Samson was getting antsy and kept looking at his watch. He was on borrowed time and needed to return to NY and the World War Hulk incident. So, I quickly set up the mics and asked "What exactly is your problem, Brian?"

"I... I don't know what it is," he stammered. "I just can't seem to stop barking at black people. The thug and the executive alike." He swallowed the contents of his glass with shaky paws. "Dear God", he said looking at me "I know you're not all thieves, but you're all thieves—I just know it!" Breathing heavily, he virtually sagged onto the carpet.

Peter was already on the floor making war between my fully articulated Batman and Optimus Prime figures. I think I heard him snicker, "No one with prostate cancer can beat Batman, Stupidus Slime! beh heh heh heh heh!"

Just then Doc Samson put a hand to his ear piece. "Shulkie's down," he said giving me the look. I nodded, imperceptibly. He went into what analysts call 'straight-no chaser' mode.

"Isn't it obvious, you familiar-to-a-dolt?" Doc said, crossing the room to stand arms akimbo. "It's called Conditioned Response. Ever of heard of Pavlov? Your idiot owner's heartbeat elevates, he gets sweaty, nervous; you smell fear, perceiving a threat to your meal ticket; you respond with aggression. If his reaction is the constant result of African American proximity—ta dah! Your Conditioned Response is that black people are villains, and your tiny canine brain does the rest. Dogs aren't racists. They're loyal, instinctual. The Griffins? They're philistines."

Suddenly Peter jumped to his feet, pointing at absolutely nothing and screaming, "I'll get you Man-sized Chicken!" Then he did a forward roll and dove—action hero style—through my 40-story window.

Brian produced a Cocktail Shaker out of nowhere, yeah, let's call it nowhere, and refilled his glass. "Y'know, Doc, you might have something there." He checked his wristwatch. "What say we pick this up again next week? Maybe just you and me... um, y'know, just the guys," he said, his eyes sliding my way again.

Times like those are the best reasons for learning Astral Projection.


Further Reference Material: White Dog (1982)

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