Baxter Black: No respect for Baxter |

Baxter Black: No respect for Baxter

Baxter Black/For the Craig Daily Press
Baxter Black

A good friend from the Texas panhandle sent me a printed poster of a new program enacted by the Amarillo Humane Society. It is designed to encourage dog and cat owners to spay or castrate their pets. On the front is a picture of a frightened, bug-eyed brachygnathic Pug. The accompanying headline says, NO BALLS FOR BAXTER – MATCHING SPAY/NEUTER INITIATIVE!

I admit I didn’t know how to take it… was it a compliment? Was it a signal to the pitcher to only throw strikes when I was at bat? Were they revoking my invitation to attend the dance in Cow Town? Did they make specific restrictions on what certain people would bring to the beach? Would I no longer be allowed to answer, “I’m havin’ a b?”

There’s an old celebrity saying that says, “Any publicity is good publicity!” I have to say that in my case, it’s not always been true. It’s hard to deny Tom Foolery when there are witnesses!

The picture of the dog was not even flattering. I never considered myself handsome but coupling me with that pore misshapen, unloved, pitiful, smashed-face critter… was it intentional? You know how they say dogs and their owners look alike… I admit there is a certain resemblance, I do have floppy ears and cut my own hair.

Then again, the Humane Society advertisements feature sympathetic photos of yearning puppies, kittens with matted hair or starving horses in their donor solicitations. I could have lent them a photo of me looking miserable.

Which does bring up the issue, if they claim to have picked the name out of clean air and it is just coincidental, it sounds fishy to me. In my research, Baxter as a first or middle name ranks 1,590th in popularity, between Kimball and Serge. I actually know or have met maybe 15 to 20 people with that first name Baxter. However, I have been told and/or received hundreds of photos of animals ranging from rodents to reptiles and porpoise to parakeets named Baxter.

In my defense, there are so many other names they could have chosen to represent the program; Phyllis, for instance, Esubio, maybe Chuck or Shanisha. How does Roper sound? NO BALLS FOR ROPER, NO BALLS FOR FITZHUGH, NO BALLS FOR THE FORMERLY CALLED PRINCE. And to be fair, there are women in the Amarillo Humane Society; how ‘bout NO OVARIES FOR CAMILLA!

Alas, the name Baxter has always been a burden. In the movies, the men whose last name is Baxter are usually slime-ball investor types, sadistic drug-smuggling secret agents or left-handed ropers.

Ah, well, I can’t complain. They spelled it right.

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