“An Open Letter to My Former Master in the Human Pets Application on Facebook,” by Dawn Corrigan

Mar 20th, 2008 | By | Category: Prose

Dear Ex-Master,
I wanted to drop a line to say thanks for the kibble. Also, to explain why my Human Pets account has been removed from Facebook as of last Tuesday. Sorry I disappeared on you, like a dog that just can’t help wiggling under the fence.
In retrospect it seems sort of ungrateful, especially after you paid 150 points for me. I don’t know how you got those points, but obviously there’s some kind of economy at work. And then I went and completely disregarded the economy, like the bad dog that I am. I figured some explanation might be in order, especially since, unlike the dog, I can actually use a computer.
I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t even know what the Human Pets application was when I added it to my account. Kind of crazy irresponsible, I know, but like a dog I learn by diving headfirst into things and seeing how they turn out-that is, when I learn at all.
For weeks after I added it, nothing happened. Then, one morning, your email message awaited me in my Inbox. “go ahead and eat it up”
Immediately my curiosity was piqued, as well as my irritation. It didn’t make me feel hungry, I’ll tell you that. As you must surely realize, there was a psychosexual component to your message that went beyond what I think of as the conventional pet/master relationship.
I logged into Facebook to investigate. I couldn’t find any sign of you there, Ex-Master who was then still Master. However, I was able to click on a link that took me to my Human Pet profile.
Imagine my surprise when I saw a profile very much like the one I made on Facebook, except that in the “Looking For” field, where I’d entered “Friendship” and “Networking,” “Dating” had been selected instead.
Now, perhaps you didn’t notice–I don’t know what selection criteria you use when picking out Human Pets–but my online presence is used primarily for the purpose of participating in the Web-based literary community.
There is one, you know.
I realize my community is dwarfed by the community of those of you who use the Internet in the service of your psychosexual impulses. One might even say we’re playing on your field. I recognize and respect that.
I also understand it’s my responsibility to make my intentions clear, like a dog who whimpers when it needs to go outside. Which is exactly why it’s so important that I not be misrepresented as “Looking for Dating” in any of my incarnations on the Web.
Then there was the matter of my Human Pets name. I assume it was you who dubbed me “Smiley?” I guess it only makes sense you would get to name me, once you paid your 150 points. And I suppose it’s no more than I deserve, given that idiotic picture I included with my profile. Still, I felt there was something demeaning about it.
If I must be a Human Pet, I’d like a noble pet name, like Duke or Queenie, or a folksy one, like Sadie or Zoe. I’ll even take traditional: Spot or Rover.
But Smiley? I don’t think so.
Although by this point I was fairly certain the Human Pets game wasn’t for me, I still looked to see if there was a way for me to edit my “Looking For” answer or change my Human Pet name. (I was thinking of Rocky. Did you know that’s the most common name for dogs that bite? And no, I don’t mean that in a psychosexual way.)
I didn’t see an option to change those fields. But when I saw the “Remove Application” button I clicked without hesitation.
Although I can’t exactly say I enjoyed our brief relationship, I would like to thank you. Never before now have I understood so clearly why a dog might try to run away, given the chance, even though provided everything she needs–warmth, shelter, water, plenty of kibble, and lots of encouragement to eat up.
Yours (but only in a rhetorical sense),

Dawn Corrigan
(The Human Formerly Known as “Smiley”)


Dawn Corrigan says: “My work has appeared recently or is forthcoming at Steel City Review, Insolent Rudder, Clapboard House, Wigleaf, and The Nervous Breakdown.”

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