You Can Have a Dog When I'm Dead: Essays on Life at an Angle by Paul BenedettiYou Can Have a Dog When I'm Dead: Essays on Life at an Angle by Paul Benedetti

You Can Have a Dog When I'm Dead: Essays on Life at an Angle

byPaul Benedetti

Paperback | February 18, 2017

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Hamilton Spectator columnist Paul Benedetti's essays paint a wonderfully funny portrait of family life today.

Paul Benedetti has a good job, a great family, and successful neighbours - but that doesn't stop him from using it all as grist for a series of funny, real, and touching essays about a world he can't quite navigate.

Benedetti misses his son, who is travelling in Europe, misplaces his groceries, and forgets to pick up his daughter at school. He endures a colonoscopy and vainly attempts to lower his Body Mass Index - all with mixed results. He loves his long-suffering wife, worries about his aging parents and his three children, who seem to spend a lot of time battling online trolls, having crushes on vampires, and littering their rooms with enough junk to start a landfill.

Paul Benedetti is an award-winning journalist, author, and writer. His essays have appeared in the Globe and Mail, Canadian Living, Reader's Digest, and regularly in the Hamilton Spectator, where he has a widely read Saturday column. He has won the Ontario Newspaper Award for Humour Writing and Canada's National Newspaper Award for Bes...
Title:You Can Have a Dog When I'm Dead: Essays on Life at an AngleFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.62 inPublished:February 18, 2017Publisher:DundurnLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:145973811X

ISBN - 13:9781459738119

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! I've followed Paul Benedetti''s columns in the Hamilton Spectator for years, so when I saw his book, I had to have it. I cried, I laughed, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Date published: 2017-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it! This was a great read! I laughed, cried and laughed again! Thanks Paul Benedetti for sharing so many fantastic stories with us!
Date published: 2017-02-26

Read from the Book

A Gift of Long-Remembered MusicDecember 26, 2010For weeks now, as I write this, our daughter has been busy preparing her Christmas present.This is surprising behaviour and utterly unlike that of her two brothers who, much like their father, will dash around madly in the final shopping hours before Christmas vainly trying to find presents on a small budget and an even smaller gift-giving imagination. The results are predictable - a box of scented soap, an Old Spice gift set, a tie, maybe a set of steak knives. It's all okay, of course. It's the thought that counts, even if the thought comes late and without much funding to support it.No, Ella is getting ready, but not in the usual way. She has not been saving her babysitting money or checking online catalogues. She has been practising - learning, slowly and sometimes arduously, the complicated and beautiful passages of Debussy's "Clair de Lune." She does this almost every night, sitting at the piano in our living room; the same piano, a lovely Heintzman baby grand, that her grandmother played on many evenings many years ago. Ella never heard her grandmother play, but has heard countless times about the song she loved most, "Clair de Lune." One afternoon, a few months ago, Ella asked her mother to drive to the music store, where she bought the sheet music, then came home and began to practise.Ella did not know her grandmother. My wife's mother, Elin, died suddenly at the age of forty-six. She suffered a brain aneurysm and was rushed to hospital, monitored for several days, and then operated on. After the surgery she never regained consciousness, and a few days later she died. When she passed on that July day in 1977, she left seven children, a husband, and an army of relatives and friends who loved her. My wife was only sixteen when her mother left this world, just a couple of years older than Ella is today. Though Elin has been gone now for a long time, a vivid picture of her remains indelible in her children and in the people who knew her. Oddly, considering that she died more than three decades ago, she is spoken of often, and in a way that makes you sad if you did not know her. I have never once heard her name mentioned, by either men or women, without the word beautiful in the same sentence. There are old photographs of her, though not many, and they show a slim blonde with fine features and large, blue eyes. In the pictures, she is often smiling. She was, by all accounts, a striking woman. When she was young, she did some modelling, and later, even while managing seven children and a busy household, she could, with a touch of lipstick and a hastily pulled-on dress, present a simple elegance that other women admired. But she was not only beautiful, she was fun. When people talk about her, they often mention her infectious laugh, her favourite cocktail, Scotch on the rocks, the signature string of white pearls around her neck, her sense of joy - she would sometimes perform an impromptu dance on the living room coffee table - her natural grace, and always, the elegant sound of her playing the piano. She would, when the mood hit her, usually after dinner while the children cleared the table and washed the dishes, sit at the piano her father had given her, and play. And frequently, she would fill the house with the haunting, stirring strains of her favourite song, even a few bars of which today can instantly evoke her memory. Perhaps this is how people endure, in a passing hint of perfume, a familiar laugh heard across a room, in the smoky scent of Scotch whisky on a winter night, or in the rising notes of a haunting melody. And so, this Christmas, when the dinner was done and the table cleared and the gifts opened, Ella gave her mother a present with no wrapping paper and no bow. She sat down at the piano and her fingers moved across the ivory keys, filling the room with music, with the soaring, shimmering sounds of "Clair de Lune." And a young woman brought back, if only for a fleeting moment, the grandmother she never knew for the mother she loves. 

Table of Contents


1 My Kingdom for a Good Night's Sleep
2 Handy? Me? Well, I Do Have a Toolbox .
3 Want a Lift to the Gym?
4 Hospital Daze: What I Learned This Summer
5 Brotherly Love
6 Underwear? Under the Tree, of Course!
7 "It's Not Muskoka"
8 Celebrating Two Very Different Lives
9 Once, Twice, Three Times a Birthday
10 Bon Voyage to a Son and His Childhood
11 A Taste of Something Bitter
12 Two Gallons of Losing My Mind, Please
13 At the End, a Week-Long Celebration of Life
14 Being There
15 "But What's Going to Happen to My Stuff?"
16 Dad's Christmas Was About Family, Not Turkey
17 Lessons on Living
18 "What Do You Have in Mind, Dear?"
19 What, Me Forgetful?
20 The Lawn and Short of It: I Don't Care
21 Looking Mortality in the Eye
22 The Non-Golfer Cooks in Myrtle Beach
23 The Confusing Gap Between What They Say and What I Hear
24 A Graduation That's About Triumph and Courage
25 Memories of Dad Can Bring Tears
26 Going, Going Lawn
27 Fall Fair Affair
28 There's Always a Part of You That Feels Eighteen
29 A Celebration of Life
30 Anybody Know Where My Meat Went?
31 The Letter
32 Memories Spring Up in My Garden
33 A Thule and His Sanity Are Soon Parted
34 The Man Who Cleared Out the West
35 Ah, Cottage Life . A Second Home to Care For
36 Hunting the Wild Tinsel and Other Traditions
37 A Gift of Long-Remembered Music
38 The Worst Angler Ever
39 When I Put On His Ring, I Think of Him
40 Paul Puts the Pro in Procrastination
41 An Empty Chair at the Dinner Table
42 There's a Useless Antique in My House
43 I'm a Father. I Worry.
44 She Fell, Yes. But She Is Not Falling.
45 Keeping Our Kids "Safe" Inside Is, as Scientists Say, "Stupid"
46 Cottaging by the (Wet) Seat of My Pants
47 The Journey Is Half the Fun. Isn't It?
48 Missing Matt
49 The (Old) Boys Decide to Hit the Town .
50 140-Character Witticisms
51 Old Underwear Is No Accident
52 Our New Christmas: Different, but in Many Ways the Same
53 A Low-Res Year
54 And These Are My Children . Venti, Grande, and Tall
55 Love Beyond Our Imperfections
56 The Penny Drops on Mother's Day
57 Giving a Whole New Meaning to "Couch Surfing"
58 The Basement That Stole Christmas
59 My Wife, the Socks Maniac
60 It's a Be-Mine Field
61 Dazed and Confused in the Grocery Aisle
62 The Great Escape: What's Wrong with My House?
63 Who Knew They Were Listening?
64 My Mother: She Was Not Special . But She Was
65 Seawalls, Coffee Shops, and Used Books
66 Anchors Away
67 #youknowyouareoldwhen
68 Letting Go, One Child at a Time
69 Schnapps and Skinny Suits
70 Next Time, It's the Full Mullet
71 "The Twelve Ways of Christmas"
72 Party Like It's 1970-Something
73 It's Been a Year: Food, Family, and Friends Have a Wonderful Healing Power
74 Your Dad Does Not Want a New Necktie
75 Every Gardener Needs a Handy Wood Man
76 September Is the Real New Year
77 There's No Retirement in My Future
78 If Pepperoni is DEATH, I'll Take the Risk
79 The Soundtrack of My Life
80 A Look Back at 2015, Benedetti Style
81 Grey Hair and Baggy Face? How Did This Happen?
82 Zip Up. Pull Down Handle.
83 Of Suits, Sadness, and Seasons
84 These Beers Are a Little Too Crafty
85 Things My Father Told Me
86 Convocation Miscalculation
87 Whatever Boat You Float, Fishing Is Fun
88 Do I Need to Get a Man Bag?
89 School Daze
90 Reflections on the Long Road of Parenting


Editorial Reviews

Well-written and organized in a short and simple way, You Can Have a Dog When I'm Dead is most certainly a book that was made to take along with you on vacation or even for a weekend at the cottage. - Words of Mystery