Today Svengali, Tomorrow the World

Svengali comes to mind. Rasputin. Brave New World. History and literature are filled with maniacal characters able to control the minds of others. The one who believes she is the greatest of them all is… Roo.


Owing to an unfortunate succession of events, Roo has become convinced that she possesses the power to implant ideas in my mind and then will me to carry them out. It started the other day when we were driving south of Asheville, North Carolina, to go look at a house. We had been in the car for a few hours, and Roo, curled up in the passenger seat with her head on my lap, decided enough was enough. She pressed her front paw into my thigh and gave me a doleful look. 

I looked back at her and said, "Sorry, Bearface. I have no idea where to take you. So relax." I had to look back at the road and she won the staring contest.

She curled her claws downwards into my thigh and opened her eyes wider to intensify the stare. Her ears came up and the top of her head furrowed. She's like one of those actors who play dead in a movie and you can't tell, capable of staring at full voltage like that without blinking until some director only Roo can hear yells "Cut!" It would be an unnerving look to have aimed at you if you were a squirrel.

In the middle of this stare, a sign for a trailhead appeared. I swung into the parking lot. Roo got her hike.

The next day, Roo again dug her claws into my thigh and amped up her X-Ray Dr. Hypno Goggle stare. As luck would have it, we happened to have arrived we were going, so she was rewarded by my pulling over. I should have noticed the self-satisfied way she was slow-wagging when she stood for me to leash her. Roo is not one to be humbled by power.


Now the problem is that whenever we're driving around, Roo drives me crazy by staring at me non-stop for up to 45 minutes at a stretch. You know the way a little kid sees a hypnotist on TV or in a comic book and then drives you insane telling you to stare at something he's swinging something in front of your eyes? Meet Roo.

The worst part is that it works.