My friends David and Natalie are getting divorced and they have two beautiful and well-trained dogs. Because they don’t know how to separate the dogs or decide who should get them, I’ve come up with several proposals for who should retain custody:
1. David and Natalie should both procure experienced family law attorneys. After a series of meetings, the friend who was deemed the primary caregiver of the dogs throughout the duration of the marriage should retain custody of the dogs. If the process is too painful, then I could take the dogs off of their hands because they’re so much fun and know a lot of tricks.
2. Holding a butcher knife above my head, I will offer to cut the dogs into equal halves so that David and Natalie can each kind of own both. When one of my friends stops my down-swinging arm and says that they would rather the dogs go to the other person instead of getting chopped up, whoever is wearing the most orange at that moment retains custody of both dogs. If neither is wearing orange, then I take custody of the dogs.
3. In a well-kept park that is over 100 yards long and that contains at least 25 large trees and one circular fountain, David and Natalie will stand exactly 90 yards apart. In equal distance between my friends are their two dogs locked in a big cage that is covered with a dark blanket. (The dogs haven’t been fed in 24 hours.) When I shoot my pistol in the air, David and Natalie will commence yelling and whistling at the cage. The blanket is then lifted and I will open the gate, letting the hungry animals run loose. The first dog to reach either one of my friends is mine, and the second dog to reach one of my friends goes back into the cage. The blanket is replaced and I let my friends yell and whistle some more. After two blasts from my air horn, my friends are to get down on their hands and knees and start barking. I remove the blanket and open the gate, and whoever the second dog goes to owns him/her. If the second dog doesn’t reach either person in less than 15 seconds or chooses to eat the pile of raw meat from my hands, then that dog is also mine.
4. The friend who can best explain The Matrix Reloaded to my mother retains custody of both dogs. I get the dogs if my mother still doesn’t understand who the French guy is.
5. They play a best-of-11 series of “Paper, rock, scissors,” which I’ve renamed “Newspaper, tennis ball, neutering knife.” The winner of the series gets both dogs unless he or she forgets to call the neutering knife by its correct name. If that happens I get both dogs, and whoever misspoke has to pay for my first two visits to the vet.
6. At high noon, David and Natalie are to swim out to the middle of a lake and act like they’re drowning while both dogs are dropped onto the roof of my pet-friendly apartment building by a helicopter. If either of my friends shows up and rings my doorbell four times before 2 p.m., then that person gets the dog that’s closest to my backdoor after the second ring. The dog closest to me is forever mine. If the dog that is the closest to me is the same that is the closest to the backdoor after the second ring, then whoever can drink a 20-ounce bottle of Frost Gatorade the fastest without throwing up wins the saddest dog in the apartment and the never-been-used blue thermos in my cupboard that I keep forgetting about.