This is a continuation of a fictional interview between my dog, Jasper, and the New York Times’ Michael Barbaro. Click here to read the original.
Michael Barbaro: I wanted to start the second part of our conversation by asking you to comment on something a bit controversial.
Jasper Payne-Green: Sure.
MB: I’m going to read a list of items that you’ve destroyed or damaged: Your dad’s eyeglasses, a PlayStation 4 remote controller, a Roku TV remote controller, two of your dad’s hats, four of your dad’s shirts, three of your dad’s underwear, the living room couch, the bedroom couch, your own bed, your own blanket, each of the 24 legs of the dining room chairs.
JPG: Wow, it really feels like a lot when you say them all in a row like that.
JPG: I mean, I’m don’t really know what to say. It makes me look like some kind of monster.
MB: Well, perhaps we can find something in that list that redeems you, if only slightly. Was there something all those objects had in common, something that drew you to them?
JPG: Not at first no. At first I would more or less just put my mouth on things. Sometimes they would have my mom or dad’s smell on them, which always warranted further investigation. So there I would be, sniffing around while mom and dad are cooking, cleaning, or conversing, finding something to play around with then all of a sudden, boom, I would get this rush.
MB: Go on.
JPG: It’s hard to explain. Like once I heard and felt those first few threads start to tear or the plastic start to crack, it would awaken something inside of me. It was like an itch I had to scratch, except every time I scratched it, it got itchier, which made it more satisfying to scratch, until I would find myself staring at a tattered mess of cloth and elastic.
MB: Like popping bubble wrap?
JPG: Maybe. You might have to walk me through that one.
MB: It maybe isn’t so common these days — I don’t think its strictly eco-friendly — but it used to be that you ordered something fragile and it came in the mail, it would arrived nested in this stuff that we called “bubble wrap”.
JPG: Oh I love it when things come in the mail!
MB: Most of us do! Anyway, this stuff is essentially a large plastic sheet with air bubbles embedded into it. The bubbles protect the fragile thing in the box, but once you’ve taken the thing out, you can either throw the bubble wrap away immediately, or pop all the bubbles first.
JPG: Ah, that sounds like fun.
MB: It is, and it’s quite hard to stop at one bubble.
JPG: Makes sense. Yeah. It is like that.
MB: Well, Jasper, in that case, I don’t think you’re a monster at all.
JPG: Thanks, Michael.
MB: You’re welcome.
JPG: [Pauses] If it’s ok with you, I’d like to talk a bit about barking.
MB: By all means.
JPG: Most people think that a barking dog is just that: a barking dog.
MB: Go on…
JPG: But I’ve put a good deal of time and energy into expanding my lexicon of vocalizations. I’d hate to be known as a “one bark” dog.
MB: Do you think people see you that way?
JPG: I’m worried they might. See, when I want to get someone to play with me, I go, [Barks] but when I want my mom and dad to know that I think someone is sketchy, I go, [Barks].
MB: I don’t think this is what you want to hear, Jasper, but…
JPG: Wait, seriously? You can’t hear the difference between [Barks] and [Barks].
JPG: Come on, man.
MB: Wait, I think this can be a teachable moment. What am I missing?
JPG: Ok, this is “Play with me,” [Barks]. Hear how it goes from high to low? And I back off a bit at the end too.
MB: Uh huh.
JPG: And this is “This dude is sketching me out!” [Barks]. It’s all one, even tone, with a little bit of an edge.
MB: Do the first one again.
MB: And the second one.
MB: Yeah ok, I think I’m hearing it. The first one does sound a little more playful, a little more inviting. And the second one means business.
MB: Well, Jasper, thank you.
JPG: Thanks for giving me the chance to explain.
MB: That’s just about the only thing I ever do!
MB: Alright then, um, thanks for your time. I feel like I learned something new here.
JPG: Me too. And you’re welcome.
MB: Take care.
JPG: Bye bye.
*** BONUS CONTENT ***
In addition to the rest of the interview, I thought I’d add an idea for a new Dog Park Derby character:
- Granny Mullins
- Control: 0
- Passive: Along for the Ride
- The player has no control of Granny Mullins’ movement. Instead they control her dog, as Granny wanders aimlessly around the dog park. The player can only move inside the control/obedience circle. All of Granny Mullins’ abilities are still cast from Granny herself, and the dog’s ability is cast from the player-controlled dog.
- Ability 1: Now Where Did I Leave My Puppy? – cooldown 20 seconds
- Granny searches for her dog in a wide arc. If the dog moves within 15 units of her, she chases it for 15 seconds. If she catches her dog, she scoops him or her up for 3 seconds for a big hug. Neither character is targetable by other player or dog abilities for this duration.
- Ability 2: Clumsy Me! – cooldown 5 seconds
- Granny spins around, swinging her cane in a 5 unit circle. Players and dogs struck by her cane are stunned for 1.5 seconds
- Ability 3: Who Wants a Cookie? – cooldown 15 seconds
- Granny offers treats to all of the dogs around her. Dogs within a 30 unit radius of Granny move towards her for 3 seconds, including the player-controlled dog. Dogs that reach her in that time are no longer affected by the ability.
- Available Dogs: Tennessee, Vigo, Rufus, Jade