Assistance and perfection are needed

Creature Comforts

Various words, phrases and expressions used in advertising slogans, disclaimers and networking in corporate America have become part of the fabric of our lives. Like cotton. I have applied a few of the many idioms we hear regularly to my life, particularly in relation to life with our dachshund, Walter.

Assistance is needed in the stair climbing area

Anyone who has been to Lowe’s knows the bodiless, automated voice announcing “Assistance is Needed,” conjured by the push of a button in various locations within the store. Like how the Bat symbol serves as a beacon in the sky to summon Batman, if you need window blinds or a length of chain cut to your specifications, pushing these buttons wields great power, and brings help in the form of a friendly, red-vested Lowe’s sales associate.

These days, Walter, now 13-years-old, has been experiencing some serious mobility problems. Having difficulty using his front legs, getting himself up the stairs requires major effort and yields slow progress. He can’t jump onto the couch, anymore. Going down the stairs or jumping off the furniture is a dangerous prospect. While fiercely independent, he has deigned to accept human help to get him where he wishes to go.

Cries for help will be answered in the order in which they were received

Okay, so the actual phrase is “Calls will be answered …” But in my case, the calls are in-person, and are delivered with more urgency and are much less easily dismissed. They are also answered in the order of magnitude of the loudness and franticness of the cries for help.

When Walter needs help, he is an expert at demanding attention and action with his SUPER BARK or his equally loud, but woeful, urgent yips. He is persistent. He has been known to bark in my face at daybreak, and continue barking at one second intervals for as long as it takes to carry him outside to do his business, carry him inside, and feed him breakfast. His insistent cries ordinarily get quick results. He doesn’t need to wait long before being rescued at the top of the stairs or on the bed and carried to his desired location. Teenagers calling out to ask if their favorite shirt has been washed yet, tend to languish on hold for awhile. And husbands searching for the mustard are on their own.

Your call is important to us.Please continue holding, and someone will be with you momentarily.

Crated dogs that are calling to say they’d like to be released are lower in the queue than Walter, as a rule, since Walter’s need to pee is far more urgent than theirs. Getting old stinks, friends. Also, he is a master at drama.

We have reached out to you several times, but have not heard back. Please reach out to us at your earliest convenience.

Has anyone but me noticed the change in vernacular from “Please contact us,” or “We tried to reach you,” or “Here’s my contact information,” to the gentler, but weirder “Reaching out” corporate America is doing recently? Nobody ever “gets in touch” with us anymore. And “touching base” only happens in baseball, nowadays. There is no touching. Communication is a contactless sport. Unless you’re a dog or cat and you need something. Or just want to say “hi.”

My pets are old-school, and don’t subscribe to the newfangled “reaching out” movement. Walter is content to spend his days on my lap and nights nestled close.


In most cases, people use “As Soon As Possible” when they want to instill a sense of urgency to a task they are assigning to someone else. But, like most hackneyed phrases (or acronyms), we tend to see ASAP, and think, “Yeah, yeah,” and do it when we get around to it. Or maybe that’s just me. For the uninitiated, everything is ASAP to a dachshund. And they are seriously impatient.


I find the overuse of the word “perfect” to be perfectly annoying. When a sales associate or tech support representative asks me to spell my name, and I do, and they say “perfect,” I feel this is a bit much. I have been spelling my name perfectly since, like, the first grade. I’m really good at it by now. When providing feedback to someone answering informational questions, a simple, “okay” or “great” or “thank you” would be more suitable.

Save “perfect” for things that truly are. Weather can be perfect. Achieving a perfect score on the SATs is not easy, but possible.

And my Walter, while he has moments of being a bit demanding, and as a 2-year cancer survivor, is not in perfect health, is and will always be my perfect little angel.