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  • When I was a kid, I had a smart dog with a dumb name. (The family we got her from had already started training her with the moniker they gave her, and we were told not to risk confusing her by calling her something else.)

    Smart, that is, except for when we went for walks. On a leash, she lost her mind and would surge ahead and pull like a demon, though the pressure of her collar on her throat made her choke and cough like Donald Duck. It didn't matter. Every time it was the same: yank, hack, repeat.

    On my ride home after work tonight, I found myself wondering why I was pedaling over the steaming asphalt at my usual furious pace when it was 90-something degrees with 500 percent humidity. I even asked another cyclist at a red light, a scabby fellow who looked to have earned his helmet the hard way, why I was in such a hurry in this heat. He didn't know.

    A block later, I was still pushing as hard as always for no reason.

    Wherever you are, Peppy—and I hope it's somewhere with plenty of moles to dig up and bottomless kitchen-garbage cans to knock over—I apologize for laughing at you.

    I get it now.
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