As I write this, I'm not sure whether it's going to have a happy ending or not.
Which makes it just like life.
Because last week, a little pony that I happen to love, named Buddy, took very ill with colic. Basically, colic means a bad stomachache, but if it's bad enough, like an impacted colon, it can kill him.
You didn't know I was going to say impacted colon over your Sunday breakfast, did you?
If you can't identify with having a sick pony, I'm guessing you can identify with the point of this little story, which is that it's hard to give up on something you love.
Whether it has fur or not.
By the way, Buddy is 30 years old.
And just FYI, ponies can live up to 35 or even 40 years old and beyond, so Buddy has plenty of time left.
In fact, he's only middle-aged, like me.
If 58 is middle-aged.
WHICH IT IS.
In any event, one night last week, Buddy didn't eat dinner, which is not like him.
See how much we have in common?
I called the vet, who said that he had colic and that he might need surgery. So I loaded Buddy in the horse trailer and drove him over to see the geniuses at the Penn Vet's New Bolton Center. The vet on call that night was Dr. Southwood, one of the country's leading experts in colic surgery, in addition to being one of the nicest people you could ever meet. I say this because, among other reasons, when she saw a grown woman crying over a pony, she didn't point and laugh.
She recommended surgery, and the thought terrified me because I didn't think you could operate on a 30-year-old pony. I blurted out, "But he'll die!"
To which she said, "I operate on ponies his age all the time. I don't give up on him just because he's old."
I thought to myself, there's a lesson in that.
When bad stuff happens, I try to find the lesson in it.
If I can't find the lesson in it, I try to find the humor in it.
If I can't find the lesson or the humor in it, it's my second marriage.
So Dr. Southwood operated on Buddy, and she saved his life. He looked pretty good for a day, but then he started to look bad and he developed a different problem.
I'm trying to save you the colon talk here.
Dr. Southwood said, "I think we might have to operate again. Do I have your permission?"
I answered, "Absolutely. Don't give up on him just because he's old."
So she operated again and saved his life again, and six days later, he's doing terrific. I visit Buddy every day in the hospital for a couple of hours, and he's a lot smaller than the fancy show horses they have at New Bolton, but he knows he's as important as they are, and he is loved.
He doesn't think he stopped counting just because he's 30 either.
He has been fighting for his life, and right now, it looks like he's going to win.
He's still at the hospital, but he's letting me know he wants to go home by turning his feed bucket upside down and neighing at a cute little white pony across the way.
He's an aging stud.
He's the Michael Douglas of ponies.
Or the Kevin Costner.
Or the Robert Redford.
Or the Al Pacino.
I could go on, but you get the point.
I might be crazy, but a lot of those guys look as good to me as they always did.
In fact, Kevin Costner looks even better.
So does Robert Redford.
To be real, Al Pacino looks worse, but he can still dance.
Buddy can't fox-trot, but he can trot.
And I'm going to make sure his stall is clean, for when he comes home.