An Open Letter to Pabst, World’s Ugliest Dog, from a Fellow Underbiter
You don’t know me, and we’ll never meet, but you and I share a connection. Like yours, my lower jaw and teeth stick out beyond my top ones, a condition called “underbite” that can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and premature tooth loss.
Those long-term effects are bad enough, but Pabst, buddy, you and I both know that underbiters must withstand immediate psychological duress as well. In people I am first meeting, I’ve seen that barely disguised look that combines pity, disgust, and gratitude that they aren’t similarly afflicted. I’ve heard the snickers as I walk by. I’ve heard the slurs (muttered under breath, but still audible): “Jutjaw,” “Undie,” and, the one that stings the most, “Jank-tooth Gimp.”
And my condition is mild compared to yours. I can usually “pass” in mainstream overbite society when called to do so. So, though I can sympathize with you more than most, I know you’ve experienced episodes of humiliation that I must only imagine rather than recall. Such as this week when, solely because of your underbite, you were named World’s Ugliest Dog for 2009.
I do understand that there are benefits in going from merely “ugly” (according to their definitions, not mine) to “World’s Ugliest.” You’ll now be featured in Lighter Side segments at the end of countless local news broadcasts. You’ll be whisked around in a limo service for public appearances and Access Hollywood interviews. You’ll eat top-shelf kibble that tastes of fine caviar. You’ll receive physical attention from poodles who, until last week, would not have deigned to give you a second look.
In short, you’ll live the life that most underbiters can only dream of.
But I implore you, Pabst, to keep your head and remember where you came from. Try to figure out which of the sycophants currently surrounding you would honestly want to sniff your ass if you weren’t now the top dog. Remember that fame is fleeting, and next year, a new dog will be given the crown, the sash, and the chew-toy scepter.
Most of all, remember that you were an underbiter before you wore the crown, and an underbiter you will remain after your term ends. You more than anyone should know that bite-based discrimination has not ended with your selection. Yes, your office is a symbol of how far we’ve come, but we are far from realizing the vision of a world in which our children will be judged by the content of their character rather than by the protrusion (or lack thereof) of their lower jaw.
So today I give you a hearty, “Woof, woof, hooray.” Tomorrow, your real work begins. Please…do us proud, Pabst, and fight for us when you can.
Your brother in the struggle,
P.S. Notice my refusal to make any lazy “Pabst – Blue Ribbon” jokes. You deserve better. We all do.