“Live the life you’ve imagined.” That’s what my pillow says. But friends, I have a vivid and shifting imagination. One day I’m an almost-lawyer, and another day I own a clothing store. For a minute, I was a poor man’s Seth Meyers. Or John Oliver. (Actually, I fancy myself a Seth Meyers meets Mindy Kaling, but whatever, you get it.) In the wake of the election, I fell silent. It was hard to find the jokes. No, actually the jokes were very much there. It was hard to TELL the jokes.

So, I tried to find some new imaginations. I abandoned my CNN fan fiction, because really how many Yale historians do we need to put together on a panel to determine whether Andrew Jackson couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t prevent the Civil War?

Enter Charlie. On June 14, 2016 Donald Trump turned 70, and Charles Oliver entered the world. The audible groan of seeming torture that afflicted most of the nation this summer befell my 14-year-old cat, Grace. Because there was no medical reason for her protestations, her vet suggested that maybe we both needed some fresh, young energy in the house (also probably talking to you, DNC). A week later, I had located a king charles cavalier who jumped into my arms when we first met, so I brought him home thinking it was kismet, but really it’s just how he continues to greet literally every human being.

While Grace and Charlie tried to get used to each other (full disclosure: did not try and still do not try), I tried to make a home for us all in this new normal. But with marches and travel bans and daily Sean Spicerisms, I just couldn’t make light of it. When I told my brother’s girlfriend that I was having trouble finding my words (another full disclosure: it was at Thanksgiving….it’s taken me a minute), she suggested I write about Charlie, because maybe what we all need right now is a little daily puppy.

Maybe she was right, because during this loony tune of 2017, he has been right by my side. He sat on my lap and licked up my tears when Obama gave his final address. He learned how to hump my imagination pillow while DT and Melania shuffle-danced at each of their (non)festive inauguration galas. He was back on my lap when Trump bragged about how big the crowd was. And then when he did it again. And then when he did it again. And then…..ok, look, we’ve spent a lot of time on the purple couch watching Trump & Co. say a lot of things. I suppose we’re back to living the life we’ve imagined, and now we’re ready to talk about it.

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