In my other life, I am a corgi.
Do you know who else was a corgi? Susan, Queen Elizabeth II’s first corgi. Ah yes, Susan: the only princess our royal highness ever deigned to bow to. Unlike most humans, Susan made an impact. Some of the Queen’s current corgis are descendants of Susan. Long live Susan etc.
When you’re a corgi, the world is your oyster, and you are inversely everyone else’s world. Taking a lead from Liz, we let our corgis romp around during visits from international dignitaries, and we have our henchmen carry these corgis up and down the stairs of our private planes because corgi legs are just too dainty. One can really do no wrong as a corgi. I’m so upset that I got photobombed by a corgi, said no one ever. Even one’s horrendously foul farts are perceived as adorable, when one is a corgi. “I’m sawwy, I fawted,” you say (as a corgi), and everyone laughs. It’s simply just too fucking cute.
These are some things I know about corgis: they’re food aggressive with a tendency toward the chunky, they shed a lot, they’re terribly gassy, they’re menaces around the house, they’re at once playful and stubborn. Sometimes I actually wonder if maybe I already am a corgi haha.
Look, I follow about 13 private corgi Facebook groups (“Corgi Nation Corgi Strong Corgi On,” “Disapproving Corgis,” “Naughty Corgi Confessions,” a support group for owners of overweight corgis named “Corgi Fit,” among others) and have an Instagram account (@corgiandbess) solely for corgi content where I currently follow 610 corgi accounts. So yes I know all about corgis. Once, I walked/carried a corgi named Giles 3 miles around a lake and would go so far as to call it a religious experience.
At grad school — where I bring about 100000% less joy to the world than a corgi — I actually think a lot about subjunctivities. Henry James’s novels are all about “what would it look like if this character had lived life differently?” The horror genre is about plots gone awry at basically every turn. I’m still obsessed with Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life (2013) which follows what is now an almost established fictional tradition of taking Hitler as its site of counterfactual fantasy. The morning of my qualifying exams, the first thing I did upon waking was read the Wikipedia article for Eva Braun. The impossible is possible, history is a nightmare from which I am trying to wake, the past is never past, and I think many of us would love some kind of a do-over on this year, if not this life. For me, personally, it’s to start over as a specific purebred dog. You know who doesn’t see race? Corgis.
Jane Hu is a writer and grad student living in Oakland.
In My Other Life, a collection of essays from writers we love, is The Awl’s goodbye to 2016.