Q. Except for steaks and roasts, I am not an animal lover. Now my question: I was visiting an old friend who had recently married a woman with two cats and a small Boston terrier. I was sitting on the couch watching the dog groom itself on the floor. That was bad enough, but suddenly his wife said, "Give Uncle Garry a kiss!" Before I could move, the dog jumped on the couch and licked me square on the mouth. I immediately grabbed my handkerchief and tried to remove the sticky substance without much success. What should I have done?
-- Garry Kemper, of Tilden
A. Ewwwwww, gross.
Sure, TV watchers teared up every time Lassie saved Timmy from the well and then licked his face as if it were one of June Lockhart's fried pork chops. But, really, who knew how recently that tongue had lapped water from a toilet in need of its weekly Ty D Bol cleaning?
That's why I'm a cat person. The worst indignities you usually suffer with a cat are fur on your clothes, a hairball in your shoe and maybe a few scratches if an obstinate lap-perching feline doesn't want to get up when you feel a need for more beer and Cheetos.
So, being a bit of a germophobe myself, I would have calmly walked to the nearest bathroom, poured a gallon of Lysol in the sink and scrubbed my face like a surgeon prepping for a heart transplant. But, then, nobody has ever accused me of being Amy Vanderbilt's long-lost twin, so I consulted our own epitome of etiquette, Dianne Isbell, for the proper response.
First, she agrees what the wife did was completely improper.
"That was just very impolite and inconsiderate for her to do, wasn't it?" Isbell said. "Oh, gosh."
But that said, you would show greater maturity by not overreacting. While certainly unwelcome and revolting, a doggie lick is not going to send you into sepsis. A couple gentle swipes with a handkerchief across your face would have been sufficient to help get your point across.
"I think he should have made light of it," Isbell said. "Maybe saying something like 'Oh, I am so sorry, I am just not an animal-friendly person. I think it would be better if he would just stay way from me.' Or 'I prefer my kisses from women.'
"Hopefully, they'd get the point. But to react real negatively would only have caused a problem with his friend and his wife -- and I'm sure he wants to remain friends."
For a more long-term solution, you might talk privately with your friend and politely suggest that his wife keep her pets in another area of the house during future visits. (Even I offer to keep my princesses in the basement when company comes.)
"If that doesn't work, maybe his next suggestion is to say, 'Well, why don't we go out for a cup of coffee to visit?' Then that way he's not going to be around the dog."
Or, maybe seeing this column will prompt them to save you from a future puppy love nightmare.
Q. What's going on at KMOV-TV? What happened to John Knicely? Why isn't Matt Chambers doing weather? Where did Sande Stevenson go?
-- Marie Walling, of Collinsville
A. Looks like a career move may serve John nicely, but it obviously wasn't nice for you.
After joining the KMOV team in 2009, Knicely signed off for the last time on Oct. 4 to head to the great Northwest, where he has become the morning anchor on Seattle's KIRO-TV. Channel 4 is losing a talented man: After graduating from Baylor in 2003, he was named best reporter by the Kentucky Associated Press three years in a row among a slew of other awards.
I don't have any better news on Stevenson. I'm told that KMOV has decided to team up with KMOX Radio's traffic reporting resources, so Stevenson's work as the KMOV traffic reporter became extraneous and she is no longer with the station.
I am assured, however, that Chambers will continue to do weather at noon in addition to his hosting duties on "Great Day St. Louis." If you missed it, catch the Halloween video spoof that gives you a look at the REAL Matt Chambers at www.kmov.com. No more Mr. Nice Guy is all I'll say.
What actor played the Ty D Bol man in the TV commercials -- and what company that you likely wouldn't suspect once bought the toilet cleaner?
Answer to Tuesday's trivia: To researchers' best knowledge, the first known use of the now-familiar 10-9-8 ... rocket countdown came in director Fritz Lang's 1928 science-fiction film "Frau im Mond" ("Woman in the Moon"). Lang used it simply as a dramatic device, but it obviously caught on. Film experts also suggest it was the first movie to depict liquid rocket fuel, zero gravity and a multistage rocket.
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or email@example.com.