How to Keep Your Hugmup Happy


“Having Happy, Healthy Hugmups” is a half-hour television show which airs on The Educational Channel in Hapdorn Province every Thirdday at 1B:20.

The following transcript is for the show that aired on 13 Seventhmonth 4599.

Normally, the show begins in a living-room style set, but this evening, the set resembles a veterinarian’s examining room. The back wall is lined with cabinets and a metal sink in the countertop. Our host, Bobo Lyman, stands grinning behind the veterinary examining chair, his right hand on the headrest and his left hand on the armrest. He’s a very tall, heavy-set man; his size and his bearing make him appear—well, cuddly. He has somewhat lighter skin tones than most Thorgelfaynese, but his bright white teeth are still able to make an almost cheshire-cat smile against his dark complexion. The credits pass across the screen as the happy-go-lucky theme song comes to a tuneful conclusion.

(The veterinary chair will look familiar to Human viewers who can stretch their imagination far enough to envision a comfortable and inviting dental chair!)

Bobo Lyman:
Abresh-gol, thorgeleoma! Once again it’s Thirdday night and time to spend another half hour learning all about our friends and companions, the Hugmups!

(The studio audience applauds.)

Bobo Lyman:
Tonight we’ve packed every one of our thirty-two minutes with useful and enlightening information. (He picks up a slip of paper and peruses it briefly.) First, we welcome Dr. Hana Bortrek, a veterinarian in private practice in Lari Province, who will tell us a little about Hugmup diseases. She’ll tell us when to use home remedies—and when to call an expert!

(There is brief applause. Bobo Lyman waits it out with a theatrical smile.)

Bobo Lyman:
Next we will have some entertaining segments on how to give a Hugmup a bath without taking one yourself! (There is brief, knowledgeable laughter from a few people in the audience.) And, what we’ve all been dying to know: How to keep the Hugmups out of the kitchen! (Gales of laughter and applause.) So! Without further delay, I introduce to you our special guest, Dr. Hana Bortrek of Lari Province!

(There is polite applause as Hana walks onto the set, beaming ear to ear. She is rather short and has very short hair. She walks over to Bobo and they give each other a good greeting-hug.)

Hana Bortrek:
Abresh-gol, thorgeleoma Bobo! (She kisses him on the cheek.) I am very honored to be here!
Bobo Lyman:
(Mindful of the schedule, he gets right down to business) What sorts of Hugmup illnesses can be dealt with in the home?
Hana Bortrek:
To begin, treat minor cuts and scrapes like you would with a child. Clean the affected area, and spray with your favorite antibiotic spray. There a number of reputable brands, and all of them are good. But don’t make the mistake of putting on a bandage!
Bobo Lyman:
No bandage! Why not?
Hana Bortrek:
Bandages are for Homelanders. They take the place of the protective fur we lack and keep dirt out of the wound so that it can heal. But Hugmups do have fur! So bandages aren’t really as necessary. They just cause discomfort when they pull on the fur. If the cut is large, or the bleeding is copious, you should see your veterinarian, who will shave and bandage the affected area. But don’t, I emphasize DON’T, try to shave the area around a cut on your own! This is definitely a task for the expert. Hugmups have a tendency to squirm a lot, and your inexpert attempts may make the wound only worse!
Bobo Lyman:
You’ve convinced me! I certainly wouldn’t want to cause my little furry buddy any more pain. But what about burns?
Hana Bortrek:
Most household burns are caused by Hugmups sticking fingers into boiling pots, or touching hot ovens, and such. These burns do cause considerable pain, even when they aren’t serious. If you can, try to separate the fur to see the skin. If it’s just a little reddish in color, a common household burn spray will ease the pain, and the burn will heal on its own. If there is blistering, or if the spray does not seem to ease the pain, rush the Hugmup to the nearest veterinarian!
Bobo Lyman:
What about more catastrophic accidents? Falls, broken limbs?
Hana Bortrek:
The first aid procedures are the same as for Homelanders, and these are well known. Just consult your first aid book. I would only add a few points: Stay near your Hugmup at all times, since it will have a soothing effect. I recommend that the Homelander companion accompany the Hugmup in the ambulance and into the examining room.
Bobo Lyman:
That sounds like what you’d do for a small child!
Hana Bortrek:
Precisely. Think of your Hugmup as a furry small child, and from a medical standpoint, you won’t be far off.
Bobo Lyman:
What other things should our viewers know?
Hana Bortrek:
It isn’t necessary to rush your Hugmup to the veterinarian every time it runs a small fever or throws up! If the symptoms do not seem to be serious, wait two or three days; then it’s appropriate to see the veterinarian. Hugmups aren’t made of paper, you know, and they spend almost half the year in the wild where there is no medical care! A little enlightened restraint on your part can do much to ease your veterinarian’s case load, which is dominated by overly worried people whose Hugmups aren’t really ill. For minor problems, Homelander home remedies for diarrhea, upset stomach, headache, and mild fever can be competently administered by lay people. Just follow the directions on the label, and remember to use a child’s dose!
Bobo Lyman:
Because Hugmups are so much like children? (smiling playfully)
Hana Bortrek:
No, silly! Because Hugmups are about the same size as children. Dosage is a function of body size!
Bobo Lyman:
Thank you very much, Hana, for a very comprehensive report. (He turns to the audience to solicit applause. Hana bows to acknowledge it. They hug again, and she leaves.)

(Our host strolls to the left onto a living room set, which regular viewers instantly recognize as the usual setting for the show. Two people are already seated on the sofa to the right, they stand and give our host a greeting-hug, then the return to their seats. Bobo Lyman seats himself in the easy chair and addresses the camera. )

Bobo Lyman:
Our other guests this evening are Minsel Trothe (Polite applause acknowledges his usual status as newscaster) and Mirn Stope. (Turning to Minsel) What brings you here, Minsel? Shouldn’t you be off interviewing some exotic alien? (The audience titters at the weak joke.)
Minsel Trothe:
(Chuckling) Even newscasters have Hugmups you know!
Bobo Lyman:
(Looking at his notes) It says here you’re an expert on bathing Hugmups!
Minsel Trothe:
(Bashfully) You know, when you’re a newscaster, you pick up a lot of interesting information! But I guess you could say I am!
Bobo Lyman:
So how DO you give a Hugmup a bath, without taking one yourself?
Minsel Trothe:
(Crossing his long, thin legs) That’s just the point. You don’t!
Bobo Lyman:
You don’t?
Minsel Trothe:
In fact, I don’t think you can! They splash around in the tub and play with the soap so much that the whole bathroom is soggy and you are soaked. Hugmups don’t take unsupervised showers very well. It’s a great way to learn how to put the wallpaper back up!
Bobo Lyman:
So what’s the solution?
Minsel Trothe:
Simple! Bathe together. Hugmups are natural companions, and there is no reason that they should be left out of bathtime!
Bobo Lyman:
(Embarrassed, as if a secret were being revealed) But isn’t that indecent?
Minsel Trothe:
A lot of people think that, but it is not true. Hugmups have no external sexual features, except when they are in heat—and that only happens in the winter when they’re in the wild. While Hugmups are among us, they have no sexual interest whatsoever. No, nothing could be more decent or natural!
Bobo Lyman:
Do many people do this? (He winces a bit.)
Minsel Trothe:
Oh, yes! (Lifting a clipboard from the sofa next to where he’s sitting) In a recent veterinary poll, which just came over the service yesterday, over E8 per hexacent [E8 perhexacent is about 90.6 percent] of the people with Hugmups bathe with them regularly. (He puts the clipboard down.) And that doesn’t include the people who won’t admit it!
Bobo Lyman:
(Looking relieved) So it’s not only okay to take a shower with your Hugmup, it’s really a good idea!
Minsel Trothe:
(Nodding emphatically) Definitely! A Hugmup could be traumatized by his companion’s sudden rejection. It is strange that so many people would think that such a common practice is somehow wrong!
Bobo Lyman:
Well, thorgeleoma, there you have it! Continue to shower with your Hugmup in confidence! And for you wallpaper contractors—tough luck! (Laughter)
Bobo Lyman:
(Turning to Mirn Stope, who looks thoroughly amused) What do you have to tell us about keeping Hugmups out of the kitchen? I don’t suppose you have a recipe book for Hugmups! (Extended laughter, and Mirn joins in.)
Mirn Stope:
No, Bobo! (Still chuckling) That won’t do here, as anyone whose Hugmup tried to cook dinner can attest. (More laughter) Have you ever been served a borga roast stuffed with red peas in lafna dressing? (Groans and knowledgeable chuckles)
Bobo Lyman:
No, but I’ve had to choke down worse to keep a furry face from being disappointed. So what are your secrets?
Mirn Stope:
There are a number of techniques, the most important of which is to keep the kitchen door closed with a Hugmup-proof latch at all times.
Bobo Lyman:
That’s kind of obvious, isn’t it?
Mirn Stope:
You’d be surprised at the number of people who don’t think of it. But eventually you have to undo the latch to cook meals, and the Hugmup follows you right in.
Bobo Lyman:
That’s their natural function, isn’t it, to be our companions?
Mirn Stope:
Yes, and it can be frustrating at times like this. So you have to have a strategy for meal preparation. Always keep the Hugmup busy!
Bobo Lyman:
How about those toy kitchen appliance kits you see for sale?
Mirn Stope:
Good try, but most Hugmups realize that they aren’t really helping. So I recommend planning your meal preparation so that the Hugmup always has something to do.
Bobo Lyman:
Like what?
Mirn Stope:
Hugmups are very competent at fetching groceries from the pantry, the basement, or even just cans from lower shelves. It’s best to keep the pantry some distance from the kitchen so that this will take some time. It’s inconvenient in the winter, but it’s worth it. Don’t let them operate the can opener, unless your Hugmup is talented at that. While you are chopping and cutting with sharp edges, your Hugmup can finish the fetching and set the table. They try hard to be careful, and there usually isn’t any breakage. Naturally, the correct order and placement of the table setting is a real intellectual challenge for them, so that will keep them busy. Finally, every cook knows that there’s always a time when you just have to wait—but that’s okay, because you have time for the Hugmup. Finally, give your Hugmups the job of summoning all the family members to dinner.
Bobo Lyman:
What about multiple-Hugmup families?
Mirn Stope:
Some people have all the luck! But good fortune brings its own set of problems, as the saying goes. The solution is the same, it’s just more complex. You may have to convince a Hugmup that vacuuming the living room is an important part of meal preparation, or that the dining room table needs to be waxed every evening.
Bobo Lyman:
Thank you very much Mirn! I’m sure our viewers have gotten a lot of ideas on how to avoid eating Hugmup cuisine! (Glancing at his watch and turning to face the camera) I’m afraid our thirty-two minutes are already up! Thank you for watching this week’s edition of “Having Happy, Healthy Hugmups” Next week, we’ll be discussing the topic of recreation with Hugmups: hunting, camping, family vacations—and more! Until then, may your Hugmup always smile and never leave!

(The peppy theme song resumes, as Minsel, Bobo, and Mirn stand, hug and chat. )

Voiceover:
This is The Educational Channel, broadcast from the campus of Snodgrass University in Hapdorn, Hapdorn Province. The contents are produced and directed by the faculty and students of the School of Televised Communications. Stayed tuned for our next offering, “Fjarnian for Beginners” —an introduction into Homeland’s most important language of trade and commerce.