I apologize to those of you who have already seen this. I am revisiting these events (1) for my readers who are not social networkers and (2) so that I can pontificate ad nauseam about motivations, greater meanings, and the effect on the global/interstellar community. Also I’m sorry for the language, but it’s a necessary element of the story.
It was late, 2 am or so. I had just returned from work. Whenever I return that late I have to perform what I call Homeward-Bound Ninja. I’ve been an apprentice ninja for most of my life, but haven’t found the time to make it a profession. Still, every once in a while it’s neat to use my ninja training. Homeward-Bound Ninja involves many steps, all of which are specifically designed not to wake the light-sleeping Alex O’Dell because she does real things during the daylight hours and she needs rest and she deserves respect.
Homeward-Bound Ninja. Go. Remove shoes before entering apartment. (Ninja Rule #1: Rubber soles are a screeching crow; socks are a creeping puma.) Insert key into keyhole—to maintain quiet this shall take no less than ten seconds. Patience is paramount to Homeward-Bound Ninja. Turn lock, turn knob, open door, enter, close door—all squeaky, all require maximum concentration and conscious slowing of heart rate to under five beats per minute. Stand motionless in entryway for fifteen minutes, allow the energy to settle. Tiptoe to couch, place keys on cushion. Pet David Letterman vigorously about the neck and back. Strip down to sleeping attire (boxers) in living room. Brush teeth at a rate of one brush swipe per minute to keep volume at a minimum. Slip into bed. Done.
I did a hell of a job on this particular evening. Alex didn’t stir. And I lay my head down on my favorite pillow. Alex was stock-still, her back turned to me. The overhead fan created little wisps in her hair. My neck muscles whittled down and disappeared, relaxed. The weights tied to my eyelids drew down past my nose, it seemed. Waiting for the sleep to catch up, I watched the shapes morph on the backs of my eyelids. It was quiet.
But that’s when she spoke, a little bit of sleep lingering in her voice. Alex didn’t turn toward me or rustle the sheets. She simply said, Today some guy told me to fuck off.
Á la a Tom and Jerry cartoon my eyelids rolled up like a window shade. I immediately transitioned in to a maneuver called Skinny Unthreatening Theoretical Germanic-Barbarian Bounty Hunter in which I ask a whole bunch of questions with the intent of finding and dismantling this perp. Who was it? I don’t know. Is he one of our neighbors? Maybe. What did he look like? I’m not telling you. Will you tell me if we see him again? No. What kind of dog was it? A black one. Was it a pit bull? No. Could I take him? I could have beat him up. And what, pray tell, did you say to incite such a response? I just asked him to pick up after his dog.
Two hours later I fell asleep.
A) I love dogs. I love them. I love to pet them and let them lick my face and scratch their tummy wummies. I love it when they tilt their heads and perk their little doggy ears up. Dogs are awesome. I have no beef with dogs, per se.
B) The grassy area outside our apartment is overrun with dog crap. It always looks like they’ve just aerated. I can’t play bocce ball out there. I can’t practice my chipping. I can only play a little game called Tip-Toe: a game you can’t really win, you just hope to not lose and losing always involves washing your shoes.
C) Having a pet is a responsibility. It’s kind of like having a kid minus a few degrees of magnitude. When you have a kid or a pet it’s your responsibility to do everything in your power not to let that being become a giant hairy mole on what is otherwise this beautiful, milky complexion called Earth. Granted, you can’t control everything, but you’re not helpless either: clean up its crap and watch the Dog Whisperer.
C.2) I was tempted, here, to go further with the whole kid/dog comparison and say that no one would allow their kid to go pooping on lawns without cleaning it up, but that’s just silly. Funny, though.
D) I’ve become more daring as I’ve grown older. Maybe this happens to everyone. I don’t know. I’m not as afraid as I used to be. I’ll tell people what I think. I haven’t turned into a jerk, but if someone—even a stranger—acts like a bona fide jackass I’ll come back with a smarmy, sometimes-snide, always-pertinent response.* It’s not meanness. It’s me trying to improve the world one butthole at a time. I like this.
E) Yes, I am a hypocrite. I am sometimes a jerk. I shouldn’t be. I know this. Granted, I don’t get raw like this guy did. But jerkiness happens. After the fact, I am trying to see my dog-guy response as a reminder that my own occasional jerkiness does nothing but diffuse grief to those with whom I come in contact. My bad day does not have to be someone else’s. Still, it’s often difficult to see beyond your own nose.
The next morning went something like this: wake, snooze for a few minutes, wake, open eyes, feel pretty good, realize something is amiss, what is it?, go through the usual problems, hmmm, wake a little more, remember previous night’s conversation and the dream I had about the amazing jerk and his crapping dog, ruffle eyebrows, get up.
So I had to say something to this dude. The only evidence at my disposal was one black dog. Not much to go on. I considered a campaign called Angry Yelling Wacko in which I would confront every male I saw walking a black dog. But generalizations are bad. There was also Bad-Aim Insult Sniper where I stood camouflaged in the bushes and yelled through a bullhorn at whoever could hear.
I finally decided on Computer-Wielding Jungle Commando. I badly wanted to have a face-to-face with this guy. Since that wasn’t possible I did everything in my power to make sure he got the message. I wrote this response. Posted 25-30 copies in all. I put one on every building in our apartment complex. One on each mail station. One at the dumpsters. One at the dog park. One at each pool and each laundry room. Some were taken down after about five hours. Some lasted several days. One stayed up for over a week.
If Alex ever points this guy out I won’t go MMA on his ass. That is not my style. Instead I will don a Shakespearean-era outfit. I will hire horn players and a dancer. As this man’s dog is dropping a fresh turd by our entryway the horns will begin playing. They will blare a majestic, spirited tune. A red, plush carpet will roll out. The dancer and I will enter. I will unravel an aged scroll and begin reading. And the dancer will perform a heartfelt interpretive dance as I narrate the story of a foul-mouthed man too lazy to carry a plastic bag.
Either this or I will hand deliver a copy of my response.
*This is sometimes dependant on said jackass’ height/weight/weaponry. But not always.