by Dan Bolles
One of my favorite parts of the day is my morning constitutional with my mildly-retarded, baby-eating half-pit bull, Buckley. Buck is an odd little fella with myriad idiosyncrasies and personality quirks. For example, he's obsessed with his tail. Like, Captain Ahab - Moby Dick obsessed. And no, he doesn't really eat babies. Yet.
When he really gets going, he's an unstoppable tornado of white fur, tearing though the apartment as if it were a Midwest trailer park. He'll catch his tail and in true pit fashion, simply won't let go. If you call him, he'll rotate toward you and will even ascend and descend staircases, never loosening the death-grip on his rear appendage. Maybe this is why most of his breed have bobbed tails? But I digress.
This morning we strolled through Battery Park, as per our usual routine. And as there often are on pleasant days, a few homeless people were sleeping on various benches and plots of grass throughout the park. It's just part of its charm, I guess.
Now, one of my biggest pet peeves — pardon the pun — is people who don't pick up after their dogs. It's an ongoing problem in Burlington and many a morning — and shoe — have been ruined by errant footfalls. It's gotten to the point that I've actually confronted fellow dog owners when I catch them in the act — though I'll usually offer an extra plastic bag.
This morning, I happened to spy a girl in her early-twenties walking her German Shepard. She was cute and her dog was handsome. And apparently incontinent — the dog, that is. I noticed the pair just as the Shepard was kicking his hind legs, proudly spreading the scent of its discharge. He finished and without batting an eyelash, the girl turned and began to lead the dog away from the scene of the crime. I rolled my eyes and reached into my pockets for a spare bag.
As I did, an older black gentleman, lying on a bench, raised his head from a makeshift pillow and shouted from across the park, "Hey! I wouldn't shit your bedroom! Pick up after your goddamn dog, lady!"
The girl's expression was priceless. A mix of disbelief and embarrassment crossed her face as she frantically searched her jeans for a bag we all knew wasn't there. Smirking, I held up one of mine as Buck and I made our way toward her. She took the bag and whispered to me, "What the hell is his problem?" I merely smiled and shrugged my shoulders as she bent down to scoop the poop. "Have a nice day, and thanks for cleaning up after your dog," I said turning to walk away. "Uggh," she replied in disgust, daintily attempting to pick up the pile.
As I strolled past the gentleman on the bench, he addressed me, "Hey buddy?" I began to reach into my pocket for spare change or a loose dollar. "You got any more of those bags? You wouldn't believe how often this happens." Taken aback, I reached in my other pocket and produced two more bags. "Thanks, man," he replied. "No sir," I said. "Thank you."
I tipped my Sox hat and began to walk away. "I wouldn't shit in her bedroom," he said again, readjusting his pillow and laying his head down.