I Pretend to Pick Up My Dog's Poop

The plastic bag poking out of my pocket is just for show, okay! I'm way too lazy to scoop poop.
Publish date:
December 16, 2011
pets, litter, poop

In elementary school, there was this one kid we called "poop leg." As in Aaron "poop leg" McGillicutty. (Okay, fine, I can't recall Aaron's actual last name, but if I could I'd want to save him the humiliation of a Google analytic associated with anal emision).

It all went down during recess, which was held three times a day in a 500-square foot cemented courtyard with no grass or actual room for recess. See, in Avalon, the major port of Catalina Island, there are two schools. One's for normal kids and the other one's for kids whose parents think private school is the surest path to either salvation or maybe college. Guess which one I went to.

I attended the experimental Avalon Christian School every Tuesday through Friday in a converted Bed and Breakfast that had a wedding chapel attached. In the 90s, our school went from maybe second grade right on up to senior year and we all matriculated in the same room. Without teachers. Instead we had "monitors" who came over to our individual work cubicles whenever you had a question which was indicated by the miniature American flag you stuck in a hole above your desk.

Needless to say, recess was HUGE.

We'd been cooped up and silent for hours and hitting the concrete courtyard to play either tether ball, hopscotch or sit on the picnic bench to people watch (our ONLY three options) was tantamount to unleashing Henri Young on "the yard."

Also, the school was run by a kindly family of Mexican missionaries (they were both from there and would go there to expel demons) and their dog, Mohena, who had free range of the courtyard. Basically, the dog shat everywhere.

So one day all 12 of us ACSers were ripping up the concrete, having escaped the school house. I think we were playing an improvised game of "run and go get it" which involved racing around the yard chasing someone with a ball. That was our idea of an "it." Ah, childhood.

Anyway, Aaron is hamster-wheeling the place like a champ almost in reach of whomever had the ball and SPLUGE (this is my mind's onomatopoeia)! He slips on a steaming new pile of Mohena's breakfast redux. A trail of brown crap streaked up Aaron's leg like war paint. If the war was between cleanliness and godliness.


I don't know who shouted it first but the battle cry shot through the crowd like hot diarrhea.

For his part, Aaron looked pretty upset about it. He didn't cry or anything, but I could see the "kids can be so cruel" memory gathering at the corner of his eyes before he escaped to the bathroom to get closer to god. The name stuck around longer though.

I don't think there was a week, nay a day, that went by without one of us bringing up feces first thing. Funny thing is, it could've been any of us. It was bound to happen eventually. Kids, tight space, lazy "guard dog." Even funnier? None of us ever bothered to pick up Mohena's poop, the exciting land mines of our hoohum elementary existence.

That was a really long way to explain why I rarely, if ever, scoop my own dog's poop.

I am THE WORST when it comes to responsible pet ownership in public spaces. Unless a skittish kid is around, I let Miles wander all over the sidewalk, forcing other pedestrians to navigate his mad zig zaging. I've sneaked (snuck?) him onto trains, planes and Boltbuses. I let him wander the halls of our condo building if he's getting stir crazy and dare anyone to protest. He pays rent here too, dammit!

The greatest of these, of course, is my lackadaisical waste management. Go ahead, judge me. I think everyone else does. Which is why I carry this:

This Safeway bag has been in my pocket for about three weeks now. I have yet to use it to actually pick up Miles' poop. It's more of a prop because I know I should be scooping. (I think it's the law according to some signage I've glanced at in a neighbor's yard.) I want to wear the costume of a scooper in order to affect the air and respect deserving of one such model citizen.

To be fair, when Miles was a shiny new puppy, I was all about the doody duty. That's also when I took him to the Vet every other day, feed him organic everything and planned to train him to visit sick kids in the hospital. But after awhile all that fell by the wayside when I realized he's a dog. An awesome one. But, still, a dog.

And I do try to pick up his butt presents every now and then. I even make sure he never cops a squat where someone might actually step in it (although in Paris that's a sign of good luck) or in a flower bed or garden, which can be dangerous parasite-wise.

I'd like to think I'm just being very French and not a lazy ass. Or that this is all an homage to poor ole Poop Leg, who I imagine promised himself that fateful day to never get caught with shit on his leg and is now wildly successful because of that motto alone.

Either way, I still carry around the bag to give the semblance of citzenry despite bucking the system with every deuce my dog drops. Am I the only one who does this? Pretends to follow the rules despite the fact that I think they're for suckers?