Keeping Poop in Perspective

Written by: Joe Flach

I walk my dog every day – usually, several times a day.  I probably remember to take a doggie-poop-bag with me 95% percent of the time.  Because she also runs loose in our fenced in back yard – my dog probably only poops on our walks 25% of the time.  But – that 5% of the time that I forget to bring along a poop-bag guarantees that she poops 100% of the time on those occasions!  Or, so it seems.

This morning, I forgot to stick a poop-bag in my pocket for our morning walk.  She pooped.  So, I turned around and went back home to get a poop bag to pick up her mess.

As we returned to the scene of the crime, I discovered we were too late.  Two women, one hopping up and down, steaming mad and shouting obscenities, were standing near, what was now a smashed pile of doggie do-do.

“I am so sorry,” I said as I walked up to clean up the remaining mess.

“Sorry,” the hopping lady shouted, “sorry doesn’t help me now, does it?  Why the hell can’t you people clean up after your dogs?  How hard is it to keep your damn dog from sh*tting on the sidewalk?”

“I am sorry,” I repeated.  “I always pick up after my dog, I just forgot the bag this morning and rushed right home to get it.  I apologize I did not get back here before you came along.”

“Well, a lot of god-damned good that does me now,” she continued to shout.  “My shoes are ruined thanks to you.  God damn it!”

“Look, lady,” I said, trying to remain calm.  “I said I was sorry.  If your shoes are ruined, give me your name and address and I will send you the money for new shoes.”

“Thanks a lot”, still shouting, “but, you’ve just ruined my whole day.  I try to take a walk in the morning to start the day off right and idiots like you have to go and f*ck it all up!”

 “Ma’am,” I said, in as calm a voice as possible, “I think you should keep this in perspective.  You stepped in a pile of dog sh*t and got it all over your shoe.  It’s not like you stepped in a pile of cancer and got it all over your body.  You can go home and throw your shoes out and let me buy you a new pair – your prognosis looks pretty good.  And, it is up to you.  You can allow this small matter to ruin your whole day or you can go on with your day and be thankful that this is probably the worst thing that will happen to you today.  The choice is yours.  I suggest you make a wise one.”

Her friend, whose shoulder she was leaning on to keep the soiled foot off of the ground, although I am not sure why she was hopping around like she had a broken foot, couldn’t help but start to smile and giggle, just a little bit.

The furious woman looked angrily at her friend; looked down on me in contempt as I picked up the remaining poop; looked at my dog who just stood there with her tail wagging madly and, after a minute or two, miraculously calmed down; put her raised foot back on the ground; and, smiled.

“You know what,” she asked, “you are right.”  Her friend winked at me and she continued.  “It is just a pile of dog sh*t.  I can absolutely get over this and not let it ruin my day.  You know what else?  Of all the piles of dog sh*t in this world, I’m glad I stepped in yours.  Thank you for your offer to buy me a new pair of walking shoes, but that won’t be necessary, I’ll keep these, thank you.  And, every day I put these shoes on for my morning walk I will be reminded that I did not step into a pile of cancer and I will think about those poor souls who have and keep my miseries in perspective.  Thank you for that reminder.”

She and her friend turned and continued on their morning walk laughing along the way.

I patted my dog on her head; tied the poop bag closed; and made a promise not to forget the darn poop bags ever again.

(This is a fictional tale.  I thought this story up as I was walking back to my house to get a poop bag to pick up my dog's pile this morning after I forgot the bag.)