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Open Letter

You don't know me, of course. Apparently there is a physical law which repels dog owners from anyone who has had contact with their dog's feces. In other words, you have never met anyone who stepped in your dog's shit. Otherwise you could not possibly continue leaving said dog shit laying around, because one of us would have long since put you into a persistent vegetative state. That would make it difficult to walk your dog on other people's property in order to defecate.

This same physical law repels all dog shit from the feet of dog owners. Here is the logical proof: It's impossible for a non-dog owner to avoid stepping in dog shit. We've all done it. And any human being, having stepped in dog shit, would never impose that experience on others. Ipso facto, dog owners are obviously impervious to stepping in dog shit. You, specifically, have never stepped in dog shit.

Let me tell you about it. It's very unpleasant. If you realize what you've done at the instant your shoe is sinking into the soft, stinking mess, you have the visceral sensation that it's not on your shoe but oozing between your very toes. Sometimes your foot will slide a bit, if there's enough shit to adequately reduce friction.

But the sliding is actually a good thing. It's good because, realizing what's happened, you can start swearing immediately. Also, you don't absent-mindedly scratch an itch on the opposite calf with your soiled shoe, thus smearing dog shit on your leg or pants. You don't unknowingly walk around with a big glob of dog shit on either side of your sole, the object of pity to all around you, as you wonder what smells so bad. And you don't track it into your house or office or car.

I wish my 10-year-old daughter had felt her prized pink Diesel gym shoe sinking into your dog's shit. Because then she wouldn't have gotten into our car and smeared it all over the floor carpeting. It took a few seconds for molecules from your dog's shit to begin circulating in the car and activate sensors in our nasal passages. We were in front of Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House on 58th Street, turning north on Woodlawn, when it happened. We thought maybe we'd passed by a backed-up sewer or something. But after a block or so, I began to fear the problem was closer. With the windows wide open, the smell really should have dissipated by the time we hit 55th Street.

"You didn't step in some dog poop maybe, did you?" I asked Carly.

"No!" she said instantly, then, "Oooooh, yes, I did! Oh no!"

Oh, how she loved those shoes. They're not really expensive. They're not the kind anyone gets killed over. About thirty bucks, if I remember, at Famous Footwear. Frankly, however, I don't have thirty bucks to spare. And Carly was wild about those shoes. She started crying right away, afraid that the shoes were trashed. So I had to promise her to try to clean your dog's shit off her favorite shoes. I would have asked you to do it, but you weren't around.

If I could subpoena every dog within a couple of miles for a stool sample so we could positively ID you with the DNA in your own dog's shit, I would. In fact, there should be a city-wide dog shit DNA database for just this purpose. Why didn't Alderman Natarus ever propose that? And now it's too late.

When we got home, I scouted around for a good twig. I sat out on the back porch with a plastic bag, gagging as I scraped your dog's shit off the shoe with the twig and then wiped off the twig on the inside of the plastic bag. You know, it's just amazing how intricate the sole of a kid's sneaker can be. The design on this one was really quite interesting from a geometric point of view. I wonder; if the bottom of kids' sneakers were studied by mathematicians, would they find that the pattern proved a previously insolvable proof? Or perhaps the sneaker bottoms are a complex mathematical non-repetitive pattern like those medieval Islamic tiles recently discovered to be Penrose geometric patterns, or "girih", something not invented in the West until the 1970s by Roger Penrose. I don't know. I didn't have the luxury of appreciating it on that level, because I needed to switch to toothpicks to try to get your dog's shit out of the tiniest pits, so I was pretty focused.

I've always felt that yellow-tinged dog shit is the ugliest kind there is. I heartily back that now that I've seen it underneath my fingernails. What exactly do you feed a dog to turn his shit that color, anyway? I had to take the shoe to the basement and try using the toothpick while holding the shoe under a stream of burning hot water in the laundry sink. Nothing worked. I ended up having to throw it away, after all that.

Whatever. That was my day. How was yours?

Sincerely,

Cate Plys

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Do you have any odd bits of doggerel or scatological anecdotes? Send open letters to Open Letter to cateplys@sbcglobal.net.

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Catch up here with the growing Open Letter collection.



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Posted on March 20, 2007


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Charter Schools Complicit With Segregation.
SPORTS - USA Gymnastics Bans Illinois Coach.

BOOKS - The Randomness Of Harvard Admissions.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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