While picking up the piles on Saturday, I found Winston sitting in his usual hole surveying the property. As dogs go, he looked unusually forlorn. I put down my tools, walked over the old boy, and asked, “Why so glum?”
Expecting nothing, I was slightly surprised when he answered (in a wonderful British Accent), “I find myself in a state of loss.”
“Why’s that?” I pursued.
He turned his head to scan the horizon. “Have you ever gotten anything just right? I mean so perfect that you know there has never been, nor will ever be anything that quite equals your creation?”
“I don’t know,” I answered, contemplating my artistic endeavors. “I suppose that rocking horse I made was pretty good.”
“The one your child sits on?”
“Yeah, she rides it.”
“How do you feel when she rides it?” he inquired.
“I guess I feel good to see her use it.”
“So it delights you to have your progeny place her dirty bum upon your work of art?” he said haughtily.
“She wears clothes!” I countered.
“Not always,” he said knowingly, still looking away.
By this time, I began to grow angry and impatient. “What’s your point?” I stammered.
“I am simply trying to give you a point of reference for my mood. You asked. I spend a week arranging my work into the perfect array and you come out with your slotted spoon and shopping bag and destroy the lot,” he explained. “Just like you make a rocking horse and your daughter smears her jelly-stained fingers and dirty backside all over it.”
“That’s why you were licking it,” I realized.
“Just the handles,” he snapped.
“But this? This is just poo,” I observed, pointing to the bag.
“Just poo? Just poo?” He said indignantly. “I’ll have you know that it is a dog’s highest creation, perfectly placed to entice females and intimidate rivals! It is my art! My natural medium. Secondarily, they are little traps to keep your children and her filthy companions from wandering into my territory.”
“Your territory? This is my yard.”
“I disagree,” he said coldly.
“But I have a title to it,” I said, wondering if I would have to explain property laws to him, but guessing he knew more than me about them based on his superior tone.
“Your title is worthless in the natural world. I have pooped on it, therefore it is mine.”
We were at an impasse. I thought about solving this his way, but didn’t have to go at the moment and was slightly afraid of the neighbor’s reaction.
“Okay. Well…I’m gonna finish picking this stuff up,” I said as I returned to my chore.
“And I’m going to put more down,” he replied nonchalantly. “I’ve been saving one for when you finished your rounds.”
I paused and looked back over my shoulder. His smarmy grin ticked me off, but I didn’t have time to argue anymore. It was almost time for kick-off.