Poop Police: They Live Inside My Head (All Puns Intended)

When the inspiration isn’t there for a post it helps to switch gears. Now I know most of my readers. My guess is they aren’t interested in being immersed in the behind the scenes of this blog. While it might only interest me, I have to say I moved on from a subject that needed more thought and time. I hadn’t taken the topic seriously until it came down to crunch time. Manic holiday preparation procrastination left me frazzled and unable to think but this piece has shaken me out of my doldrums. Yucks aside, I started my journalism “career” thinking there was an audience for my first publishing venture: The Daily Doo. I was a kid illustrating dog droppings which explains everything. My venture lasted two issues. This was in the 70’s, those dark days, when there was less emphasis on cleaning up after dogs and more focus on fashion and disco.

I stepped into, no not that, a skirmish of sorts on one of my routes walking home from work in SW Portland. An empty, overgrown field serves as a shortcut. Lying between a townhouse development and the backyards of other homes this No Person’s Land is where some dog walkers found freedom from having to clean up after their pets which prompted sign makers to post signs. It’s hard to tell how bad it was due to lack of evidence. Does this mean the signs that appeared worked? Or were the signs proactively placed as the result of a careless dog walker, or two, in order to make others aware that cleaning up after a dog is a “civic duty?”

Now I’ve stated, in this very blog, that 99.9 percent of the time I’ve cleaned up after our various dogs. The one time I didn’t I was scolded by a random tough guy and undeputized member of the Poop Police. I deserved it. This was when I could walk two dogs while reading the Portland Tribune. At the time I was deeply entrenched in an article about Gene Simmons of KISS, too distracted to notice one of the dogs had engaged in her business. I walked away, oblivious for a blissful moment, until a confrontation brought me back to reality. This reminds me, the Portland Tribune seems to love KISS. Every couple of years they write an article about the current KISS lead guitarist, and local hero, Tommy Thayer.     

So what makes people think they don’t have to pick up after their dogs? We know dogs won’t and they can’t read the signs telling them where they can or can’t use the facilities. This isn’t quite the same mentality that has people leaving full poop bags on hiking trails. This drives Ranger Drew, and others, crazy, for good reason. People: Don’t expect the rest of us to pick up after you under any circumstance! It leaves me wondering who the Poop Police are. I’m talking about the people who get bent out of shape, maybe not in a pooping posture, about people not picking up after their dogs. Where I can offer a scolding in jest, for the most part, this is an issue that I can take or leave, other people feel compelled to post signs. I understand why people do this. It’s a bummer that they have to.

We have a hundred pound dog at our place. I know the amount of excrement (thanks thesaurus) that piles up. Knowing what one dog produces, I could imagine how exponentially pile would grow if all the dogs from the neighborhood had owners thinking they’d discovered a poop dumping zone. One wonders if there was a proverbial dropping that broke the camel’s back? Or was it one wrong step? I know how unpleasant that is and how it could send someone into a sign posting tizzy. Heck, if it happened to me you’d hear me from miles around scream, “PICK UP YOUR POOP! NO I MEAN LIKE LITERALLY, WHOEVER LEFT THIS COME GET IT NOW!”     

I like signs more than anybody but ultimately, like the band Five Man Electrical Jam who wrote the song “Signs” in the early 70’s, I feel like my little nook in the woods used to feel peaceful and sacred before the signs. “Signs, signs, everywhere a sign” the song says. A couple are even nailed to a tree for goodness sake. As a 99.9 percent poop picker upper, (there should be an award for this) I don’t like the idea that the Poop Police are out there monitoring. People should have the common sense to keep a common area clean without constant reminders. I say, “Pick it up. Doo it!”

I went back to the site. Wouldn’t you know it, like a cliche, it’s an empty field with a fire hydrant in the middle. It has the feel of a dog gathering space. Where on earth did that myth come from–the one about dogs peeing on fire hydrants? The hydrant sported plastic bags for anyone who left home without one. I get that it’s a good idea to keep this section of the neighborhood from becoming a field of poop mines with one false move getting you a poo shoe. While it feels like I should appreciate that someone is trying to keep the neighborhood clean, the Poop Police take a heavy handed, big brother vigilante approach. Yet, without these efforts, I’d be tromping home with a foot, or two, full of it!       


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