Ella Beast : Rejoinders

A question of waste

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Laura and I became involved in a brief argument Sunday morning, not with each other but with a woman who loudly accused us of not picking up after Ella. She did this from some distance away, crossing the street toward us on a diagonal. After some hostile back-and-forth, I think we managed to convince the woman that the deposit our dog had just made was liquid in form and not solid, but our case was not helped by the fact that Ella had done so in the midst of a whole lot of old turds that had freshly been revealed by the melting snow.

The woman was understandably upset by the fact that some irresponsible owner was failing to pick up after his or her dog, and indeed this upsets us as well. It's not just that we sometimes get blamed for other people's failings. It's just ugly and unhygienic, and it's a hazard to the soles of one's shoes.

But the argument itself was upsetting enough that Laura and I spent a while afterward trying to come up with some better responses to false accusations of failing to scoop poop. How do you pithily yet politely point out to someone that the act they thought they saw was really something different, and head off an angry confrontation? Preferably it would something more disarming than simple denial.

The best we came up with, though I'm still not sure it's very good, was this: "I've tried and tried, but I still haven't figured out how to pick urine up off the ground."

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Mad Bomber Hat
So Laura and I were walking across town on 9th Street on a recent frosty evening—Tuesday just past, to be precise—our arms laden with new purchases and our minds casting ahead to the pleasures of an evening at the Kettle of Fish on Christopher Street in the company of our CD Mix of the Month club cohort, when we spied a spasm of utter disgust and contempt twist the features of a squat, portly pedestrian approaching and about to pass us on our right.

For a moment I wondered what horrific sight or gut-churning smell it might be that had made such unholy handiwork of this Andy Richter–looking fellow's fat face, but all became clear when the porcine perambulator spat these words with a venom that would not have disgraced a slithering specimen of Naja nigricollis nigricincta"What is that on your head?"

Ah. Owing to the evening's chill, I proudly sported my infamous Mad Bomber Hat1, tugged snugly down around my ears. Lined with genuine and luxuriant lapin fur, this toasty headgear never fails to elicit hearty compliments from more discerning critics (as, in fact, it did not much later that evening). Never before, however, had an imprecation of such vehemence been hurled at my innocent chapeau.

Needless to say, such churlishness could not be allowed to pass unchecked. Shrugging off my shock, I turned as the surly stranger passed and sent this salvo sailing over my shoulder:

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