Author: tedforpresident

Wander idly through academia, occupation and social networks. Enjoys much and appreciates little.

One Man’s War

What you’ve got to see is that he started the hostilities. He came onto my lawn and deposited his load. I don’t know how long he’d been doing it. Only just last week did I happen to glance through my blinds in between articles in a magazine, to see him arching his back and squinting his eyes, without a care or a worry as to the rightful owners of the property he was unceremoniously despoiling.

Now dogs, taken as a class of individual, don’t find undue enmity in me. For the most part they trot by daily without comment, scouring the neighborhood for defenseless homeless people, decently rending stray children limb from limb only on my driveway, which is rather easy to hose off. I don’t go out of my way to spray them with the hose, and the butch ones will occasionally water my ficas tree, or the bitches might bark when I get my paper. But all the four-legged inbreds know better than to mess with my Alabama Ever-Soft™.

Alabama Ever-Soft™ is the softest grass in the States. It took me four days to level the soil. I hired Ritchey’s kid to hoe out the rocks, and I even let him do a few turns in the Caterpillar. I went in for those new submerged watering systems? And you know when I laid that grass I almost threw my back out being so careful. (Cindy still had to get that Chinese body-oil stuff and massage in between my love handles.) It looked just alright for a while, but after the seeding period (they say a month, but it only took three weeks!) it became lush as a… well, you know the old poker joke.

But he didn’t even care! I rushed out the door with my pants still unbuckled (I get comfortable when I read), trying repeatedly to open the door with my magazine hand. After resolving the hand debacle, I lunged like Neil Armstrong onto the grass, crushing slipper-shaped portions all the way to the scene of the crime. He had left without concern.

I posted a sign on the edge of the lawn. A multicultural one, with no words and the blocky shape of a dog “answering the call” exclaimed against by a slashed out circle. I thought the matter was done with, as any civilized beast would read the sign and make other arrangements, but he was cunning. Rising to grab my paper in the morning, I found two sets of prints: my own from the day before, and small, paw-sized marks where the thick dew had been recently wiped clean. The tracks converged at the scene of the previous days entanglement, where still steaming my foe’s response lay. I ripped my newspaper in half.

I went to the tool shed and worked out a plan. Copper wires, suspended above the ground and electrically charged. A grid of three-inch squares should do the trick. It lay like a mother’s blanket over the almost-still-pristine grass, only not quite touching. (I wouldn’t want to add scorch marks to the list of things Dave across the street will point out to me when he gets home later.) I assumed he would admit defeat. It’s not that I doubted the stoutness of his heart or the resolve in his principles, but with an obstacle of such devilish invent as I now had on my side I could only assume that he was powerless to respond.

I was revitalized. I brushed my teeth, did a quick cardio workout, ate the healthy cereal that Cindy is always forcing on me instead of the choco-rockets. I picked out a dashing combo I’d been thinking about: a creamy snowman-pattern tie and a maroon cardigan. I went to get BBQ meat. Driving home from the grocery store, I pulled over in front of Ms. Kugal’s to exchange some friendly banter while she watered her lawn. “Did you hear? I saw just the strangest thing earlier today. I was on my stoop eating a muffin when a whole pack of dogs went by wearing rubber gloves! Right up to their little elbows!” She was unaware of the consternation in my face. She must have believed I was concerned over her sanity, but I was somewhere else. I was at the Alabama Ever-Soft™ before my feet could carry me.

The wires were cut, frayed and ripped out, left in big heaping messes to either side of the yard. He had followed the wires to the wall outlet, now vandalized. Ozone wafted from the scorched greenery, and feces was across the entire lawn in military arrangement. Smaller piles in front and massive, semi-sentient hulks around the back, gridline-straight. On my now graffitied sign was duck-taped a sheet of notebook paper:

Dear Resident:

I don’t care what you think. I don’t care about your special grass. A dog must poop where he feels is necessary. I will not stand for your tyranny, and any further impediment to my constitutional schedule will result in swift reaction. You do not have the resources and time to fight this battle. You are not strong, not willing to sacrifice what is necessary. Have you ever read Moby Dick? Probably not. You can rent the movie. I’m the white whale, asshole, and I’m pooping white whale-poop all over your lawn. Get over it.

Oh, and seriously rethink that cardigan-tie combo.


Mr. Snuggles

Not man enough? “Not man enough,” I said to myself, probably sounding a little crazy. I started a new plan. You remember how busy I was last week? Yeah, I got that Christine girl who gives swim lessons at the pool to be my secretary. I secured funding through a Federal Research Grant, and I started a tech company. Around Thursday we had finished designing a sustainable power source, and the central processing system was in final testing late Friday afternoon. Admittedly, the molybdenum reactor shielding was expensive, but it was nothing compared to the total cost of the constipation drugs, the launcher system, and the projectile delivery system. Factor in the floodlights, fully-automatic auto-reloading machine guns, radar, sonar, wi-fi, nail-trimmer, surgical robotics for on-location spaying and neutering; this was the total package.

The military even wrote me telling how interested they would be in the defense applications of the project. And that’s when it started. The FBI and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission got together and decided to raid my house. They cordoned off the basement, confiscated all radioactive materials and potentially sensitive information. The Alabama Ever-Soft™: footprints of dead grass that I had left were now indistinguishable from bootprints, dug deep into the loam, that seemed to consist of every possible path across my lawn. The bases of floodlights had left sharp, triangular insults, and a few curious passers-by had thrown careless cigarettes in a thorough border against the sidewalk.

I don’t know how they found the hidden stores of armor-piercing rounds. They knew exactly where the nuclear fuel rods were kept, and the secret door into the testing facility was obvious to them. They even knew the code to my garage beer-fridge. I can only assume he did it. He tipped them off. He had been watching me all week; spying, scheming and plotting against me with his mangy cohorts.

And he was right: I didn’t have what it takes. I didn’t commit fully. I got so bogged down in R + D, in being a leader from the parapets that I forgot the conflict. I forgot why I was fighting. I forgot that why a man fights is often that a man fights. A man doesn’t win a war of principles with a gun but with a statement. After spending the night in military detention being questioned by government employees in suits without nametags, I realized that I had already lost my Alabama Ever-Soft™. When they released me shortly before dawn, there was only one option left to me: I put back on my holiday cardigan, windsored my tie, ate some healthy cereal and prepared. I would take the fight to him.

And here I am. You see, it’s unimportant who owns this lawn. What matters? Who is willing to lay it on the line for this lawn, and who can say they gave everything they had for this lawn. This is my Lexington and Concord, my Gettysburg, my Midway. Mr. Snuggles is in there right now; I can see him. Not five feet from me, watching me in utter defeat. He knows I’m the bigger man. I’ve won. Because I’m pooping on his lawn.