Monday, March 28, 2011

It was a good idea at the time.

Last Sunday was one of those rainy and cold days that for me are best spent inside, watching some relaxing movie or, if my wife and daughter will allow, in some quiet refuge trying to write. However, neither my wife nor my daughter was going to allow such a thing yesterday.

Early last week I was put on dayshift to cover my two teammates who normally work that time after both were struck with sudden emergencies. It seemed simple enough, but after spending over eighteen months on nightshift my family had worked out a comfortable schedule juggling the demands on my wife and children with that of my work. Being abruptly thrust back onto dayshift forced my attorney wife to trash her routine work schedule so she could be home when the eight year-old Miss Wiggles walked through the door since I could not get back any earlier than four o’clock.

The rest of last week was utterly FUBARed and everyone was extremely happy when the weekend arrived since it meant a return to my normal work schedule Sunday night. Still, the damage was done forcing Dragonwife to catch up on her paperwork late Sunday morning requiring a quiet house without distractions. For that reason my wife asked if Wiggles and I would get out of the house for a while.

For years, Miss Wiggles and I use to spend some time away from the house every Sunday going to the zoo, the state museum, or taking Sparky the Dog to one of the local parks for a walk. It was a regular and enjoyable activity but like her brother before her, who I use to do the very same thing with, she had long begun to want to stay home and play with her friends in the neighborhood or do something that did not bore her like our regular activities had started to do.

As expected, when Wiggles learned we be going to the zoo she became obstinate, not only refusing to go to the “childish” zoo but wanting to stay home and watch SpongeBob all day with her friend who in all honesty needs one of those patches smokers wear but soaked in anti-hyperactivity medicine.

With Dragonwife pulling out stacks of paper with all sorts of legal mumbo-jumbo and other black magic spells printed on them while beginning her chants Wiggles and I came to a compromise about where we would go. Instead of the zoo we agreed to take Sparky the Dog for a walk in the park, which opened up a huge can of worms that I made an oath never to do again. Sparky the Dog is a little terrier that while great with all children absolutely goes ballistic at the sight of other canines.

Several bad incidents had occurred on these previous walks with Sparky going after other dogs, some of them much bigger, and while the police never had to be involved and the other dog owners were forgiving for the most part I had long realized taking Sparky anyplace was far more trouble than it was worth. That is why as all three of us drove away I came up with a great idea about our destination.

The South Carolina state house grounds are an extremely beautiful and relaxing place with its park-like atmosphere and its semi-secluded paths a great place to find a bench and sit and think. Wiggles, Sparky, and I had visited there many times on our little outings paying special attention to all the historical monuments situated on the grounds. During early spring when the azalea bushes are in bloom the color is explosive and the alluring scent of the flowers can almost make a knowledgeable person forget about the Confederate banner still flapping in the breeze nearby. With it being a rainy and cold day, I expected the grounds to be largely empty of both people, dogs, and was happily surprised to find it that way as I parked the car.

The first animals that greeted us as we began our walk were the resident squirrels, which I always confuse with our glorious elected officials. On a side note, if the knowledge of my confusion every reaches the leadership of the resident squirrel clan I expect they will viciously attack me the next time I visit. Sparky went crazy wanting to chase the little furry critters but as I scanned the surrounding area and saw no dogs I was content to let the family canine, safely on his leash, have his dreams of action and adventure.

Trouble never being far behind on these outings finally occurred near the statue of the esteemed Wade Hampton the Third, Confederate general, governor of South Carolina, and United States senator. We had nearly circled the entire grounds and with no dogs in the area and very few people, I was beginning to feel relaxed and had planned to make another circuit around the big gray building.

Wiggles was holding the leash as we approached the huge statue with Hampton sitting gallantly on his horse. Sparky was busy enjoying that wonderful olfactory world exclusive to dogs, I was lost in my thoughts, as usual, wondering when I could find the time to make a trip down to the coast before the crowds returned. Glancing down I saw Sparky very close to the base of the statue clearly getting into that special position dogs do to take a poop. Before I could open my mouth Sparky left a huge steamy pile on the base of one of South Carolina’s heroes and looking very happy with himself.

Right then and there, I quickly lead my little group back toward our car with every intention to leave before anyone noticed the special honor we had left on the monument. I had forgotten to bring the small dog poop bags that are specially made so an owner can take procession of what his furry friend leaves behind and there was no way in hell I was going to pick that stuff up with my bare hand.

As we stealthily slipped away, I remembered my basic South Carolina history and began to feel less embarrassed. Wade Hampton was the original “Teabagger” prototype ending post-Civil War Reconstruction in South Carolina, under very bloody terms, and setting it on the path of clinging to a dishonored way of life oppressing a huge segment of the population that never did anything wrong but be born the wrong color. With our escape apparently successful I allowed myself the dishonorable thought of wishing Sparky had the “stuff” to leave a similar present at the base of Strom Thurmond’s statue as well.

With South Carolina being a state where “Honor” is still in many quarters a sacred thing and people get teary eyed at the thought of the Confederate flag flapping in the breeze while dreaming the Civil War had a different conclusion its not out of the realm of possibility I could get into trouble for bringing this stuff up. So if I suddenly disappear this is my official request that Amnesty International be contacted on my behalf.


Mr. Charleston said...

It would take a bigger dog than Sparky to amply honor Strom Thurmond, but we'll take what we can get.

I've been to the SC Statehouse and the USC campus and they are both beautiful.

Pixel Peeper said...

Smart dog!

And now you made me a bit homesick, with your descriptions of the State House grounds.

Next time, take Miss Wiggles and, oh, three or four of her friends, to Frankie's Fun Park. It will soooo make you look forward to going to work, I promise!

Commander Zaius said...

Mr. Charleston: LOL!!! Someone I know meet Strom back in the early 80's and even then I will be kind and say Strom did not know where he was or doing for most of the time.

As for honoring someone I'd rather Sparky poop on Joe Wilson, now that guy is a lowlife.

Yeah, the USC campus is nice as well.

Pixel: Good idea, we have not been to Frankies in a while but I tend to skip taking many of her friends places. Keeping track of little girls is far more complicated. When we take some of Wiggles' friends places my wife has to come.

Windsmoke. said...

I know how you feel when you are taken off one shift and placed on another it really does upset the apple cart at home. I was doing three shifts when i was working and loved night shift to. :-).

Bill's Big Bamboo said...

Your story highlights one of the main advantages of dogs over cats: the ability -- & willingness -- to "comment" politicaly.

Akelamalu said...

A change of routine can be very disruptive, though sometimes a change is as good a rest.

Lowandslow said...

You should be ashamed of yourself, besmirching the reputation of all those fine squirrels.

Could you possibly loan me your dog for a weekend? I have a governor here...not a STATUE, but the actual governor...I'd like him to drop a big steaming load on. :)


Randal Graves said...


Commander Zaius said...

Windsmoke: Third shift is a pain in many ways but in others its damn nice. I get my job done a lot faster, far fewer people get in the way, and I'm almost completely out of the loop on work place politics.

Sleeping during the day sucks but somehow I work around it.

Bill: And given how much Sparky still likes to pee inside the house no matter how many times we let him outside I thought he was republican.

Akelamalu: That was the thing in this case, sleeping Tuesday night was hard but after that I actually caught up on some good, undisturbed sleep.

LowandSlow: LOL!!! I'm waiting to tag our queen here, after that I send the dog.

Randal: LOL!!! Yeah but he was on our side, that cancels all bad things.

Nance said...

Once upon a time, when I was trying to think of a proper visual aide to enhance the term Asshat, as applied to a local politician, I happened upon a picture of Colonal Wade Hampton...wearing the very chapeau. I decided it was time to try out photoshopping. It took me hours and hours to do, but I came up with the Wade Hampton Asshat Award, which I have since awarded successfully on my blog to the most egregious SC asshats (and ya'll know who you are). More to come, I'm sorry to say.

deafmutes said...

Good dog. If it never does anything right again, just remember that day because for one single moment in life, it took appropriate action. You should be proud.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Maybe slip Sparky a few Colace tabs next time - you know, for some additional contributions.......You're married to a lawyer! LOL

Full-On-Forward said...

Hi--saw comment on Cloudia's page in Hawaii, and just wanted to say--there are some really cool beaches no one knows about yet! Shhhhh!!!! LOL

Cool Blog!

John (from Lex SC)

Cloudia said...

how have i not seen this yet?!

Aloha, Parrot Heads,
from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral



Commander Zaius said...

Nance: It depresses me to no end that everytime I am away from South Carolina and while talking with strangers when I am asked where I am from when I mention my home state I get snickers to outright laughter.

Allen: Yeah, but had the police or some snitch saw us and turned us in the fine would have come out of my butt.

Will: No matter what happens I am not taking that dog anywhere again. I have enough trouble with the locals already.

John: Holy fellow blogger Batman! Welcome! I dropped by your blog for a few minutes but had to run before making any comments. Will drop by again soon.

Cloudia: Trying to get my seven monthly posts in since my usual Friday Flash fiction story went down in flames.

okjimm said...

there is a statue of limitations on dog doo... just saying

Commander Zaius said...

Jim: You would hope but South Carolina has strange ways.

Cirze said...

We need this for the DC clique.

Thanks for a great read!

And Nance should copyright (or just promote) that "Asshat" graphic as we all could use it. A lot!

Much love to the pup-pup!


patches smokers wear but soaked in anti-hyperactivity medicine.

Doc said...

Hey Beach ol' buddy,

Do you have any friends who write like you do? Since I'm hosting Flash Fiction Friday this week I thought it might be a good idea to drum up some new authors. You have such an extensive readership for your blog, I thought maybe you could put the idea into a couple of new ears. If you can think of anyone, drop them a line.

It's here:

and look for us on Facebook too.

Full-On-Forward said...

THANKS! I stepped in that Pile while trying to take a dum...errr...PICTURE by the Statue myself! Yesterday!

This had me laughing from start to finish.

PS: Some of those Squirrels are like the Rabbit on Monty Python's Holy Grail--so keep ms. Wiggles safe!

Have a great weekend!


Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

This reminded me of how much I liked 3rd shift. None of the daytime drama and bullshit. No busybodies wearing me out with useless activity.


John Myste said...

It’s funny that those in the South have to worry that embracing their heritage is clinging to evil. If you think about it, though, this is a concern for everyone. I am especially aware, though abnormally tolerant, of such things. My wife is an African American. It is sometimes hard to recall with a sense of honor who our fathers were. Slavery is one horror among many. At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I would like to point out that the entire nation is stolen booty, paid for with blood.

We stole this country from the British and at the same time, we stole it from the Native Americans whom the British and others were also robbing. We enslaved imported humans, while we butchered the ones who were already here. I have to wonder why we didn’t save a step and simply enslave the current occupants, but that question is a way off topic.

If we dig deep enough, it is hard to find a truly honorable hero and it takes a long time to make a statue, so maybe we don’t have to become iconoclasts to admit our former wrongs. It is the reminder of those wrongs that makes us see progress and keeps us mindful not to make the same mistakes again. I would relocate some of the statues and flags to museums where they are more suited and replace them with newer tyrants whose evil we have yet to recognize.

I would consider placing a small amount of preserved poop on a select few, only because the desire to do so is also an indication of who we currently are. Both the statue and poop tell a more finished story. It would be like finding Ozymandias, and not just moving the statue to a museum, but also the sand and debris around it.