“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
That quote is often attributed to Gandhi. Maybe he didn’t say it. Either way, it’s permanently inked into my arm. This morning I realized that my daily dog walks in a nearby empty lot is a perfect example of how I try to “be the change.” This patch of grass is surrounded by condos on two sides, apartments on the third side, and some houses on the fourth.
This seemingly unclaimed rectangle of land is a dog shit minefield. Let’s pretend for a second that a dog’s booty-cake is an actual live landmine. If I blindfold four people and force them to cross this treacherous landscape, three will be blown to bits. That’s why I don’t step a single toe in there after dark.
I’m the only one who picks up shit here. So why do I bother when everyone else has apparently gotten together and decided it’d be awesome to see how much poop can pile up in one place? Well, because it starts with me; I want to “be the change” I wish to see in the dog shit minefield. And I know fellow dog walkers see me walking around with my little black, compostable poop bags. I wonder if they laugh. I wonder if they try to imagine themselves putting their fingers on turds with only thin plastic between.
Still, this isn’t the worst case of dog shit negligence I witness. I’ve hopped over gigantic piles of shit on sidewalks in downtown Edwardsville. Near restaurants! I don’t want to want to stoop to using an overused txt-speak expression, but OMG!
And also, AYFKM? (I thought I made this up, but Google set me straight. If you’re over 23, you may not know that AYFKM means “Are you fu*!ing kidding me?”) And that’s exactly what blitzes through my brain when I see dog turds on a busy sidewalk.
I’ve also jogged around piles of shit on the bike/running trails. Be the change you want to see in the world if you want that change to be worldwide disregard for human decency. How’s that for a inspiring tattoo? Or maybe: Be the ginormous pile of shit you wish to see
in the world on the sidewalk. Words to live by.
Back to the field. It’s a perfect place for kids to congregate to play baseball or football or even to just hang out, like a small public park. I’m sure kids attempted this back in the 1980s.
“Okay, Timmy and Tommy, you’re on my team. Harry, did you bring–what the hell’s that smell? Billy, did you shit your pants again or did–Holy hell, I just stepped in a pile of dog shit.”
“Ah man, so did I.”
“Dammit, so did I!”
“Let’s get out of here!”