I’m barking mad. How a Sheriff made my day
I don’t want to suggest that my life is lacking in excitement, or that at times the days seem to blend into a homogenous mass of predictable, middleclassness. But I will say, that when the man on my doorstep introduced himself as the Sheriff, he had my undivided attention.
And not just because of his uniform. My attitude to uniforms is best seen in terms of arrested development. I developed normally until the age of 5, and that was it. The fascination has not abated. Matching hats, whistles, reflective patches, holsters – all these things just exacerbate the situation.
As soon as the Sheriff introduced himself, I knew what to do. I scanned the street for American Indians. It looked clear. Maybe it was just bandits? I mentally prepared myself to be saved.
But then I remembered back to year 11 legal studies, and those other harrowing things that sheriffs did. But we are up to date with our payments and also our payments on our payments. So, I was at a loss as to what had brought this vision in beige to our door.
He explained his business soon enough though. He had come in relation to an outlaw sheltering under our roof.
Yes, he had received a complaint about the dog at our address. “You mean Kipper?”, I queried in amazement. “But he’s nearly mute and he only bites his tail and high fashion shoes.”
Kipper also squeezes 3mm of his tongue out from between his front teeth when he is sleeping or thinking. If there is a way to make yourself look more stupid I’ve not encountered it.
However, he is a boxer. So, although he is still only 1, he has an athletic build and his face looks like a pending motor insurance claim.
The Sheriff went on to explain that Kipper had got out into the street and that this was contrary to regulations. But was that really so bad? Although it wasn’t desirable, it did seem pretty much inevitable that this would happen at some point in the dog’s life.
Certainly, the children had been told not to leave the gate open. But they had also been told that chocolate worming tablets are not like normal chocolate; that you cannot use nail polish as eye shadow; and not to play with my mobile phone over the toilet bowl.
I have had dogs for decades. They had all hung out on the footpath at some point. None had brought the Sheriff to my door. Was Kipper being picked on because he was so damn ugly? ‘Cause that ugly dog was my ugly dog. My hand slid to my hip.
But then the Sheriff elaborated. After Kipper had got out, he had taken the liberty of getting into the complainant’s car. He hadn’t done anything unfriendly. He just got in, sounded them out for a lift and then got out again.
I like getting my teeth into a good debate. I floss with rights and wrongs. But a strange dog jumping into your car! The mongrel had left me nothing to work with. My heart sank as I watched the moral ground crumble beneath me.
Without hesitation, I commenced the traditional rituals of submission to authority. I may as well have been on the ground waving my limbs in the air. I took that official warning and I thanked him for it. Then I watched him guide his Toyota off into the mid morning sun.
Discussing the incident that night with my partner, I watched him carefully file it under “Domestic” or “Don’t’ Give a”, which, based on his filing system, are very close to each other. But I wasn’t bothered, I was busy, working out how to make corn grits and thinking about that uniform.
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