Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Food Chain: Us...then Everything Else

Let me start out by saying, I am not an animal person. I didn't really grow up with pets or have any affinity for wildlife/farmlife. We had a cat for a couple years. He ran away one day in a decision that was clearly mutual. In general, I just never really saw what the big deal was. While occasionally likable, most animals came with far more responsibilities than were justified by the odd game of fetch. At times they seem more a smelly nuisance than something worth tending to. That being said, I had recently softened my indifferent stance towards animals. This was mostly a result of seeing how much little Charlie's eyes lit up whenever a dog came near. She was quite taken by her furry, four-legged friends. Even I couldn't help but share in her excitement. The thought even crossed by mind, albeit for just a millisecond, that one day we may get her a dog of her own.

That was then, this is now. The last few days have put me firmly back into the anti-animal camp. Sorry Charlie, but don't blame me. Blame the dog people of Withrow park and the asshats at PETA.

Earlier this week I decided to take her for a quick walk after work. Everything was going swimmingly until a couple of dogs approached us. This was mildly irritating at first as the dogs were off leash in an area clearly marked as an "on leash" area. These signs are uniformly ignored with the offenders never punished. City Hall seems to view the dog lobby as the one constituency you don't want to mess with. They are to Toronto what the religious right is to the States. As I was saying, this started as just another typical act by someone in the city ignoring those around them, much like the subway rider with the iPod playing so everyone is forced to listen to their crap or the douchebag who needs everyone on the patio to hear his conversation. These are the everyday annoyances that one who lives here either learns to deal with or spends their days punching people. The two owners leisurely strolled up to collect their mutts. One of the dogs, some sort of reasonably harmless-looking poodle/terrier thing, suddenly came right up to Charlie's stroller. Before I could react it was poking her with its paws and nose. The poor little thing was petrified. There was the heartwrenching pause at the beginning of her cry where she goes beat red, open hers mouth and is completely silent. All I can hear is the bitch's owner playfully saying something like "Molly, what are you doing?" as he saunters over to collect his dog. Charlie is so distraught it seems almost like she forgets how to breathe. It took so long for her to make a noise that I was almost happy when the screaming commenced. I'm not exactly sure what happened next. Caught up in a dizzying mix of emotions, extreme sadness for my terrified little girl and burning rage at the two dickheads who couldn't control their mutts, I yelled a few choice words while moving around in what would have appeared to be a very erratic fashion. I had conflicting impulses to console her (it had started to pour rain adding another element to the mix) and let the guys and their dogs have it. Presumably my actions prevented the guy from the standard "oh, I think she likes her". You know what I don't like? You and your fucknut dog.

As much as I can recall I didn't say or do anything that was offside. I'm pretty sure I didn't utter any threats of physical harm or make any reference to sexual orientation, race or religion (these guys were clearly Episcopalian). As long as I stayed away from any of that anything else was fully justified. I'm sure my somewhat menacing behaviour may have caused some consternation on behalf of the two owners, which I'm more than fine with. You two jackasses made a one-year old girl cry! The fleeting fear of a deranged 31-year old Dad coming to beat the snot out of you hardly constitutes an eye for an eye.

This left me quite shaken. Screaming at a couple random dudes is not something you expect to be doing on a weekday, nonetheless while sober. By the same token I wasn't expecting to have to console little Charlie who rarely gets that upset. Both were a bit of a shock to my system. It took me longer to calm down than it did Charlie. She's clearly the more resilient of the two of us. Before any of you mention it, I have no connection to the dog poisonings of a few years back. Now if you hear a story about "local dog owners threatened by 5-iron wielding baby girl" then I'll take the fall for that one. Charlie has an alibi.

Now on to PETA, which stands for People who can't think straight bEcause They don't hAve enough protein in their diets. Many of you have by now seen their latest ad that ludicrously attempts to equate the gruesome murder of Tim McLean with the slaughter of animals for human consumption. The offensiveness of this is obvious and intentional. PETA knows that such an opportunistic act of inappropriateness will bring them more press and attention than any number of C-list celebrities picketing a KFC ever could. I will not dignify their cowardly move by arguing against it, which is exactly what they want. Instead I will attack them at their very core as I believe we all should. If you don't like their ad, go buy yourself a hamburger or, better yet, une Foie Gras entier to nibble on at your desk. Protest their idiocy by hitting them wear it hurts. If they want to go offensive, I can do offensive. Maybe there's a way to force feed baby seals with a funnel that will make their livers plump and delicious. Hell, it can't hurt to try. If PETA can be "provocative" so can I. Time to go coat shopping!

"Finally, something for all those Smart Casual parties"

PETA's agenda is an absurd one, particularly as it relates to their desired prohibition of meat. If God hadn't wanted us to eat steak he wouldn't have invented blue cheese or rosemary-sage lemon compound butter. Actually I invented the latter. Lathering it on a steak is a buttery homage to the great Bistecca Fiorentina. You're welcome. He, being God not me, also wouldn't have made meat look, smell and taste like this (you can almost hear Marvin Gaye's "Lets get it on" playing softly as these images scroll by):

It's simply unimaginable that the vision of such delectable treats could be outweighed by some polluted ideology. Just sit back and think of a beautifully medium-rare duck breast with the crispy layer of fat glistening. Or a perfectly braised rack of shortribs falling off the bone. How could that not be appetizing. Or that same duck breast in the shower beside the shortribs after a long day at the sorority charity car wash. A knowing glance, a toss of the hair and then the headmistress pulled pork walks in....

OK, that got a little weird. Anyways, people of PETA you have lost any remnant shred of respectability with this last stunt. They've truly gone too far and, to utilize a horribly overused phrase, have "jumped the vegan fish sticks" here. Thanks to you, my answer to the question "would you like bacon with that" will always be an unqualified "yes!"


Anonymous said...

How can you not love Toronto dogs and their precious owners? I've even heard the term 'fur kid' used...Yeah - when you have to worry about your animal picking friends in the park that could get them hooked on drugs - you have a kid.
Until then, get cable and a life.
Sorry..a tad bitter about this subject.

Dominic Bugatto said...

An entertaining post . Mmmm I'm hungry now.

I've had similiar experiences in that very park with the 'boys' that often conjures up up the same feelings of 'Park Rage'.

I think 'anonymous' is Ronin 47 ;)

Anonymous said...

I'd be a more worried about you coming and 'beating the snot' our of me if you weren't 130 pounds soaking wet......

Steve Holt said...

Seem to have touched a nerve. Not too surprising given the mention of PETA zealots. Apparently insufficient nutrition can lead to very think skin. Either that or its an obssesive dog lover. I can see why you'd be upset. Having someone bad-mouth my child would be quite hurtful so I'd imagine reading someone say something nasty about a pathetic surrogate for an actual child could also be difficult. I'm sorry, would you like your belly rubbed?

...and go F@ck yourself.