SOLO ZONE PUBLISHING     Opinion

The Dog Shit Cataclysm


by
Charles Wehrenberg

      SAN FRANCISCO, July 2000: I was walking along Haight Street recently, looking for tie-dye socks, reflecting on the turn of events which first brought me to the Haight-Ashbury in 1967 when my Colorado dream job with NASA died of pink eye. That dilemma had forced me to abandon everything, to change my life from science to art, and to the business of staying alive. Oh well, what had I learned, anyway, from years of studying microbiology and designing interplanetary life detectors for the space program, save that everything dies in its own shit. The yeasts were better at survival than most, their excrement being alcohol in which they thrived until percentages decreed a culture plate wide crise dífoie.

      Not that 1967 was a bad time to bail on gainful employment and immerse myself in a custom motorcycle shop in Berkeley. Motherís Motors was a psychedelic haze, fun, indeed! Still, Iíve never been able to smoke quite enough divine product to forget all that science, so it creeps back to preoccupy my mind. Computers and genetic codes have remained part of my life. Of late, I had been thinking about Ronald Reagan and other amyloid plaques. Of course, the poetry of Reagan forgetting that he was ever President remains too perfect, yet too, there is the sad story of a once proud being in decline.

      Scrapie, Kuru, CJD, Mad Cow Disease, and other similar prions...does Ronald Reagan really have Alzheimerís? Or is it Mad Cow Disease? I had been toying with the concept of Alzheimerís as a dairy product. I was thinking of hormone laden milk or mega cholesterol, of course. Then it dawns on me that the conduit might be dogs, meaning dogs eating cows. What was the name of Reaganís dog? Did doggy lick the Gipperís face after licking its own butt...and give ole Ronny kuru, I mean Alzheimerís? I doubt Ronnie licked the dogís butt. Maybe Ronnie didnít wash his hands after petting that end of his dog, popping in the prions with a choice jelly bean. Or perhaps Ronnie merely inhaled it from his best friend.

      English officials now assert that the scrapie of sheep which has entered English beef and dairy herds was not conveyed through the feeding of offal to cattle, rather was the result of cattle inhaling dung dust from sheep using the same pasture land. Dung dust. The recent deaths from the hanta virus prove that these lethal particles can be inhaled from mouse waste. If a pinch of mouse litter can kill you, how about the tons of dog shit hitting the streets every day. How much lethal dog litter is swirling about on our streets? What is the threat being imposed by this rite of defecation? How dangerous are these numb nuts who would shit their dogs in public? Visions of nipah virus or hendra killing a whole neighborhood of patriots in America: nipah gives the family dog a cold; the mortality rate in humans is forty percent!

      I understand why people have dogs. Manís best friend, dogs make people feel sane because dogs let people talk to themselves without feeling insane. And thereís nothing quite like ordering a dog around to make you feel like you are the boss.

      A dust devil swirled on the Haight Street sidewalk. My blink was reflexive. When I opened my eyes, I was near the ATM. A line five deep waited on the sidewalk. White people praying to a wall, dollars squeezing out of a stainless steel sphincter. I scanned from the slot to number two in line, a frumpy woman with a big golden retriever. She was doe-eyed as she watched her dog take a huge dump right there on the sidewalk, number two in line. She was ready with her baggy, grabbing most of the warm turdage in a smooth movement, snapping the clear bag over it, zip locking and pocketing the warm butt-bomb without hesitation. A good citizen, or so she would think, she did get most of it. And she would soon drop it into one of the nearby litter collection cans. From there it would flow seamlessly into a truck and off to the San Francisco dump to percolate in that plastic bag until it burst and the rains washed the untreated sewage into the water table. The rest for her dog litter would dry out there on the sidewalk by the ATM. It would become dung dust and swirl into the moist eyes of others passing the drop zone.