This column is rated PG — Proudly Grouchy. My friend Mikey No Socks predicted that last week’s column would cause an inundation of protests from angry dog owners (or dog people, or dog partners, depending on whose way of speaking and thinking you wish to adopt).
Three things happened: I got no complaints about the column, there were more complaints about dog behavior, and there were some new categories for our game, When Did It Become OK …
Most fortuitously, from someone who is always happy to have other people do his work for him, it is enough to squeeze another column out of the topic. Indeed, I got enough affirmation that we are now forming Club du Grouch. Mascot: Oscar. Favorite Movie Star: Groucho. Favorite Holiday: National Grouch Day, Oct. 15.
Anyway, more stuff came in.
As in, When Did It Become OK to bring your dog to Sunday service? This was observed by Mike Del Carlo. A friend of his said the same thing happened at his church, where they allowed the owner and her dog to sit in back. This went fine until the dog started to bark.
And there were numerous complaints about exactly what you would expect — dog owners who let their dogs take care of business on someone else’s lawn.
I guess the unanswered question is why people opt not to leave the dog home. If it is well-behaved enough to go to the store, a restaurant, Home Depot or church, is it because the dog is a terror when left unattended at home? Does the dog really want to be at Home Depot?
Honestly, I like dogs. I grew up with dogs. When we left them at home, they seemed to manage just fine.
Anyway, there were other entries in the WDIBOK game.
When Did It Become OK for delivery trucks to double-park on every street? People are muddled enough when driving without adding obstacles.
When Did It Become OK to let your kid play a game or a movie at a restaurant? And at full volume, no earbuds. People seemingly are unable to leave their dogs and children at home when they dine out. Do teenagers still make money baby-sitting, or has that gone the way of paper routes?
Christopher Keane wants to know When Did It Become OK to get into your parked car, start the engine, put your foot on the brake and then look at your phone for five minutes while someone waits for you to pull out?
Beyond dogs, I suppose we could do a whole treatise on how phones have broken down our society. Of course, they said the same thing would happen with the rise of rock ’n’ roll. On the other hand, who’s to say it did not?
When Did It Become OK to surf the net on the phone during a movie in the theater, despite the announcement that this should not happen?
When Did It Become OK to enter a crosswalk while looking at a phone?
In all seriousness, if that is even possible at this point, Apple introduced the iPhone a scant 16 years ago. Now, they are ubiquitous, in particular, among a generation that has grown up knowing only the handheld phone/computer.
We are only beginning to consider the impact on all of us of this compelling, addictive, and also entirely utilitarian device. It would be fully within the spirit of the of the Club du Grouch to say it is the end of the world as we know it. But, really, nobody knows. Least of all me.
IN AN UNRELATED MATTER: I spotted this headline the other day in a local daily newspaper whose initials are not DJ: “California snowpack hits highest level this century for March, could soon become biggest ever.” We all know what is coming in about a month or so — flooding and mudslides as all that snow melts and heads downstream, or downhill. This will be followed by dire predictions about the fire danger caused by unprecedented growth of wild flora, due to — the unprecedented rainfall.
NOT SO FAST: We turn our clocks ahead an hour this Sunday, but, despite what you may have heard, it is not permanent. A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to make it permanent, but that is all. If it makes its way through the legislative process, it would mean no more Daylight Saving Time, and I guess after that we would just call it, you know, time. The bill is called the Sunshine Protection Act. Who says these guys have no sense of humor?
Mark Simon is a veteran journalist, whose career included 15 years as an executive at SamTrans and Caltrain. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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