Thursday, July 25, 2013

For Strong Stomachs Only


I have always liked dogs. I don't own one. I do have a cat, a parrot, and (currently) three fish.

It is my experience that people who don't know each other very well will strike up friendships by talking about their dogs. Most people can keep such talk in perspective. Some can't.

I've been spending the last three weeks on a school bus with 16 other teachers, riding to companies and manufacturers far and wide across the lower tier of New Jersey. It was inevitable that, in captive audience of fellow teachers on long bus rides, talk would turn to family pets. I call it "dog talk."

Yesterday, as our school bus pulled out of the parking lot for a quite long trek to the extreme tip of southeast New Jersey, the teacher in front of me and the teacher behind me began a conversation about their dogs. This was a continuance of several other lengthy conversations about their dogs.

This time the chat began innocently enough, with detailed descriptions of what they feed their dogs. Teacher A, a person with insufficient filter on both the sound level and subject matter of her conversations, detailed how she prepares supper for her Great Dane, Zeus. (My profound apologies to this bored deity for perhaps the worst use of His name known to humankind.) If you really need to know, she browns some ground turkey and adds a can of mixed vegetables. No lima beans. Apparently dogs are not fond of lima beans. Any other kind of canned vegetables will do, though. You can give Zeus peas, carrots, even mix some celery into the ground turkey. He even eats pumpkin. Yes, in the fall he often gets pumpkin in his food, since that's pie-making season. You see, Zeus weighs 175 pounds, so he can eat a 30-pound bag of dog food in just a matter of a week. That's a lot of money for a teacher, and it's really cheaper to do some short order cooking for him. If you think about it, that's a balanced meal: ground turkey and vegetables, with vitamins and all that good stuff, and it's much cheaper than big bags of dog food.

Spread this conversation over 15 minutes, and you've got the precede to the shift in gastrointestinal point of interest.

After Teacher A and Teacher B had exhausted the topic of feeding their pets, the conversation then went something like this:

Teacher A: Oh, boy, when Zeus has to do his business ... you just would not believe how much comes out of him! I mean, it is huge!

Teacher B: My Fido is so small I can pick his up with a Kleenex. I don't really bother, though, since my yard is so big.

Teacher A: Well, I have to bother, because you should just see how much shit he puts out! It's not even flushable! Really, he can drop a gigantic load every day! I'm always amazed by how much comes out of him!

Teacher B: Well, you said he weighs 175 pounds, so I guess the size of the dog makes a difference in the size of the shit.


Teacher B: Wow, this is ladylike! We're sitting here talking about dog shit.

Teacher A: (laughing) Yeah. Look at us!

Reader, I will admit that the motor on a school bus is loud. But you'll have to believe me when I say that these two people were speaking louder than they had to. As for me, I was sitting alone in my seat, grateful for the sunglasses that permitted my eyeballs to roll dramatically during the feeding portion of the conversation, and then bug out when the topic turned to end-of-the-line digestion. Sitting directly in front of Teacher A were the well-dressed and highly professional Chamber of Commerce executives who organized this whole three-week conference. One can only hope that they were immersed in other important tasks.

This morning, Thursday, we teachers heard our last speaker of the conference. Before the workshop began three weeks ago, we were all told to dress professionally. You're probably guessing what I'm about to say, reader ... today Teacher A arrived in denim capris and flip-flops.

This workshop was otherwise one of the most interesting things I've ever done with my summer vacation, and I'm not finished writing about it yet. But most of what I've had to say has been really serious, so I thought I would offer you a little vignette that says less about teachers than it does about human nature. Some people are not properly filtered. I'll bet you know a few.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Oh yes, I've known my fair share of those, LOL!

Anonymous said...

I've been that person. Why didn't someone install one when I was young?


I suppose shouting 'shut the fuck up' at the top of your lungs would have been frowned upon.?

Anne Johnson said...

Yes, Gran, that would be a completely unfiltered response ... but tempting, I must admit.

Anonymous said...

Indeed. An almost appropriate response. A relevant verbose half silent loud whisper... = "Three FeLIne Black telemorphs of the moment" ?@¤

Anonymous said...

Rodger C: I once sat down to lunch next to two biology professors, one of whom was saying, "So we cut the horse open and found this enormous rip in its intestine."

Anonymous said...

Horrific indeed. particuarly during a lunch. Seems to me that filtering is not always the reason.We continue to learn despite the inappropriation... & thx out of respect for said equine and persoal curiousity, And with admittedly very little Knowledge of the inner biology of Horse. Did you continue with your lunch?@¤

Anne Johnson said...

Can you imagine sitting next to a table full of proctologists? I think at least they would use professional terminology.