Thursday, October 8, 2015

Outside of a Dog, a Book Is Man's Best Friend

(Today's title was made possible by the Groucho Marx Foundation who do not know I am using his line.) 

I was coming home earlier this week driving down my street and caught a glimpse of a very trusting and optimistic young man walking his moderately-sized dog towards Chelsea Parade, the green space separating Washington Street from the Norwich Free Academy, NFA. 

I can never keep track if dogs are permitted on Chelsea Parade or if this is the week we have the sign up on a tree we’re cutting down that has a dog with a red line through it. We have had fitful discussions on allowing (domesticated) animals, I’m assuming basically dogs, access to the Parade; we have zero no squirrels signs which is just as well as they are notorious illiterates and scofflaws. 

I appreciate the pictorial presentation though, hooked on Phonics (and Phoenix) that I am, signage with the words “No Dogs” would probably have worked unless we’re expecting the dogs themselves rather than the owners to read the sign. I’ve never understood who is enforcing the "No Whatevers and We Mean It" ordinance, rule, sign (?) and judging from the presents often found as you walk across the Parade, to and from NFA the answer has eluded more than just me.

I imagine as Autumn progresses and more leaves fall, students and others traversing the Parade get to play a game not too dissimilar to Battleship with every step through the crunchy leaves heading to your destination but hoping to avoid a softer than anticipated footfall. Maybe some red pennants on small sticks to mark mounds might help, or at least make the Parade look more festive. After all, not everyone has a toddler whom we can let loose on the Parade to gambol and cavort until, well….the inevitable happens. 

Anyway, the young man and his dog (I dubbed them Dick and Spot in honor of childhood action heroes) were merrily on their way. The bi-pedal member of the party, enjoying a mild late summer afternoon, had a tee-shirt on with cargo shorts and was barefoot. He had his dog’s leash in one hand and, his smartphone in the other was thumb wrestling with social media of unimaginable dimensions I suspect.

I admired his optimism as, completely oblivious to his immediate surroundings while perhaps liking a meme of the World’s Most Interesting Man punting Grumpy Cat, he walked across the Parade barefoot. I couldn’t tarry, sadly, but did silently applaud him for all the time he will save on cleaning shoes. Sometimes Man’s best friend looks a lot like sneakers.
-bill kenny    

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