What Drives A Person To Do That?
I HAVE MADE A NEW FRIEND HERE IN TERRE HAUTE, (That’s French for, “Is he housebroken?”). He comes into St. Arbucks almost every morning on his way to work. He is also there whenever I drive past the place. I think he has a cot in the back room and that he actually lives there.
When he says that he is on his way to work and drives off I wonder… what does he really do? He is wearing a uniform that has, in bold letters across the back, “Animal Control.”
I think he is The Dog Catcher.
When I go to St. Arbucks and he is there reading I sometimes go over to chat with him. We talk about what he is reading – mostly nonfiction, 20th century history – never anything about dogs.
Lately I started asking him about the bat infestation of a local school and what was being done. To me he pleads complete ignorance about it all.
“Not my area of responsibility,” he says. He must be a Specialist. I didn’t know that one could be a Specialist in the Animal Control field. I guess he knows dogs, but bats? Not so much.
Of course, his claims of non-involvement fall on deaf ears when it comes to me. Every day for the last two weeks I have been asking him for “Bat Bulletins,” and he keeps telling me, “Not my area of responsibility.”
I know that I shouldn’t keep after him like that, but – he’s the Dog Catcher – one of the most hated job titles in Post-Renaissance Earth. The Dog Catcher is reviled only slightly less than Human Organ Thieves, Schoolyard Drug Dealers, or Members of Congress. You never hear of a kid aspiring to grow up and become the Dog Catcher. Most parents would rather have little Johnnie or Susie announce that they want to become Cannibals or Circus Geeks.
I would never say anything to him about the stigma that goes with being in “Animal Control.” He seems to be a nice guy and I’m sure he’s had to deal with a hostile society. Plus, I don’t want him to key my car in frustration if he can’t find that missing Rottweiler he’s been chasing.
A year or so ago the two dogs who live next door took off for a little doggy “stay-cation” around town. I asked my friend what he would have done to apprehend them.
He has got a sweet deal going.
His shirt says “Animal Control” instead of “Dog Catcher.” A wise choice. “Animal Control” is not so obvious a target. It sounds so benign, so soft and cuddly, like the bartender on Noah’s Ark.
I have no idea what he did before the Animal Control phase of his life. Being the Dog Catcher (by any name) is not a career. One doesn’t go to college to become the Dog Catcher.
“Yes, I went to Indiana State University where I majored in Dog Catching, with a minor in Squirrels.”
Whatever he did before he must have truly hated it. What job is so bad that you would leave it to become the Dog Catcher? Selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door to the Suicidal? Bulletproof Vest Tester? Blogger?
I’m sure that I’ll see him again tomorrow. I’ll have to ask him how they are doing with the bat problem at the school.