Today at work, I read an article on cracked.com about how Mr. Fred Rogers is irrefutably the Greatest American. No one I know would dispute that; everyone I know would, however, disbelieve that I share a shred of his kindness, generosity, and love of life. But guess what suckers! I have a story to tell…
In the city, the weather has been awful. If the calendars didn’t say “First Day Of Spring” at the bottom of March 20th’s (Mr. Rogers’s birthday) little box, you sure as shit couldn’t tell from looking out a window around here. Fine Monday weather today: painfully cold, windy, rainy and/or snowy, gray and depressing and FUCK WINTER, right? So believe me when I tell you, the drive home was garbage from the second I started my car. Stop, go, stop, go, stop. Stay stopped. Go? No, stay stopped I said! Now go BUT NO STOP! Rush hour, in the Motor City. Just as I began cursing everyone around me: fellow commuters in the “express” lanes where we were all furiously sitting, the clear and speeding lanes of oncoming traffic, those slow fucks in the “local” expressway lanes, the teen drug-addict mothers who birthed these non-driving fools & the scumbag fathers who abandoned them before birth, the incompetent C-average engineers who slapped this whole nightmare highway system together, the laws of physics & that asshole Henry Ford; just as I was tearing humanity a new asshole, I saw a puppy.
“Holy shit puppy! What are you doing YOUAREGOINGTOGETMURDEREDASFUCK!!!!”
Thankfully (sit down, Henry), I was at a complete stop when I saw him, heading straight toward me on the shoulder of the freeway. And thankfully (go fuck yourself, Henry), I’ve had to wrangle a loose pup or two in my day. So in my infinite puppy wisdom, I leaned over, pushed open my passenger door, and asked this cute puppy if he was a good boy and wanted to go for a ride.
He ran right past me. Didn’t even look.
So I pulled over onto the shoulder and I got the fuck out. That’s when I realised I wasn’t the only one.
As I ran after this poor little guy, in the rain, bitter wind stinging my cheeks, cars surging every few moments, I saw there were about ten or fifteen other people who had pulled over and were also trying to help this dog, who, it should be noted, was a roughly 6-7 month old gorgeous blue pitbull. We ran after him, puddles splashing, horns blaring, everyone calling out to this dog:
“Who’s a good boy??!”
“Good boy wanna go for a ride??”
“Who’s such a cute baby puppy??!”
“Come here good boy, such a sweet boy!”
“Who wants a treat?! Good puppies get yummy treats!!!”
He would get close… And then dodge. Run right toward your arms… Then cut across traffic. Walk toward an open car door… Then duck and run the other way. It was all we could do to ask each other, “is he yours?”, and eventually realise his owners weren’t One Of Us.
Then it happened.
He was coming down the shoulder toward a blond woman and me, and we crouched down low as we busted out the baby talk to try and calm him down a little. A man crossed over from the other shoulder behind the dog, trying to corral him toward Blondie & me. As soon as Dog realised what we were trying to pull, he leapt up and over the median wall separating the express lanes from the local lanes… And was immediately almost hit by a speeding car. It was so close, my heart stopped, and I thought we’d surely be able to get him now since that asshole just mangled his poor little puppy feet. But rest assured, only person who will read this, he was ok, unharmed, and finished darting across the last three lanes of highway to disappear over the crest of the embankment, hopefully toward a warm home with a nice soft towel to dry his crazy, almost-annihilated puppy feet. We all stood still at our respective positions along the shoulder, scanning the top of the embankment for several minutes, just to make sure he was safe from the murderway that almost claimed his sweet puppy life.
As he ran, we ran along after him, some in jeans, some in sweats, some in coveralls, me in a skirt and tights, unbuttonable coat flapping open around me, cars left on the shoulder of the highway in the pursuit of something greater, greater than speeding home after work to sit on the couch and watch tv, greater than rushing home to yell at your kids for doing whatever it is shitty kids do, greater even than the instinct for self-preservation. We did something great today, even if we didn’t succeed. Thank you to my anonymous comrades, wherever you may be now. Mr. Rogers would be proud. (IPOY 143)
As a reminder for The Powerful Beard benefit. Which is more like a celebration of Adam overcoming some pretty ridiculous hurdles. I don’t like being touched, but I have a lot of hugs I’ll be giving out. So, free hug from Adam’s wife with admission. Just don’t be a creep about it.