To Everyone, from Prison

“Stone walls do not a prison make,

Nor iron bars a cage.

For I have rubber dog-shit in my pocket

And the power to OUTRAGE!”

[forgive me: Richard Lovelace. 1618–1658]

The prison I refer to is the one we all inhabit, the one we are born and die in.  That maximum security facility at the end of our necks that incarcerates the “me”.  Our noggins… our minds… our brains, and in the end, every smidgen, speck and particle of that most important thing in this universe we call… our selves.  The guards have names like Mr. Sphenoid, Mr. Parietal and Mr. Ethmoid.  Eight guards to a shift in all.

At this point you are probably wondering where the rubber dog-shit comes in.  Well, that’s a bit of a journey and if you choose to continue reading we can take it together and both find out where we end up.  I make no promises.  I try never to make promises.

It all began innocently enough on a rainy sunday such as this, a few months ago.  Sunday mornings are when I water my collection of orchids.  It takes a full two and one half hours to do it properly.  They are epiphytes you see and they don’t grow in dirt.  Instead, they entangle their juicy roots around chunks of bark and are only truly happy in a feast or famine world of abundant water, followed by none at all.  I provide them that world by filling a large plastic container with five gallons of water and, one or two at a time, giving them a nice “tubby”.  In they go and out they come ten or fifteen minutes later presumably drunk as Lords on the universal solvent.  They love me for it I know and in return for my care they give me sex the only way they know how.  They expose their most private of private parts throughout the year in an orgy of floral shamelessness and perfume my humble abode in a manner usually reserved for the cheapest of cheap whore houses.  But I digress.

One Sunday, while we were all going tubby, my mind flew free of its bony jailhouse as it is want to do.  Why I cannot explain, but, it came to perch on the idea of rubber dog-shit.  I make no apology for where my mind goes, nor do I think should any of us, but, that’s besides the point.  The point is that someone invented rubber dog-shit and the very idea of that gave my mind wings.  I considered the implications and, yes, it changed my life.

The names Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Warren Buffet paled before me as I considered who the unknown heir to the, no doubt, vast rubber dog-shit fortune could be.  As is my way I did not let a lack of facts incumber my speculations.  I called him Afton Furwitch III, grandson and sole heir of the patriarch of the rubber dog-shit empire, Afton Furwitch the Elder.  I had no doubt that he attended Yale or that his envious classmates snickered behind his back as his Mercedes with the windshield wipers on the headlights drove by… “Will you look at him… that’s all rubber dog-shit money you know?”

I was certain he had a yacht anchored in the south of France with the words “POOP-DECK” written in bold gold letters across the back.  I knew that he summered at Squatsworth Manor the 5000 acre ancestral estate in Northumberland where he could be seen recklessly driving his Ferrari with its [DOO-DOO] license plate across the windswept moors.  How the tenant sheep herders would shake their fists at him, at the roar of his engine as he rounded a sharp curve that would scatter the sheep to the four corners of the compass.  Oh how they envied him… as, I confess, did I.

Right then and there, as I gently lifted a satiated Cattleya from its tubby, I made a vow to play some role in this noble tale.  Indeed I was no heir, nor could I claim any credible relationship to the “invention” of rubber dog-shit, BUT, I was steadfast in my determination to accomplish what the rightful heirs had neglected to do.  My place in history would be noted as….  The Developer.

I purchased a case, wholesale, of 100 life-like pieces of rubber dog-shit along with a small spiral notepad and a flair pen.  From that day onward I vowed to never leave home without dog-shit in my pocket.  As the weeks turned into months it has become as essential to my well being as air itself.  Never again have I found myself at a loss for words to express my outrage and what were the every day frustrations of inhabiting a dyeing Empire have been almost magically transformed into opportunities for laughter and rejoicing.  It works like this…..

Should I find myself the victim of rude or slipshod service at a restaurant, I write a short note detailing my complaint and tuck it into the convenient hollow core of my trusty rubber dog-shit.  I leave it, in lieu of a remuneration, half hidden beneath a napkin and exit the establishment with a smile on my face.  Should I receive inattentive service at the Office of Motor Vehicles, I neatly place my “opinion” on the floor at the foot of the counter and go on my merry way.  Should I be kept waiting for a scheduled appointment anywhere, lets say a doctor’s or dentist’s office, I quietly deposit my “deposit” in with the old copies of Good Housekeeping and National Geographic as I bid the receptionist farewell.

As of this writing I cannot say or claim that my activities have brought about any profound changes in the world.  Not yet at any rate, but, I do have hope.  Hope for a kinder, gentler world where yelling and cursing and angry words are replaced by a simple pile of life-like rubber dog-shit.  A world where unkind words are no longer flung from stranger to stranger and tempers no longer flare out of control.  A world where, thanks to me, rubber dog-shit takes its rightful place and, like oil poured upon an angry sea, some modicum of serenity and quiet dignity is restored to us all.

Should any of you, dear readers, ever come upon a pile of life-like rubber dog-shit with a note tucked inside I ask you to think of me and, perhaps, give some consideration to joining me in my quest to make this world a better place for us all.  Purchase your own case, a note pad and a flare pen and join me, won’t you, as we make this world a better one…. One pile of dog-shit at a time.

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