If the poo fits

David Moseley

It was with much joy and great relief that I celebrated the news of Max du Preez joining News24 as a columnist. Not only does Max know more about South African politics than most local politicians, but he also has that wild, unhinged look (if you can find a photograph of him) that’s sorely lacking in the clean-cut looking columnists on this website.

Max is the archetypical grizzled news hack that News24 has been crying out for; and he’ll write about all the serious stuff that creates serious problems for South African citizens.

It also means I’ll be free to continue writing about the things that really matter; the problems that (literally) affect the man in the street and the issues that (literally) occur at a ground level. I’m talking, of course, about the scourge of dog poo.

But first I want to tell you a story. This is a story about a boy. It’s about a boy who was absolutely smitten with a girl.

This young boy was wide-eyed and inexperienced; he’d yet to find love in this life. Off he went to university where immediately he realised what he’d been missing in his 12 years at an all-boys school – girls.

In his English, History and Journalism classes (I’m afraid this young boy was so naïve he actually studied journalism, instead of something useful, like the History of Art) was a girl, and instantly our hero was in love.

Slowly, he befriended her, learning that she liked to lunch “off campus” and take walks around town, visiting local artists, between gaps in classes. She was sophisticated like this. He’d accompany her on shopping trips and the like, always offering to carry her heavy backpack to lessen her burden and highlight his commitment.

One day, after months of eating turkey sandwiches he couldn’t afford and visiting stores of dreary uniformity for midday window shopping, he decided to make his move.

Walking home from yet another fruitless visit to the local second-hand furniture store, wearing his best shorts and brand new shoes – a pair of black Nike trainers, chosen to give added gravitas to the moment – our hero was all set to ask for a date. But then, disaster.

A wet squelching noise came up off the pavement instead of the usual thud of his feet. A rancid stench wafted towards their noses and lingered like the last twirl of mist in the valley.

Curling up and over the sole of the black Nike was a fresh, steaming dog shit. On the ground the unmistakable swoosh of the shoe was imprinted into the turd. As she ran off covering her mouth, eyes bulging like she’d just been hit with sarin gas, our broken-hearted romantic knew the moment was gone forever.

What kind of people?

I hadn’t thought about that moment until I got a dog a few years ago. Since then, I’ve noticed that dog owners are quite happy to let their pride and joy defecate wherever they desire, rarely removing the offender steamer. In my mind I shake an angry fist at the sight, forever recalling the moment when a poo cost me a good night out in Grahamstown.

It bothers me greatly that on runs, walks on the beach or visits to national parks that not only do I now have to dodge used condoms (on the plus side, safe sex happens!), but also all shapes and sizes of festering faeces.

I won’t bother to tell you what you should be doing, or even ask you to change your ways, because the kind of person who lets their dog poo on a shared public space and then leaves it there is beyond reasoning with, but I will ask you to reflect on what kind of person you are.

Who visits the beach and leaves behind dog shit? Who goes for a walk in a pristine national park but leaves behind hot piles of poop? Who lets their dog foul a pavement without cleaning it up?

You’re not very nice. And very soon it will be Max du Preez writing about you. And then you’ll be in real trouble.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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