Dog Poo Made Me Rich.

Stepped in Dog Poo

Everyone has a poop story.

Specifically an animal poop story.

I’m no exception.

Growing up in a country town, we had no shortage of dog, bird, horse and mouse poop.  There were birds everywhere and I got pooped on quite a bit over the years.  The bird poop didn’t bother me so much. But stepping in dog poop was a total bummer… especially when I had brand new running shoes on.

I was about eight years old when I got a nice pair of new running shoes for my birthday.  We weren’t a rich family, so my mother – raising three kids by herself – used what little money she had to buy me the shoes I wanted. What a treat!

My grandmother often stayed with us during long holidays or for a few weeks here and there during summer vacation.

My grandmother always had a garden in our yard and we would eat the vegetables she grew.  She was a smart woman and was always armed with one or two lines of Wisdom or Sage Advice.

She would say things like:

Eat garlic, it keeps the bugs out!
or
Make sure you get plenty of roughage!

Or when we were going to go on a road trip to the beach and the kids were told to go to the bathroom first.

 ‘I don’t have to go, grandma’ one of us would say.

She’d always reply, ‘you can always pee -there’s always something in there, even if it’s a little bit.’  And would march us up to have our pee (she was right).

Inevitably –  as we kids were playing in the yard – one of us would always step in dog poop then get laughed at and ostracized by the other little tykes (brothers, sisters, cousins) even when it was washed off by one of our uncles or aunts we were still the Poop King or Queen for the day (or the hour until someone else stepped in poop and took the baton).

One particular day on a sunny, summer afternoon, we were all playing in the yard and SQUIBSH, the all too familiar sound of sneaker squishing dog poop was heard – followed by the immediate gagging stench of canine feces.

The all too familiar series of events then followed:

Initial Horror.
Children rush away leaving me alone in the stench.
Laughter and finger pointing ensue (from a safe distance of course).
I’m dubbed Poopy Boy.

I limp to the house (why do we limp when we step in poo?) bummed out – not only because now I’ve been the recipient of unwanted attention, but because the shoes I was wearing were brand new, white running shoes that made me cooler, dapper, and most importantly I could – in my head – run ten times faster than anyone else.

My grandmother heard the commotion and peeked out the kitchen window. She saw me limping to the house  and met me at the back door.

‘My new shoes!’ I cried.

‘It’s OK. We’ll wash that right up for you with the hose.’ 

That didn’t make me feel any better. But she did tell the other kids to shut up. 

As she was washing the poop off my shoe (it was my right shoe if anyone is curious) she said, ‘well, now you’ll have good luck the rest of the day.’
‘Really?’
I asked.

‘Yes. If a bird poops on you or you step in doggy doo, you will get lucky… maybe even find some money!’

‘Wow!’ I exclaimed.

I felt much better now.

I put my shoe back on and went to join the other kids when I saw a glint. I stopped and looked down. It was a quarter! (twenty-five cents for an eight year old back in those days was a fortune!)

The other children gathered round.  I told them what I knew about poop & good luck…. then showed them my coin.

‘Oooo’, they said in unison.

The Thought Wheels in my eight year old head started turning.  I put the coin in my pocket and went around to the other part of the yard where I saw a drier day-old poop.

Not so fresh, so not so stinky.  I looked down at my shoes.

Oh well, I remember thinking.

SQUIBSH. I stepped on the poop. 

This time I didn’t run crying to the back door looking for grandma.

This time, I ran around front to where my mother parked her station wagon.

I opened the car door. Not sure what I was doing, but knowing that Luck was on my side, I looked in between the seats. I found a few pennies and a nickel! 

‘I found more money!

Ooooo!’  the cousins exclaimed.

I took a stick and scraped off some of the poo then sauntered down the street of our neighborhood.  I walked to this very old, very big house that was – once upon a time – a rich person’s mansion, but had since been converted into a nursing home.  I saw a bit of poo on the beatifically manicured lawn and promptly ran over to it.

SQUIBSH! 

‘What are you doing there, boy?’

I turned and looked and saw an elderly gentleman – whom I often saw sitting and reading on nice days – sitting in the shade of a massive willow tree.  Cane, book, hat, tie and a big smile.

Nothing,’ I replied. Walking over to him.

‘Can you do me a little favor, young man?’  he asked.

‘Uhm… OK’, I replied.

‘Go up to the house there, see those bushes to the right of the door?’

‘Yes,’ I said looking at the bushes.

‘Well behind those bushes there’s a hose. I want you to stretch the hose over here to me. Don’t turn the water on til I tell you.’

I hesitated.

‘Well go on boy!’ He said winking and smiling.  ‘I’m thirsty and I get into trouble with the nurses when I drink from the hose.  He crinkled his nose.   ‘… and it smells like you stepped in doo doo… so perhaps we should wash that off your shoe, too.’

I ran up behind the bushes to the hose and stretched it out to the willow tree then ran back up to the faucet to turn it on when he was ready.

‘OK!’ he said.  I turned it on.  He took a sip out of the hose. I ran down and took a sip, too. 

Now wash that shoe!’ he said.

I moved away from where he was sitting and took off my shoe and with a small stick and water… got most of the poo off.

‘Stanley!’ came a voice from the home.  ‘Are you drinking water from the hose again?’ 
‘No, I was just helping the boy wash doo doo off his shoe,’ he replied looking at me winking. 

The nurse turned off the water and started rolling up the hose. 

I put my shoe on and sat next to Stanley on the bench.  Thank you for that, sonny,’ he said.

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a dollar and stuffed it into my hand.

Why?’ I asked.

‘Well, you’re a good little man helping out an old fart like me.’  Then smiling wryly he added, ‘and dontchya know it’s good luck when you step in doo doo?’

‘That’s what my grandmother said,’ I exclaimed.

‘She sounds like a smart woman.  Now you run a long and come say hi when you see me outside here reading.’

I thanked him and ran back home.  The kids were in the backyard playing whiffle ball. 

Hey Poopy!’ they hollered. I held out the dollar. 

‘I have one dollar and thirty-three cents!’

‘How?’ they asked

‘Cause when you get pooped on by a bird or step in dog poop you have good luck and can make money…. And I did!’

About a half hour later seven children with poop saturated sneakers were at the backdoor, looking down at their shoes as Grandma shook her head.

‘Goodlawd, what did you all do?’

 They pointed at me.

‘Paul said we’d get rich if we stepped in poo.’

‘That’s what you said Gramma!’ I stammered.

‘I just wanted to make you feel better,’  Gramma replied.

I showed her the dollar and all the change I had as a result of my poo hunt.

She feigned anger and disbelief, but I caught a quick smile as she turned to report to my mother, aunts and uncles what had happened. 

We all heard laughter erupt from inside the house.

My uncle came out and told us to take off our shoes.  He helped us clean the poop off in the garden (and told us poop was good for vegetables… it took me months before I could eat a tomato again).

‘You all play barefoot for the rest of the day’, he ordered.

We all laughed as we called each other Poop Queen, Poop King or poopy head.

Looking back on it now, my grandmother was right. Stepping in poop did seem to bring good luck.

 And even when there was no good luck… I still have these good memories.

Thank you Jessica Martin for asking:

“Does anyone out there in Facebook Land have a story of being pooped on by a bird and it actually bringing them good luck (Yes, a bird did just poop on my head)?

…and bringing this memory out of the cobwebs of my mind.

You are my TAM (Tuesday Afternoon Muse).

*******************************************************

You can follow the Militant Hippi/Boston Paul on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/BostonPaul
or

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MilitantHippi

1995

 

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