Saturday, July 24, 2010

On the Scooping of Poop

We live in the city, and we have a small backyard. So we walk Jackson along the sidewalks and alleys of our neighborhood. Early and late, rain and shine, heatwave and blizzard, we're out there. Which is one of the reasons we're looking for a house with a big yard, where "walking the dog" means opening a door. And you can even pay people to come scoop the poop! What a great country.

But, until we find that house, we walk, and we scoop. Unfortunately, Jackson's poops are not particularly scoopable. Once in a great while, he drops a few turds that are hard and well-formed and would probably work as an alternative building material. But his normal output ranges from soft-and-shapely to puddle-of-pudding. On a long multi-poop walk, solidity goes down as distance goes up. The last poop often looks like he gave a good hard squeeze on a tube of cake frosting. [1]


The drop zones vary quite a bit, too. Sometimes he's at the base of a tree, and the ground is covered with mulch - good news. Sometimes he's on a patch of trimmed grass - okay. But sometimes he's squatting over foot-high, weedy grass where the poop vanishes like a Slurpee down a deep, deep well.

Which means that the amount of poop we're able to scoop also varies. I'd say that we average about 90%. On mulch or gravel, we can get it all, irrespective of poop consistency. And if the turds are tight, we can get all the bricks, even in weeds. But in the worst-case combo, poop pudding in tall grass, really thorough clean-up would require garden shears and a hazmat suit. So we do the best we can with a couple of plastic bags, and we watch those real estate listings.

[1] Speaking of poop and cake frosting: many years ago, I worked in a Baskin Robbins in NYC. One day, a customer came in to order an ice cream cake. She spoke to Mary, our cake decorator. The customer said:

I want it to say "Happy Birthday Joe", and in that chocolate shit.

But what Mary heard was:

I want it to say "Happy Birthday Joe", and in that chocolate, "Shit".

Couple of days later, after work, crowded store, the customer came in to pick up her cake. Of course we showed it to her, to make sure everything was perfect. And she started screaming, "There's 'Shit' on my cake! There's 'Shit' on my cake!" One of my fondest workplace memories.

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