Dear Ann Cannon • I walk my dog twice a day and recently an out-of-state family member accompanied me on one of those strolls. As per usual, my dog did her business and after I picked up the poop, my relative argued I should throw it away in any garbage bin that was at the curb. I declined, saying a private citizen pays for the can so it was not a public receptacle and therefore it would be bad form. What’s your take?
—What to Do With Doggie Doo-Doo?
Dear What to Do • True confession time. I used to be THAT person — the one who tossed the bag into the first garbage can I saw. To me, a garbage can was a garbage can was a garbage can. I just assumed other people wouldn’t care if I used theirs because I didn’t care if they used mine. If anything, I thought I was being totally awesome on the Good Citizen Front for even picking up after my dog. I grew up in America’s Reckless Days when nobody wore seatbelts or picked up poop, which meant we all spent a lot of time scraping stuff off the soles of our Keds before walking inside someone’s house when it was time to watch reruns of “Gilligan’s Island.”
Then one day a good friend of mine (who doesn’t own dogs) told me she hates it when strangers dump dog mess in her garbage can. It’s her can on her property. What’s wrong with people? I was surprised by her reaction, but it caused me to rethink my position and now I am woke when it comes to disposal issues. Yes. I am very, very woke.
This is a long way of saying that I think you’re right and your relative is wrong … although I think we can agree that tossing that doggie bag into any receptacle is better than leaving it on the ground.
Dear Ann Cannon • Why have the election campaign seasons become so expensive, long and abusive? What happened to a person speaking out to their community about what specific ideas they have for solving problems? We need kinder, gentler campaigns. How do we get there?
—Disgusted by Today’s Election Spectacles
Dear Disgusted • Well, I’m not a politician. Or a pollster. Or a poli-sci professional of any kind. And even if I were, I’d probably disagree with my colleagues (who would be busy disagreeing with each other) about how to manage the reality of our currently exhausting and expensive election cycles. Me, I’m personally a fan of the way the Brits manage theirs. Give ’em six weeks and things are won and done, Son.
We’ll never be able to impose such an efficient and cost-effective system here in America. We’ve already let too many gremlins out of the bag.
What we can do as individual citizens, however, is to ignore the bad examples set by far too many of our leaders and choose to engage with one another civilly in person and online, even when we disagree.