The right to swing my fist ends at the tip of your nose
– Oliver Wendell Homes / Zechariah Chafee
It was packed, it was Friday night, and there was a labradoodle licking my shoe. The dog had been wandering around the at-capacity local restaurant/pub for the last ten minutes. Every time it came across one of the short tables, or hopped up on the raised floor for the booths, or sniffed up against the leg of someone at the bar, the poor dog received a confused look from the person who noticed it. At one point it saw a kid about 5 years old and put it’s front paws on the girls back as she walked by.
The 40-something year old dude in the Wisconsin Badgers hat was giggling at the bar. I asked him if it was his dog. He laughed and said it was, walked over, and tried to get it out from under our table.
Me: “You know Steve? The owner?”
Guy: “Oh yeah, I know Steve real well.”
Me: “You know he runs a pretty tight ship around here right? I mean, his own dogs don’t even come in here.”
Guy: “It’s fine man.”
Me: “You sure? I mean, people are noticing and he runs this place pretty…”
Guy: “Well, it’s, y’know, it’s a service dog…” (winks)
Me: “Look, I’m just saying that Steve…”
Guy: “Hey, I’m real sorry if you got offended, but my dog is in here all the time at lunch, and I’ve had a few beers…”
I love dogs. This dog in particular seemed real sweet. No barking, just gentle curiosity. It’s the owner of the dog that’s the problem. Dogs don’t belong inside a restaurant that’s jammed on a Friday night. Why? Because if they did, and everyone brought their dog at once, it’d be chaos. One person who not only brings in a dog but then lets the dog wander around loose inflicts his presence, by way of his dog, on everyone else who might not necessarily want to interact with him. He has crowned himself royalty compared to the other paying customers. The rules don’t apply to him. He’s special. And it puts everyone in a bind including the wait staff. Worst of all, he’s making his pal the restaurant owner look bad to the customers.
We’ve all made the mistake of inflicting our presence on others when it’s particularly unwelcome and most certainly uneeded. An asshole is someone who’s a habitual offender who makes no attempt to prevent those mistakes from occurring in the future.