Thursday, August 23, 2012

How I could just bite a man

A few months back, my dog bit an old gringo in Granada, a colonial city in Nicaragua popular with old gringos, many of whom one can't help but think are here largely because there's no extradition treaty with the United States. I don't want to spin this: it was bad thing. My dog, the cuddly bastard, was a very bad dog. A very bad dog.


The thing is, my dog is maybe 20 pounds soaking wet -- and given a choice in the matter, he'd never be soaking wet because, while he puts on a tough act, large bodies of water frighten the little guy. Though he has a big dog's bark, he does not have the bite to actually back it up. Like a canine Victor Davis Hanson, but with less metaphorical blood on his paws.

So while, again, my dog biting an old man can't be spun as an okay thing to do, in my opinion a bite from a little Lhasa Apso that doesn't so much as leave a mark didn't warrant the response it received: the old gringo screaming "you fucking asshole" at me over and over in the middle of a crowded cafe. A curt "watch your fucking dog, man"? Yeah sure, that's fine. I get it. Let the steam out and let's move on.

Now, as a person who sometimes struggles with embracing deescalation tactics when I'm personally involved in a conflict -- follow me on Twitter! -- I probably didn't handle the situation as well as I should have. Already having a strong bias against all the old creepy white men in Nicaragua whose legions I am destined to someday join, I decided quoting the breed profile back to the man would be a fun thing to do: "He probably bit you because he's a very good judge of character," I said. "He could probably tell you're a shitty person." I believe I also made an ageist comment regarding hips and the relative chance of my breaking mine compared to him breaking his.

Was I right to say that? No, of course not. Did it feel right saying it? Of course it did.

And that brings me to something that, thanks to the mental clarity provided by Flor de Caña, hit me last night like a bag full of Lhasa Apsos: this guy is my new neighbor in San Juan del Sur -- "new" as in I've been living right next to him for the past month now. This perhaps explains why I have not been able to get so much as an "hola" from him. As I told my dog after I got home from the bar, equipped with an ephiphany and a buzz: at dawn we finish this.


  1. Anonymous11:57 AM

    Oh, geeze, Charles. You got some weird, weird karma, man.


    ps. hugs to the pup.

  2. So, a real bite that broke the skin, or a nip?

    If a dog bit me hard enough to break the skin, I'd probably cuss up a storm, too. No matter how small and cute the dog was. That shit hurts.

    Back in my canvassing days, I worried more about meeting up with small dogs because owners were less inclined to restrain them for some reason. (Of course, there was also the time I saw some asshole beating his dog. I don't miss canvassing at all.)

  3. ms_xeno,

    There wasn't so much as a mark. Not saying it's okay behavior -- dude's a once-neglected rescue, so I cut him some slack -- but I do believe a disproportionate response violates Just Reprimand theory.

  4. Welcome back to Nicaragua! Now go out with your bad-ass pup and harass the old pervs in Granada hahaha.

  5. Understood, Charles. My cat (also a rescue) loves to knaw on my hand when I pet him, but he's never actually broken any skin with his teeth. (He has claws for that purpose.)

  6. You have the cutest damn dog. I love that he's badly behaved.

    It's a good thing I love you Charles; otherwise I'd point out the many ways in which you are 100% in the wrong. As unreliable a narrator as you are here, I still can't imagine anyone with any manners taking your side.

    If you want me to explain just ask.

    I still love your dog. And you.

  7. I think it's also worth noting the average Nicaraguan's response when this happened, which it did two or three times in the two years I was living in Central America: laughter, complimented with a swift leg-centric direct action if need be. By contrast, the white man being a white man Asked To Speak To The Manager and got me and my misunderstood ball of furry fury out of the cafe. Gringos.

    On another note, I just brought this dog back with me on a plane sans kennel -- you'd be surprised what you can get away with if you just pretend you're not trying to get away with anything -- and he was an absolute fucking angel, so he ain't that bad. I actually sort of believe that "good judge of character" line.

  8. Bad luck drawing him as a neighbor. There nothing left to do but mend fences with him. Anything else is fraught with risk. He's your neighbor. I make it a point to not interact with my neighbors at all if I can help it, lest my superpower (angering people) get me into trouble.

  9. Anonymous2:27 AM

    When taking that maneater for walks in LA, you might want to consider this:

  10. Anonymous5:05 PM


    Once again you act as if you have some worth to this world. Look, your dog is not a bad dog, it is simply an extension of your personality. But, at least the dog tries to act out for itself, instead of writing endless drivel across the internet. At least the dog doesn't make endless statements and then retract them in the same sentence.

    The 'old guy' should have kicked your 135lb wimpy ass. He should have killed your yip dog. That would have been interesting to witness.

    Take care

  11. Anonymous,

    I'm 155 pounds.

  12. if your dog bit me i would have kicked it across the room and told you to watch your dog as well. maybe it needs a muzzle.

    if my dog bit someone, i would apologize profusely, as it sounds like you should have.