Joco Diversions

Germ cop steps in it again, and it’s an artful discovery

The Sheriff would like to remind all puppy parents to keep the streets clean. It’s the law.
The Sheriff would like to remind all puppy parents to keep the streets clean. It’s the law. Special to The Star

Babysitting the grand-dog has enriched my life immensely. Aside from feeling the inevitable joy of canine-human bonding, becoming Sheriff’s occasional buddy has taught me some practical life skills. For instance, one must always have one sharp eye on the ground, especially around areas where other puppies prance.

Though I follow the rules about keeping our ZIP code clean when doggie nature calls, not everyone does. I don’t keep count, but there are enough cavalier piles out there to add stress to any walk. And because of this disturbing level of lawless pet maintenance, I was due for another shoe splat.

In my latest misadventure, I was enjoying a serene morning walk with Sheriff. He was sniffing around some common area grass in my subdivision until the moment a nearby car backfired. The sound made him bolt in an unexpected direction, causing me to step backward.

Leash entanglement was the only thing I avoided, though, as I soon blurted out the word which precisely described what I had stepped in.

Aggravating as this is for all humans, stepping into another dog owner’s abandoned responsibility is especially traumatic for my phobic alter ego, Germ Cop.

I am Germ Cop, triple-washer of triple-washed salads, hoarder of all products in the Purell genre, brave elbow-outer of every public restroom door.

You can imagine my agonizing hobble back home. At the scene of the crime I tried to re-deposit as much sludge as I could on the already contaminated grass - what I call the blasphemous foot drag - ut waffle-soled shoes are all about bringing home the souvenir.

I’m certain every home security camera I passed on the journey back to my driveway revealed an updated series of Edvard Munch’s famous “Scream” painting. That agonized look remained on my face as I spent the next 35 minutes restoring my shoe to its former state. It really did take 35 minutes, because I timed it. Germ Cop is thorough.

This is not the first time I’ve discussed this kind of unnecessary mishap here. But now I’ve refined the cleaning method. Behold the best multi-step way to save your sole:

  1. Stop at front door. Remove unfortunate shoe.

  2. Take a deep breath, but not too deep. You know why.

  3. Retrieve the following supplies from indoors:

  4. Shallow pan of soapy water for intermittent soaking.

  5. Narrow stick to clean dominant waffle pattern.

  6. Toothpicks, because cruel shoe designers include narrow ridges within the waffles.

  7. Infinite anti-microbial wipes.

  8. Rubber gloves. (Yes, yes, yes.)

  9. Earbuds tuned to the French Café Pandora station.

That last step offers a plot twist to Germ Cop’s cleaning method, but it’s just as important as the gloves.

Back story: I was so furious about the situation I forgot to remove my earbuds. By happenstance I learned nothing can suppress rage like some ambient La Vie en Rose and a sultry version of The Girl From Ipanema. (The latter tune has nothing to do with a French café, per se, but as I was listening, I wondered when The Girl walks, does she see…the peril?)

Anyway, as my gloved hands toiled in the unpleasantness and my face was still a frozen Munch painting, part of my imagination was gliding down the Seine River. And another part along some (hopefully clean) street in Ipanema.

I’m still angry some dog walkers are so careless, but what a discovery. Music to sanitize by! Art is often what gets us through life, folks.

Reach Denise Snodell at or on Twitter @DeniseSnodell