I hate busybodies. I suppose it’s because that of all the hypocrisies we’re guilty of at times throughout our lives, being a busybody has never been one of them, for me. I loathe them so because I can do so guiltlessly; because the farthest thing from my substantial sphere of interests are those ridiculous values and actions of others that cause me no harm.

Most laws are a product of busybodyism, designed to make people stupid. Don’t think about what you’re doing and its effect on yourself and others. Don’t exercise reason. Just recall the law—and behave.

At about 7 a.m. this morning, I was on the last 200 yards of a 3-mile walk with Rotor, my 16 lb. rat terrier. Now, because a good portion of that walk is along avenues of varying activity in the morning, I have Rotor on a leash. It’s not that he doesn’t mind well, and he’s never aggressive with other people. It’s that he’s a dog, after all—a man-created, selectively bread derivative of the wolf—and wolves didn’t evolve in concrete jungles with 2-ton vehicles whizzing by. Rotor loves other dogs—virtually all other dogs—and when he sees them, he loses himself in excitement. So, good stewardship demands that I take responsibility for his safety.

But once we get to the last leg of the walk through the grass fields of the local high school, and then down two residential streets to home, I take Rotor off the leash. I’ve been doing this every morning, religiously, for two years. Back to that last 200 yards. There’s another guy about my age or older walking his dog, on leash, in the opposite direction. Rotor, as he always does, greets this guy’s dog (as dogs do). It’s important to note that had Rotor been on a leash, it would have made no difference. They still would have greeted each other.

And…this was all very friendly. No growling or snarling. Just, you know…sniffing.

I saw it in his eyes. I knew it was going to come out of the f___er’s mouth before he even opened it. “You should have him on a leash.”

Now, do you grasp why he said that, other than that he’s a stupid shit? He said it because he had no reason by which to admonish me to leash the dog, such as my dog harassing him or his dog—in which case, my only response should have been a sincere apology and acquiescence to his just demand—and not because of the leash law, but because of the plain ethics of the situation at hand. Instead, in such moment, he abrogated his status as a man and became a dumb robot capable only of regurgitating some arbitrary, do-gooder law for no reason other than to put me on the defensive for what motive I don’t honestly know.

Of course, he didn’t receive the response he’s likely used to, which would probably amount to some form of embarrassed submission. Instead, I treated him to a harsh and obscene tongue lashing unlike any he has recent memory of.

Intuit this. We’ve lived on this street for six years and know everyone on it. During these six years, Rotor has played, off leash, on every homeowner’s lawn on this street, and to every homeowner’s delight and welcome. For two years I’ve been walking down this street, my street, and on this day, some numbskull whom I’ve never laid eyes on in my life comes along to inform me of some arbitrary law I don’t give one damn wit about, and I’m supposed to be anything but openly hostile?

Right. Not now; not ever.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.

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