A few days ago, New York Times had a brilliant column by Frank Bruni about something that’s been brewing in the back of my mind lately.
The title is: “Death in the Age of Narcissism.”
In it, Bruni describes the distasteful practice of those who would latch on to the recently-deceased’s memorial in order to self-promote.
He could have easily titled his essay “Death and the Age of Narcissism,” because the current trends in narcissism defy the natural half-life, almost like the collecting horcruxes.
I saw this on television, when a news anchor was discussing the death of John McCain.
His co-anchor described a very minor interaction with McCain on the presidential campaign trail.
The offending anchor then went on to describe his experience, which, surprise, ended with no evident connection to McCain at all!
Really?! How much does this guy think that we care to hear about his non-John McCain story?
From the highest echelons of government (President) and entertainment (Madonna), to the lowest forms of social media, it seems that all we really want to talk about is ourselves.
In fact, all we want to think about is ourselves.
Take for instance, the dog poop bag.
You know the one. It is the latest way to deal with doggy doo in public. After Fido does his business, the considerate owner produces a plastic bag from the depths of his/her pockets and bags the poo.
Seems like the antithesis to narcissism, right?
Unless, as is the case, the dog owner then leaves the bagged poop exactly where the offensive pile was.
Now, we’ve got a pile of dog poop bagged for perpetuity.
I brought up this new normal with a dog owner friend of mine as we hiked a park path. I pointed to a bag of poop and asked her why she thought the dog owner left it there.
“They probably are going to pick it up on their way back,” she offered.
“I saw that bag days ago,” I responded.
“Oh, maybe they forgot.”
Forgot? If that’s the case, there’s an awful lot of forgetting going on, as my mother would say.
I counted no less than four bags of poop on my last hike, some of them clearly having been “forgotten” many moons ago.
Going West for Answers
When I got home that day, I decided to research this disturbing new trend.
It seems that the poop bag issue has been the fodder of contention as far back as 2015 on the West Coast, where the offensive habit appears to have started. (Some might say the Age of Narcissism started there, too, but that would be etymologically and historically incorrect)
One commentator went so far as to contact local park authorities to ask about the poop bag problem.
“Yes, we ask dog owners to take the bagged excrement to the nearest trash can,” the park official responded, “it has become a problem.” The official then confirmed that there is no employee charged with poop bag doo-ty.
A poop bag laying on the side of a nature trail is no better than an unadorned pile of poo on a city street corner, and it’s destined to last longer. (Read about my sister-in-law’s experience with kids, dog poop, and modern urban dog ownership here.)
What Can You Doo?
Being considerate means thinking about how your actions affect others, and modifying those actions as necessary to achieve common satisfaction.
What does that mean?
Get your s**t together and dispose of that “doggy bag” properly.
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