Real estate is a term coined to differentiate real property, such as land, houses, condos and the like, from personal propertyclothing, jewelry, china, Beatles albums and other things people own.
One question I have about real estate is this; whose is it, really? I ask because I've noticed some disturbing yard signage recently as I walk my dogs, Pete and Happy. For those interested in dogs, Pete waddles along resembling a prize-winning hog wearing a Border collie costume and weighs in at a buck and a quarter, while Happy lopes about the street and could be confused for an emaciated, albino coyote.
These dogs and their ancestors have been inhabitants of this area for millions of years, long before there were people and dwellings. Realizing that it's actually we who are trespassing on the land that's rightfully owned by the dog population, it's annoying when people have the audacity to place signs in their lawns forbidding dogs from taking dumps in their yards. Has any dog anywhere, even a pit bull, ever once lifted a paw against a person relieving himself in any manner whatsoever? The answer is a resounding "no."
My dog Happy could win a gold medal in the pummel horse competition at the Olympics. For him to get his bowels moving, he has to sniff a bit and then begins his routinethat is, twirling his body while balancing on two legs, his head stylistically poised, his waist taut, and his tail pointed and erect. After six spins, he begins a rhythmic release of his waste. It would be criminal to interrupt such art in motion.
Some of these yard signs are barbaric to the point that they describe the punishment to be inflicted on crapping canines. One sign even threatens execution. The hypocrisy, discrimination and bias are alarming. These land barons act as if a half-pound of pooch's brown will deface the property.
Yet they're not squeamish about squirrels squatting and squirting their dung all over the yard. I have yet to see Imodium or Pepto-Bismol tablets in a squirrel feeder. Have you ever seen a squirrel up close? They're rats with longer, fluffier tails. And what about cute little bunnies? Long known for their reproduction capabilities, I'm sure they urinate and defecate more than they procreate.
Has a dog ever climbed onto a car and splattered its diarrheic slop upon the windshields and hood? Every day thousands of birds, some with West Nile virus, fly through the air dripping droppings and dropping drippings on buildings, cars and humanity. I once had a bird bomb me, and the next six people I saw told me it was good luck to have fallen victim to falling bird debris. I want to meet the birds' public relations person.
Someday I'd like to embed a camera-toting reporter in a random yard and record the bird blasts throughout the day. Shown at fast speed, it would look like a bad night in Baghdad.
The most bizarre example of this obsessive idiocy was in a suburb in West Nashville. As I pulled into the front yard to show a house, I noticed a warning to dogs not to even think about so much as lifting a leg (as if dogs can read). Upon entering the abode, my client noticed the pungent stench of cat urine. The scent was ubiquitous and fierce. With tears streaming from our eyes and nauseous stomachs, we discovered the litter box in the kitchen. It should be noted that there was a child's bedroom in close proximity.
So: the homeowners didn't want puppy poop in their front yard, way out there by the street, but they didn't care if their kid crawled around in feline feces? The room in which they prepared their food and ate their meals included a cat urinal. Litter is trash such as bottles, cans and wrappers. That's not litter in that box. That's sand drenched in cat pee, and even worse, sometimes there are even cat turds.
What these dog-poop-haters fail to realize is that in the not-so-distant past, there were animals laying loads that were themselves larger than the dog of today. That's why our soil is so fertile. Soil loves manure.
I think reparations are in order. We should give the dogs their land back. At least a six-foot easement along the street. There are, after all, ingress/egress easements. Why not one for the pooches?
Richard Courtney is the Scene's real estate columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.