Fido’s Mark

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“Hey Dawg #2, I’m Dawg #1. This is MY territory. Now scram!”

Dogs are great unless you end up on the incisored and business end of a K-9 unit. They’re man’s best friend until Fido mistakes your pant leg for a tire that he wants to mark. They’re fun to have around until they get a taste of blood and start attacking 40 or 50 of a guy’s uninsured baby calves. I’ve endured two of the three experiences listed. Which would you guess?

I’m a cowboy who learned the hard way. Trying to chase down a pack of blood-thirsty mongrels with a 12-guage shotgun while hobbling along on crutches and a full-length leg cast is something shared in the book that I never want to experience again.

So what’s your other guess?

A blog is so much easier to deal with than a cop and his growling German Shepard, a wet pant leg or expensive and primo livestock getting torn up by rabid dogs.

Unlike all the other enterprises I’ve tried, if people don’t like what I blog, I don’t have to grovel and apologize. The customer is no longer king. Free at last!

Blogging is different. N0w, I don’t have to give my readers their money back when they’re not completely happy! I just press the post button and walk away.

A blog? You run it. A business? It runs you.

I plugged away at the tire business for 25 + years. Running your own tire business had some positives but the down side was always present in spades. At least the way I did it.

Admittedly, a few of these problems were my own fault…Ok, most of them were my fault. I guess the basic problem was the fact that I am just not all that good of a manager. I’m more of an idea guy and just don’t have the organization skills to keep all the loose ends tied up. We all have our pros and cons. I do much better now that I’m out of the tire store.

I haven’t even talked about the biggest problem of all when working on tires. And I don’t think I should take any of the blame for this one. What is it?

It’s the dreaded marking of each tire on  every vehicle that rolled down the road and into my tire store parking lot. The problem is so out of sight, out of mind, most folks have never considered this aspect.

Millions of tires are marked daily. Again and again. It is dogkind’s way of paying us back for making them eat table scraps and always ride in the back of the pickup.

Among other things, a tire guy’s gig requires him to check air pressures, rotate, change, balance and repair a literal ton of customer tires each day.  In the span of my tire life, I have probably rubbed up against a hundred thousand or more tires, usually with a customer-friendly smile on my face since the customer is always king.

But looking back, if I had really thought about this at the time, I wouldn’t be smiling. Busy and multi-tasking, I invariably forgot about the fact that approximately 100% of the tires I was airing, changing, and repairing had been peed on by multiple dogs trying to mark and remark their territory. Unmarked tires became extinct the moment Henry Ford pulled his first Model A out of the garage and parked next to the dog house.

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“Can you rotate my tires before you go to lunch please?”

I had a lot of pressure and stress back in those days. The workload often caused me to skip meals or eat on the run. Consumed by the job, I often forgot or didn’t have time to wash my hands before devouring lunch. Therefore, portions of Lassie and her friend’s liquid relievings rubbed off on my contaminated digits which were then transferred directly to my vittles during chow time. Perhaps this is why I often found myself barking at my employees.

For some reason, as soon as I got out of the tire-handling business, Michele’s sandwiches began tasting different. They were almost kinda bland, like she had forgotten something.

Easing into Ben’s Tire in 1977, trying to ease out of Ben’s Tire at the beginning of 2004 and finally terminating it with a bang and a whimper at the end of that same year, I haven’t touched a tire since.

There are pro’s and con’s to my situation. Lunch is not as tasty as it once was. My hands seem less yellow. My wife doesn’t recoil every time I get around her now. (In fact, in retrospect, it’s pretty amazing that we had 6 kids, all while I was in the tire business.) The old immune system doesn’t have to work nearly as hard as it did back in the days when Fido was putting his two cents on every GR78x15 I sold. One last effect I’ve noticed: I no longer feel like barking at every stranger I meet.

So now I do nothing but write. My hands are clean and my sandwiches are basically blase’.

Speaking of former nasty meals, I had a once-in-a-lifetime mouse doo-doo snack attack a few years back. It’s recounted in the book if you want documentation. And because of this singular event, I always enjoy the following video that might entertain you with a click on the pic…

This vid is especially great at the 1:13 mark.

Animal, Mouse, Nager, Case, Mousetrap

My goal with this blog is to be more brief and succinct. That’s all for today. Michele is calling me for lunch. Woof Woof!

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