I’m not Punchy

Ever since I was bit by the cujo-pekingese, I run with pepper spray. Hopefully I will never have to spray a dog (or coyote), but if it comes down to a choice between my ass and Cujo; sorry PETA. I choose my ass. Dog bites hurt, and the effects of the bite last longer than those of pepper spray.

That said, I recently had to replace my pepper spray and I popped into our neighborhood Walmart. After several minutes of looking around for pepper spray I asked the two twenty-ish guys behind the gun counter…

Me: Do Y’all have mace or pepper spray?
Walmart Guy 1: Ya mean like bear mace?
Me: Uh, like dog mace.

Keep in mind, we are in the suburbs of the Florida Panhandle, not the forests of Alaska. Looking back, this is where I made my first mistake; I over-shared.

Walmart Guy 2: You’re gonna mace a dog ma’am? Why you gonna mace a dog?
Me: Oh. Well, I don’t plan to use it. I just run a lot so I like to carry it for safety, and because I’ve been bit before.
WG 1: You gonna carry mace when you run? For dogs?
(WG1 and WG2 chuckle)
Me: Uh, yeah. I’ve been doing it for years. Fortunately I haven’t had to spray a dog though.

I’m running through my neighborhood; not the Iditarod. And this is where I made my second mistake: I should have walked away.

Me: So, do you have any pepper spray or mace?
WG 1: No. We don’t got any.
WG 2: I’m not sure where you can buy it. But you know, one time my cousin was being attacked by a pit bull and he punched it in the face. And it quit killin’ him.
WG 1: No kidding? Oh man. How did he do that?
WG 2: (getting down on his knees to demonstrate) Well there is this here soft spot on the dogs head (and he illustrates on the imaginary dog) and he just laid into him (he punches air, several times and grunts).
WG 1: Ma’am, that’s all you’d have to do ya know, you could just punch that pit bull in the head. You don’t need to carry no mace or nothing.

WTF? Am I in a Deliverance Bubble? Maybe I’m watching too much Fringe…? It seemed to happen real fast, like a blur. Before I knew it one boy was on his knees punching an imaginary dog in front of the camping equipment, and the other boy was hovering over him, giving me a pep-talk, telling me I could do it, and showing me how to feel for the soft spot on the imaginary dog. I remember wondering: do these boys have mothers? What in the Hell kind of women do these boys date? And how do they treat their animals?

It was like a train wreck; I knew I shouldn’t look; I knew I should run; I damn sure knew I shouldn’t participate; but I couldn’t turn away. Eventually I managed to compose myself and utter a few words…

Me: Uh. Yeah. Great idea. I should have thought of that. Thanks guys.

And I power walked my way to the coffee isle (on the other side of the store).

As I was picking out K-cups a customer interrupted my (PTSD) thoughts.

Oh God. Please. No. I’m done for the day. I can’t take anymore batshit-crazy, I’m full-up for the day. And the next time I come to this f&%king Walmart, I’m wearing my communion cross.

But this guy was normal; apparently he witnessed the bizarre incident on the floor by the guns in the camping section, and he identified himself as a Sheriff’s department employee. Mr. Normal told me where I could buy pepper spray, and he added that he wouldn’t recommend I punch a pit bull in the face. That I should just aim to spray a little bit, on the dog’s nose. Yeah, I sort of agreed. Thanks Mr.Normal. Now you and I should both RUN before their crazy spreads like a disease.

And to WG1 and WG2, now that I’ve half-way absorbed my experience today (read: ran 5.34 miles and processed it) I’d like you to know: I’m a Florida girl. My instinct is to NOT punch. When I see a bug I spray it, or kill it with an iPhone. When I see a snake I scream, and Hubs deals with it; or I drive over it a lot. When I see a dog, I scream very loud and say a lot of four-letter words, and let it bite me. Hopefully next time I’ll spray the dog; if I have pepper spray.

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