January 23, 2011 – Song 80

A friend was lamenting the other day about writing a cover letter for a job she didn’t even really want. That idea made me laugh because the only jobs I’ve ever gotten from cover letters were jobs I also didn’t really want. I have fell into every job I have ever stuck with, but one in particular has evolved into a real odyssey, over a decade in the making.

This job has brought so many wonderful things to me…friends, music, laughter and opportunities so far beyond the scope of the position itself it sometimes still seems surreal. But there is one little thing that it brought which has altered not just my daily schedule, but my life, forever. Song 80.

I still remember the day, almost ten years ago, when I went into work at the Broadway Reckless a week or so after Thanksgiving. I had been out of town and had missed a recent development in the life of the manager Henry. It seems that Henry’s friend, who I didn’t know*, was walking his dogs in Humboldt Park when a little black pitbull approached them. This little fella was worse for the wear. He was skinny and his coat was matted. He had several marks on him that suggested he had come from a bad scene, the most obvious of which was the missing ring of fur around his neck. It was pretty obvious he had been tied to something, and for a while. He was collarless, there was no one around and it was cold as shit. So Henry’s friend took him home.

The problem was this dude already had three dogs. He kept him for a bit but it was just too much. He called around but all of the shelters warned that they often have to put pitbulls down. He even tried the pit rescue but the waiting list was miles long. There are many things to be proud of in this fair city of ours, but the amount of abandoned dogs who for one reason or another failed to make the fighting cut is proof there are also quite a few things to be ashamed of too. But, don’t you worry, this is the part where Henry comes to the rescue. He agreed to take the pup home until a proper home could be found. Even though he himself had quite a mess of cats.

I didn’t know about any of this that day however. I just walked into work. And there was this little black pup just hanging out. When I stepped behind the counter he came over to sniff me and so I petted him. Then, very gingerly, he sort of stood up and very gently put his paws on me. I had never seen a dog do that before. I still remember laughing as I said “Who’s dog is this?” and Henry looked at me smiling and said “Heeeee could be yours.”

But in my mind he already was.

*Many, many years later I was walking Levee down Division Street when I saw one of the most bizarre things I have ever witnessed making it’s way down the sidewalk towards me. It was this punk rocky looking dude on a skateboard being walking/being pulled by several dogs. And there was literally a group of kids skipping behind him like he was some kind of Pied Piper. As this crazy parade passed it was impossible not to laugh, it was so weird, like a scene out of a modern day fairy tale.

But suddenly, the whole party posse comes to a halt and this dude picks up his skateboard and comes over to me, dogs and children still orbiting around him. He looks shocked. “Where did you get that dog?” he said. And so I tell him. And smiling ear to ear he says “I always wondered where his home was!” We chatted for a moment or two and then he hopped on his skateboard and the whole crew continued on their merry way.

There’s no such thing as magic my eye.

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