The great mascota civil war has once again broken out in my little fishing village by the sea.
For some reason, something happens each year to upset one of the visiting tourists when some blue-haired lady finds pleasure in bringing her little Muffy Maltese to dinner at one of our eateries. Dog and companion look lovingly into the other’s eyes and often share bites of the pollo mole off the same fork.
The offended party gets a bit overstimulated and starts venting on the local message board (because these are the type of discussions we can never have directly with one another) comparing the scene to Chapter 17 of Revelation. Or, at least, of the end of culinary hygiene. Terms like “dining with livestock” are launched like ICBMs.
To be answered with a barrage of “NOB fascism” and “go back where you came from.” (Though that last one always causes a good deal of confusion. Not unlike those lewd comments that are more confusing for their physical impossibility than their reflection of a rather stunted social maturity.)
I usually do not get involved in this annual round of fun and games. Not only because the tone of the conversation has devolved to school yard insults (and everyone else has used all of my name-calling phrases) by the time I notice the thread. The big reason is simple: I don’t have a dog in this fight.
I once did, of course. The good Professor Jiggs. Or, at least, the late Professor Jiggs.
When I first moved to Mexico, I often brought The Professor with me when I dined out. I almost always picked an outside table and PJ settled underneath to sleep.
Back then, I never gave much thought to taking him along. It was more like taking an elderly, dying relative to dinner. And no one ever said a thing.
Of course, I was beguiled by my own ideology. Even though Mexico is politically about as far from libertarianism as a soul can be, the philosophy seems to be lived out each day in Mexican society. At least, on the beach.
It finally occurred to me one day to ask the owner of the restaurant I patronized if he objected to Jiggs’s presence. At first, he was reluctant to answer. In true non-confrontational Mexican style, he said: “I would prefer you didn’t.”
Over the years, as I have come to know him better, his reluctance has disappeared. He now refers to dogs in his restaurant as the equivalent of bringing in a goat.
So, why doesn’t he say anything? For the same reason he says nothing when smokers light up. He needs the income from tourists. And, for him, dogs do not top the list of tourist eccentricities. Some of his stories are hilarious.
I will not enter the doggy fray. The tourists can fight their own Antietams with one another. I am happy in my own private Switzerland.