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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Jan 13 1999
The (Sad) Story of O.
While Dog Bites has, among friends and acquaintances, a certain reputation as a giver of advice, the advice sought is generally to do with how to get rust stains out of denim, what brand of primer to buy, and whether you can substitute cocoa powder for unsweetened chocolate in a recipe. (Answers: Try muriatic acid; Zinsser 1-2-3 Bullseye; No.)

But in other areas of life, we're sorry to say that asking us is kind of -- well, OK, a lot -- like asking Martha Stewart how to stay married. So we were touched to receive the following letter:

Dear Dog Bites,
While the matter of which I write is to do primarily with an affair of the heart, the, shall we say, collateral circumstances of my dilemma are such that I thought it appropriate to broach the subject with you rather than one of the many sex advice columnists. Although I'm confident Mr. Savage would be able to assuage my concerns as regards penis size and romantic infidelity, I'm hoping you will address the issue with what knowledge and wisdom you've gained in your dealings with both the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project and the Sport Utility Vehicle-Proliferation Fellowship. As you'll see, my situation may very well bear considerable influence upon the mounting conflict between the two factions mentioned above.

My problems began some time ago when my best friend and the woman I was seeing decided to sleep together. The two have continued the affair despite knowing full well a) my strongly held conviction as to the primacy of loyalty and fidelity in any relationship, and b) my proficiency with small arms and explosives. Although I'm not currently speaking with either of them, I am confronted daily by the fact of their treachery since she -- whom I shall call I. -- lives but a block from me, and he -- whom I shall call U. -- insists on parking his car nearby during their dalliances.

I should mention at this point that the neighborhood in which both I. and I live is the Mission. From this you may surmise that U. drives an SUV. Indeed he does: a brand-new, shiny red Jeep.

I should confess that I too am a sport utility vehicle driving young urban professional (a SUVDYUP) and have been following your chronicle of the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project with a great deal of consternation. However, since my betrayal at the hands of two other SUVDYUPs, I've since found myself increasingly drawn to the political agenda put forth by Makhno and his brothers and sisters in arms. As you can well imagine, my conscience is currently torn between, on one hand, the realization of myself as a commodity fetishist, and on the other, the anger and resentment I harbor for the two adulterers I now consider mortal enemies.

In moments of detached reasoning, I'm able to temper my hatred for these two duplicitous SUVDYUPs with the notion that I may be acting out of mere jealousy and envy over the fact that U.'s SUV is larger than mine. Perhaps. However, this does not lessen my conviction that what I. and U. have done is wrong, and it is my belief that the two should pay for their indiscretions. Indeed, as representatives of the corrupt ruling class, they ought to be made examples of. I'm therefore considering the prospects of joining Makhno and his forces, offering my services as one with an extensive knowledge of arms and munitions, as well as a firsthand understanding of the perverse and convoluted mind of the average SUV-driving yuppie.

My defection to the ranks of Makhno's rebels would undoubtedly result in an escalation of conflict in the Mission, however. And I must ask myself: Is the possibility of guerrilla warfare on our streets a price I'm willing to pay in order to avenge myself on those whose greed, selfishness, and narcissism is the cause of such pain as mine?

The question plagues me, and I find myself incapable of taking action. I flounder between my innate tendency towards apathy and my newfound alliance with those oppressed by people with large cars.

Help me, Dog Bites. What should I do?
Sincerely, O.

Dear O.,
Dog Bites does not believe a broken heart is a proper motivation for political activism, particularly political activism that may involve explosives. In fact, based on our personal experience(s) with brokenheartedness, we believe the less you do -- or say -- while in this condition, the better. It is preferable (oh, just for example) to lie in bed with your phone disconnected, semicatatonic and surrounded by partially crumpled home design magazines and cookie crumbs, than to venture out into the world and risk saying something about your ex that could get back to him or her. Even worse, you could experience a public episode of weeping, after which any pretense of carefree singlehood -- for instance, lightheartedly torching a few vehicles -- would be seen as the pathetic, desperate sham it is.

Best wishes,
Dog Bites

P.S. Are you cute?

Ab Fab Babs
Nobody, as far as Dog Bites knows, has ever accused Barbara Kaufman of being self-effacing.

After all, this is the woman who, when sworn into office in 1996 as president of the Board of Supervisors, devoted so much time to talking about herself that she plumb forgot to introduce any of the other new members of the board, and adjourned the meeting.

And two years as president haven't done much to change our Babs.
Last week, as she served as board president for the last time -- Tom Ammiano won presidency this time around -- Kaufman's real estate developer husband, Ron, suddenly popped out of the audience. (This would be the same Ron Kaufman who, during the last election, sent out a letter to his commercial tenants urging them to vote against Ammiano.) Along with their son and daughter, Ron used this time in a public forum to award his wife a family proclamation honoring her tenure as board president.


Y2K: The Rudeness Bug?
When Dog Bites runs out of other things to fret about -- which, admittedly, doesn't happen too often -- we fret about Y2K. So this morning on our way to work we were pleased to see that Macy's annoying digital millennium clock on Union Square (only 300 more shopping days till global meltdown!) had frozen at 354 days, 88 hours, 86 minutes, and 38 seconds. That is, we were pleased, until we realized that the clock's breakdown could well have been caused by an early flare-up of the Y2K bug.

We called Macy's to try to find out how this premillennial crisis was being addressed, and after being put on hold by the press relations department for 12 minutes and finally having to hang up to go attend to something else, we tried calling Divisional Information.

We transcribe the conversation below, as an illustration of the perils faced daily by investigative reporters on the job:

Dog Bites: "Hi, I'm calling from SF Weekly with a question about your millennium clock. I can't get ahold of anyone in your press relations department. Is there someone in your offices I could speak to?"

Snippy Operator: "I really don't know who you would speak to if not the buyer in that department."

Dog Bites: "No, this is about that big clock outside? Over Stockton Street?"
Snippy Operator: "Oh, well excuse me if I didn't know that."
Dog Bites (not enough coffee yet): "I beg your pardon?"
Snippy Operator: (Snorts loudly.)
Dog Bites: "What is your name? You're extremely rude."
Snippy Operator: "My name is Molly -- and that's just your opinion."
Dog Bites: "Um, do you have some kind of a problem?"
Snippy Operator: "No, I don't have a problem. Do you have a problem?"

As told to Laurel Wellman

Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail

About The Author

Laurel Wellman


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