Best in Show

I was riding my bicycle outside of town where, unobstructed by houses and buildings, I could see campaign signs for miles. That’s when I figured out how to fix our broken election system.
I sometimes ride one of those sleek road bikes made for athletes and other recreational crazy persons. My bike is a lower-end model that nevertheless weighs less than my water bottle thanks to technology discarded by NASA for making their spacecraft too light. Yet despite being designed for atmospheric re-entry, the bike fails to withstand the usual cracks and bumps in the road caused by extreme contractor ineptitude. In short, my bike is as finicky as a thoroughbred, only it takes more upkeep. Also, I have to wear inflexible shoes with protruding plastic pieces that padlock me directly to the pedals.

On this particular ride, the shoehorn that doubles as a seat wobbled loose. I pulled onto the shoulder to assess its mechanics with manly stares. When it failed to tighten itself, I calculated whether I should secure the seat with chewing gum, or drag the whole contraption to a shop in town where they knew which one of Allen’s funny-looking screwdrivers to use.
Before I decided, a small car swerved into the only shoulder space free of campaign signs. Evidently, the mud there was too deep even for politicians to mark their territory.

The driver climbed right out of the stuck car – INTO the muck! – and she said, “Rats. I just wanted to let my dog out to pee!”
I wanted to point out that, mere yards away on any side, her dog had a much wider array of targets. He could have highlighted some candidate’s TRUST, or splashed the dash in RE-ELECT. Instead, I offered her my cell to phone a tow truck.
She already had one, but she did not seem the least interested in calling for help. “We can push it out,” she declared.
This was a brilliant idea, and I told her so. But I would be the opposite of help, falling down in the mud with no footing whatsoever. I waggled my cleated feet as evidence.

“So why don’t I get in the car,” I offered gallantly, “and you push!”
I laid my bike on the ground – which probably decalibrated a derailleur or bent a coaxial flange tooth or otherwise crippled my steed – and pranced over the mud to wedge myself into a front seat more cramped than most iron maidens.
Turned out, the squeeze was so tight because I was sitting halfway atop a disgruntled, full-bladdered dachshund.
Now, some dogs will growl at or attack anyone who isn’t Their Human. But this pup understood that I was here to rescue his fair mistress. He scuttled to the passenger seat and observed my operation of the clutch and those other two whatchamacallits, masterful even with clunky bicycle feet. Though the damsel put forth a doughty effort worthy of 10 Clydesdales, her car would have remained marooned without my subtle yet crafty steering. Within 15 minutes, I had rescued her – and her little dog, too.
She tried to thank me, but a hero needs no gratitude. I sped into the sunset, lest the car get stuck again before my bike seat fell off completely. Even Batman knows better than to hang around.

But enough about my chivalry. The point is, we could improve our national and local politics alike if we stopped taking baseless potshots at politicians. We should rather judge them entirely by their dogs.

I have petsitted for enough people to know that animals take on the neuroses of their humans. This is not always a bad thing. Look at the dachshund in the car. He was alert, comfortable and trusting of a noble stranger. This tells me that I can trust his human. I would take candy from this woman, without knowing so much as her name, based on the sole fact that the dog showed zero interest in poisoning me.
Sure, with politicians, there is always a risk. Dogs, much like spouses, can be sent to obedience school and chosen purely for their photogenetics. However, dogs tend to act much more like vice-presidential candidates than spouses. They will do ANYTHING on camera, especially if it’s precisely what they shouldn’t do.

This is exactly how we can glimpse the true character of The Only Candidate for (insert position here) Who Isn’t Satan, unmasked by plastic surgeons and other hardened campaign strategists. We as a nation may not know the first thing about Syrian rebels, but BY GOD do we know how to criticize other people’s dogs!

In addition, we could boil complex political ideologies down to simple debate-style questions: “Whooza good girl? Huh? Huh? That’s right! And whooza good boy?”

I speak for dogkind – and all write-in spaces on your ballot – when I answer, “I am.”

Zach Hively