b Papa Dog's Blog: Mama Dog's Wish Is My Command

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mama Dog's Wish Is My Command

One of the advantages of being a hoarder...when you need to find something, you have a vague idea where it might be. Mama Dog wished she had left her blog up so that I could reprint her old post about Mr. Murphy as a comment. Naturally, I had her entire archive handy, and rather than making it a comment, I figured I'd just repost for her. So here's what Mama Dog had to say about Mr. Murphy on Wednesday, February 09, 2005.

Crazy Boob-Touching Man

Mr. Murphy is this senile, eighty-something, African American man who lives around the corner from us. When we first moved into our house about 3.5 years ago, we noticed that Mr. Murphy would frequently stand in front of our house and talk to it, as though it were a person. During these conversations, he'd use his cane to punctuate certain points, often laughing, as though he were reminiscing with the house about a funny incident that had happened a long time ago. We could never understand more than a few words of monologue (due to a heavy southern accent combined with sloppy, dentured diction), but one sentence fragment that we'd hear repeatedly was, "I been workin' 'round the worl'." Mr. Murphy was sort of like that old blind man on the RR tracks at the beginning and end of O Brother, Where Art Thou: the "oracle" who predicted that Ulysses P. McGill and friends would one day encounter a cow on a barn roof. Only less intelligible.

One morning, shortly after moving in, I ran into Mr. Murphy while leaving the house for my morning dog walk. Like a good neighbor, I held out my hand to introduce myself. My first clue that this guy was a bit tetched: he didn't 'let go! I was stuck holding Mr. Murphy's crusty, old, hand for many seconds beyond my comfort level and started to get twitchy. And, being slightly germ-phobic, I couldn't help but imagine the unsavory things that Mr. Murphy might have touched before grabbing my hand: Maybe he had just whacked off! Maybe he hadn't washed his hands after wiping his ass! Oh, the germs one can imagine!

He said to me: "Well, looky dere, looky dere! Heh heh, goin' t'work again, workin' 'round the 'worl'... Been workin' 'round the worl', yeah, hooo hooo! Yeah, oh boy..." I managed to pull my hand away, but then he did something truly surprising: he poked me in the boob with his finger and said, "Oooh, you one fine lady! Heh heh, you phat!" (Luckily, I was wearing my Osh Kosh B'Gosh overalls, which featured a thick bib that covered my rack, thereby making it impossible for a proper feel to be copped.) Horrified, I said: "Yes, good day, then," grabbed my dog, and trotted along in a huff. After that incident, Papa Dog and I started calling Mr. Murphy the "Crazy Boob Touching Man." (Our friend Ambrose later shortened it to "The Boob Toucher. ")
A few months later, we met our neighbors to the south, whose family has lived on the block since the nineteen-fifties. They knew Mr. Murphy well and explained to us that he used to be sweet on Mrs. Madison, the woman who used to own our house but had since passed away. This explained the odd, cane-pointing monologues outside of our house: he was talking to HER, not to our house! We also learned that Mr. Murphy used to work in construction and had labored on many of the Bay Area's freeways and bridges during his younger days. Hence, "workin' 'round the worl'. It all made sense now.

Fast forward to earlier this week. I was taking Baby Dog out to the car, holding her in my arms, and along came Mr. Murphy. Baby Dog, being the devastatingly attractive baby that she is, immediately drew the attention of the crusty, old codger who was halfway down the block. Upon eyeing me and Baby Dog, he turned on his heel and sauntered over to us. "Dat baby sho is phat!" he said. "Heh heh, lookit dat pretty, phat baby!" (Maybe he meant "fat," but I preferred to think that he'd picked up the urban vernacular of his grandchildren.) I said: "Yes, this is Baby Dog" to him. Then, the wrinkled, old hands started reaching forward, toward Baby Dog, and I was thinking: "Oh please, no, don't touch her!" Too late. He started fondling her Baby Dog's pajama-clad arm (okay), then her bare hand (not okay!). With this, Baby Dog became visibly anxious and began recoiling away from Mr. Murphy, burrowing her head into my arm's crook. I then said, "Okay, we're going now. Have a good day!" and quickly whisked the baby into the car. I made a mental note to sanitize her hands with a baby wipe when we arrived at our destination.

Mr. Murphy is a nice old coot, but man, he's got to learn to keep his filthy mitts of my baby!


Post a Comment

<< Home