"Excuses are the nails that build the house failure."

Paul Bunyan's Beard

Missing Pets/Missing Persons:  The Milk Chronicles

Missing Pets/Missing Persons: The Milk Chronicles

Got Milk? Got a Conscience? Got a Flashlight?

Today’s entry found inspiration in an age-old neighborhood cry for help: the missing pet sign. It truly is an ill-fated circumstance I would hope most folks never have to experience; that is unless of course you own a cat, or God forbid, more than one of those rotten little introverted pieces of shit. Furthermore, if you happen to allow any number (not equal to zero) of those beasts roaming privileges throughout your home you may want to stop reading this article. I will not hold back on my feelings toward cats or the people who choose to keep them as companions. They do the devil’s work.

Regardless of my entirely justifiable feelings targeted toward felines, we have more pressing subjects to tackle this evening. Let’s take a silly angle aimed at missing pets, and even cross a line to put a dim spotlight on the dismal 1980’s ‘Milk Carton Kids’ campaign, which was as useless as tits on a boar. Ironic considering tits produce milk, yet a campaign plastered on milk cartons with a sole purpose of assisting to track down missing children yielded next to zero results (supposedly in all the years the campaign was active one child had been found as a result of her face being place on local milk cartons). Suck some of that sweet O2 into your system and relax. We have made no room for making light of missing children in the past or present, rather we’d like to chastise the failed project and why the entire notion was preposterous, as only the Axe can.

So once upon a few weeks ago I found myself taking a pleasant stroll through one of our adjoining neighborhoods. The weather was calm and cool enough to be deemed comfortable, and as you can tell alliteration was thick in the air that day. As I drifted from block to block I came upon a paper beacon of hope stapled to a light post. It appeared as though some poor soul in the general vicinity had lost a pet, and that pet was a cat. At that moment I had experienced both pity and frustration simultaneously; pity for the unlucky chap who had lost something he loved, yet frustration because the thing he loved was a fucking cat. I took a picture of the ad, not to call this person in the event I came across the cat, mind you; rather to use the picture as my launching pad for this entry. And let’s be honest with ourselves folks. That sign looked fairly weathered. The chances that I had come across that sign within the first 48 hours of that feline going MIA were slim to Fancy Feast. Moreover, if we’re all lucky then that fury little turd burglar was mauled by a fox or gang raped by a passel, which I found out is the proper plural pronunciation for the opossum. Did I mention I loathe cats? If I did I’m not entirely sure I’d done it properly. Here’s a classic scene from a classic Indian Jones movie (none of this Crystal Skull shit) where I envision cats taking the place of Nazis. Oh, don’t worry. The perfect substitution is never lost on me. Cats = Nazis.

Feline foolishness aside, this particular sign bothered me; it then planted and sprouted a seed within my mind which germinated and grew, consuming my thoughts throughout the duration of my walk.

I’d like to start with the first characteristic I noticed, which happened to bother me the most. The sign staring back at me was laminated. Now I get it, you’re thinking “What’s the big deal? If you think about it that’s actually a very practical solution to a sign which spends its time outdoors among the elements.” To that observation I’d typically have no worthy rebuttal. A laminated sign would absolutely be protected against rain, snow, sleet, and the tears of a loved one….HOWEVER….

I mentioned the 48 hour rule earlier in our story. If that sign’s still hanging we are in a time crunch people! For every hour someone or something goes missing we lose percentage points relating to the discovery of the victim. Here’s where the laminated sign miffs me a bit. If you’re TRULY concerned with finding your misplaced pet then how in the hell do you have time to get missing pet signs LAMINATED?! The chances of you owning a God damn personal lamination station have to be lower than me NOT dancing when I hear the soundtrack to Footloose. Come on. Kick off the Sunday shoes and cut loose. Can you appreciate where I’m coming from? Laminating any number of signs would take a critically long time to accomplish. You mine as well pick out an urn while you’re at FedEx because your fury friend is a GONER. I only mention FedEx because I have no idea where else you might acquire laminating services. Furthermore, I wasn’t aware people were still laminating paper! I’m currently jogging my memory for the last time I might have headed out into the wild requesting laminating services and the only answer I can come up with is NEVER. I understand that laminating still happens, yet I’m struggling with the notion that laminating still happens, especially in a situation involving a lost animal. Wouldn’t your time be better spent wrangling up as many equally concerned neighbors as possible to collectively comb the streets searching for your precious bundle of love?

Sure, a laminated sign tells me you care enough about your pet to give that informational sign some longevity out in the open, however you’ve also told me you care just as much about presentation. Are you an elementary school art teacher? That assumption would make sense if you own a cat; it does NOT make sense if urgency is of the utmost importance.

While we’re on the topic of signs, let’s dive into the content of these advertisements. What’s with pet owners blatantly lying to us? Allow me to explain. These harlots reek of desperation, and while I cannot blame them, I’d appreciate an honest assessment of their pet’s personality. Don’t tell me Buster willingly responds to his name being called, loves tossing a tennis ball around, and never ever lashes out with aggression, ESPECIALLY when confronted by a stranger. I prefer to know if my approach needs to err more on the side of caution. Do I really need a tennis ball in one hand and a treat in the other? Or would I be better equipped with a net and tranquilizer gun? Remember folks, our pets are essentially prisoners. Think what you want, but we slap honing collars on them, feed them on OUR schedule, and keep them behind a fence. Sound familiar? Of course it does, because I just described a prisoner. Keeping that in mind, do you see prison wardens tossing missing prisoner signs all around town when a convict goes missing? Well, yes and no. Of course that story hits the news quicker than a child racing down the stairs on Christmas morning, but you don’t see that warden painting a picture of love and understanding. Usually the words armed and dangerous come on the heels of an escaped convict announcement. He knows he’s not fooling anyone by putting out a sign that ridiculous.

“Attention! Missing prisoner. Robert Jablonski. For some reason goes by the name Diamond Dave. Last seen wearing an orange jumpsuit. Responds submissively when constantly thwacked with a wooden baton. Do NOT turn your back on him as he views this gesture as a sign of weakness. He will attempt to sodomize you without remorse. Best to stare him down and tell him you know where his mother lives. That should subdue the subject. Has an affinity for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches accompanied by a tall glass of warm milk.”

Now that’s just silly, but perhaps a page from a book you pet owners should read. Try editing that fluffed up horseshit you call a sign.

“Missing cat! Goes by the name Little Shit, because that’s exactly what she is. I’m surprised I even noticed the damn thing was missing considering I never see it around the house. Up to this point I was convinced she hated me. Well, the feeling’s mutual now. FYI, I haven’t clipped her nails in over 4 years so please be prepared to lose some arm skin. Come to think of it, you might be best served walking around with a sack full of nickels just in case you feel it necessary to put her down. If you find her I suppose you can give me a call, however I’m just going to lock her in a cage to live out her remaining years living off of stale bread and rainwater.”

There. That looks a bit more accurate, albeit far-fetched. Either way, give us an accurate rundown of the pet who managed to break free from the chains.

And would you look at that! The beauty of taking multiple days to write an article bears fruit! I sit here in one of my favorite local coffee shops polishing up this entry. Said shop happens to be in the exact same neighborhood mentioned earlier in this story. As I sauntered on over to get my coffee I noticed that the laminated sign in question is STILL OUT THERE. Hate to break the inevitable news, but that feline is R.I.P. Ripped….Into….Pieces. It’s been a few weeks now. That cat is the collar on a coat made out of 101 Dalmatians. Don’t be sad! Did you know that every time a cat perishes an angel gets its wings? It’s true, so rest easy.

Why don’t we move on from missing pet signs to missing children milk cartons. Clouds are rolling in so take cover….

The premise is similar, and at first glance, seemed to be a plausible idea for tracking down kids that were MIA. Back in the 80’s when the advertisements were at their peak, families were going through milk more eagerly than a thirsty newborn, the only difference being the general public didn’t have a nice plump breast to latch onto at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately the “Milk Carton Kids” campaign went sour. Pun entirely intended. In all the years local dairy farms used their containers to bring attention to missing children, only one was on record as being found with the aid of these dairy deputies.

Akin to the missing pets notices, the milk carton ads were rife with flaws. Shall we make light of them?

Again I’m drawn to the lack of urgency. As soon as a kid goes missing the search should be going full tilt. You can’t tell me there were dairy plants waiting in the wings for a chance to start slapping kids’ faces on their cartons. Even if there were, how much time do you estimate it’d take to not only print the cartons, but fill them, deliver them, and THEN cram them onto any empty grocery shelves they could find?! That process had to take days.

While we’re at it, let’s tackle the conflict of interest, too. What do you all associate milk with? When I hear that word I’m almost immediately jonesing for cookies and/or cereal. Talk about a brain buster! A puzzle within a puzzle, if you will. Typically our cereal boxes are covered with mind riddles. Those little activities used to be a part of the morning ritual. Scarf down some freeze-dried marshmallows while looking for that sneaky little leprechaun. Now you’re introducing a real life puzzle for me to solve?! Do I look for Toucan Sam or search for the missing girl from across town whose face is staring at me from a condensing gallon of milk ? That’s a lot to ask of me right out of the gates. I haven’t even taken a shower yet! And if you’ve been paying attention I mentioned cookies and cereal; two things that I imagine make most people happy. Now you’ve gone and put a damper on my bright n’ early by swearing me in as a sheriff. Now I’m no monster; of course I’m going to help track down a missing kid to the best of my abilities. But you can bet your ass I’m going to revisit the “which items from these two pictures aren’t the same” caper.

Alas, I’ve gone and “spoiled” an extremely star-crossed situation, but it tied in nicely with the missing pet scenario so we plowed ahead.

If you come across a missing pet sign, keep your eyes peeled. If your phone goes bonkers with an Amber Alert notice, call the authorities with any helpful information you might come across. And if you find out there’s a cat missing? Don’t say a word. Let that angel get its wings.

Life Rule #3393:  Take a Hike....Or a Walk

Life Rule #3393: Take a Hike....Or a Walk

Laughable Lyrics:  The Sixth Installment.

Laughable Lyrics: The Sixth Installment.