Ankle Cuffed

Having endured a day with temperatures well in excess of one hundred degrees; my hound and I were enjoying a well anticipated walk in the park.  The sun had just set and the heat was slowly giving way to a slightly cool breeze coming off of the mountains.  It was still quite warm, but at least it was bearable!

We were paused under a large tree, sharing a bottle of icy cold water; when Xena took notice of a young man across the street.  Her ears were perked up, her tail was fully extended, and the nose was pointed in her desired direction.  If there is one trait I admire in my dog it is her steadfast persistence.  Did I happen to mention that it is also one of her least enviable traits?  The next thing I knew, ninety pounds of hunting dog was pulling me towards the object of her new-found curiosity.

Giving me a look of mild disgust, Xena reluctantly obeyed my command for her to sit.  The tail was wagging slightly and her gaze was still fixed on the man across the street.  I have always encouraged my dog’s elevated sense of sociability; but with a small measure of restraint.  Before we went anywhere, I was going to size up her would-be friend!

I try not to form impressions about people based on outward appearances, but observation can be a trusted ally.  The house and lawn across the street were both well-kept.  The man, perhaps in his mid-twenties looked friendly enough.  He was dressed in shorts that almost came down to his ankles and a tank top depicting his professional wrestling hero.  The Colorado Rockies baseball cap perched on his head also earned him a few bonus points in my scorecard.  I could tell by the look on his face that he was also eager to make a new canine friend!

The asphalt radiated its heat through the bottom of my sandals.  I could only imagine how hot it felt on the pads of Xena’s paws.  We hurried across the street seeking the comfort of standing on some cool grass.  It was then that I saw it!  Dog and owner came to a screeching halt at the street curb.  The man standing directly across from us was wearing a law enforcement ankle cuff!

Apparently the electronic device, tethered around this man’s lower leg, made no difference to Xena.  She was already tugging at her leash, ready to make yet another new acquaintance.  I released the tension on the lead and allowed her to move forward, assuring the man that she was extremely friendly.  He dropped down to one knee and began stroking the back of the dog’s neck.  Xena had once again managed to discover her version of hound dog heaven! 

Second only to persistence is my dog’s heightened sense of curiosity.  She was quickly sniffing the mans hands, shorts, and legs.  I shuddered as she zeroed in on the ankle cuff.  A sense of awkwardness overcame me.  I had really hoped to avoid the electronic sentry altogether; and in fact, had been making a point of not even looking at it.  Now there was no other alternative as I realized the cuff was going to become a topic of conversation!

Over the course of the next few minutes, the young man explained that he was under house arrest for three weeks.  He had managed to drink too much one evening and along with several friends had been caught with a can of spray paint in his hand.  That in itself would not have been too terrible, had he not also just finished painting graffiti on the side of a city building!  He had paid restitution and was now serving his sentence at home.

We chit chatted a little longer about the heat, how pristine the park was, and the genealogy of my dog.  Given that Plott Hound and Catahoula Leopard Dog mixtures are rare in this part of the country, most of the conversation focused on the latter topic.  Xena enjoyed her time with her new friend and it was not long before we crossed the blistering street anew to seek sanctuary in the park.

My hesitation in approaching the young man across the street had been unwarranted.  I had made a faulty assumption based upon the ankle cuff he was wearing.  He had simply made a mistake, was now paying the price, and hopefully would learn a lesson.  As we rounded a tall pine tree, I wondered how many of us wear ankle cuffs every day.  These devices are intended to monitor our activity and modify our behavior.  They limit us and report any unapproved activity we may undertake.

Who has put an ankle cuff on you recently?  What limits your ability to be the person you truly desire to be?  Do you have to answer to some anonymous keeper who monitors everything you do?  The saddest part is that most of us put the ankle cuff on ourselves.  We fear venturing out beyond what we have been told we are capable of.  We revel in the comfort of being controlled by the limitations we have sentenced ourselves to. 

As for me, the battery in my ankle cuff died a long time ago.  Funny thing though; I cannot seem to find a replacement battery anywhere!

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About Jerry V. Dollar, Author, Humorist, Observer of the Human Condition

When not trekking around the globe, Jerry Dollar can be found in Colorado Springs, CO where he lives with his wife Robbi. Besides an affinity for writing and travel; he is also an avid bodybuilder, a very prolific reader, and an enthusiastic observer of the human condition. Jerry has published two books which are available on: Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and IBook. "Announcing a Flight Delay" is a hilarious recap of the author's experiences as a million mile flyer. "A Dollar's Worth" is a collection of observations on the human condition, which originally appeared as blog posts. Dr. Dollar has served in various senior executive management capacities over the past 25 years. He has previously worked within the healthcare, insurance, software, and several other high technology industries. Jerry is recognized for his expertise in creating the foundations for emerging organizations to succeed in complex sales environments. He is also well known for his leadership in guiding technology companies through rapid growth phases. Jerry speaks five languages and has conducted business in over 70 countries on six continents. He holds particular expertise in the Latin American and Western European geographic areas. Dr. Dollar holds a BA in International Affairs, a BA in Spanish, an MBA in Marketing, and a PhD in Organizational Development. He has authored numerous professional articles, various training courses, and has conducted seminars and conferences around the world.
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6 Responses to Ankle Cuffed

  1. Kathy says:

    Jerry,
    I enjoyed your post. I often realize(usually too late) that I stereotype others based on what type of “eye candy” they present. A few years back, I wrote a book about that very thing…often what is visible does not tell us what we really need to see. I have tried to make a conscientious effort to remember that when I start to form an opinion. I also realize that people do the same with me and realize a lot of our fear and anxiety in approaching or engaging with someone is due to our initial “eye” we take on them.

  2. I love your article, Jerry. Currently, I am teaching a course to graduate students entitled: The Principal as a Diversity Leader. One of the texts we’re using is titled: “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” by Beverly Tatum. Tatum’s book profoundly discusses prejudices of all types. Not all prejudices have to do with race issues.
    I have also brought in several thought provoking exercises to share with my students. Afterwards, they write reflective thoughts about the activity for the day.
    I have also written a couple of articles. One is posted on my website at: http://www.BooksThatSow.com – “Appreciating All Heritages: A Direct Link to Bullying” . Hopefully, I will have the other article posted by the end of this week. It is entitled” What?! Because She’s Biracial?
    Thanks for sharing your article — Dr. Cherrye S. Vasquez, No Tildes on Tuesday
    My book is about a 13 year old biracial girl. After you read my second article, you will learn why I have written this book.

  3. Ann H. Shea says:

    Another interesting essay, Jerry. Dogs, like children, are unaffected by handicap or socially questionable “accessories” in approaching people who may be friends. I have a sense your own ankle cuff is self-imposed, the people who circulate on the cyber-nether, waiting to monitor your latest writing activities. Good thing that one doesn’t disappoint!

  4. security says:

    Your information Helped me Thanks you Much

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