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Big Brother Might Be Watching, But Who's Watching Big Brother?




In the past few days, three things have caught my attention that stood out as odd; more so than all the other oddities occurring in our collective days and weeks lately, primarily because they seemed out of place, or made me seem out of place.

I’ll cut right to the chase. They were a fox, a dirty diaper and Big Brother. None of these things, I’ll grant you, is inherently odd on its own and none of them, except for purpose of this story, are related. It’s where I saw each of them that caught my attention.

First, the fox. I found it ambling through our front yard and down our street one morning last week, in no hurry and seemingly without a care in the world.

It was healthy and surprisingly colorful; orange in that way you see foxes portrayed in cartoons. Even though we live “in town,” we see a good amount of wildlife: deer, turkeys, hawks and of course, squirrels and rabbits. But foxes are a rare sight.

It was cool seeing it healthy and strong, not bothering anyone or vice versa, as it made its way down our block and through a neighbor’s backyard. It isn’t the first time I’ve seen foxes in our neighborhood. One time, while on a walk, I noticed one following me. It was small and frail, and it seemed to be following me but not with any gusto or mission. Another time, I saw one sleeping in our backyard. A half hour later, when I went to check on it, it was gone.

Maybe the oddity isn’t that I saw a fox, but rather, that I’ve only seen foxes in the “wild” (in this case, “wild” defined as our subdivision) three times in the last 20 years, since we’ve basically gobbled up most of their previous habitat. Which begs the question: Where do they spend all their time?

Next, the dirty diaper. Since our kids are grown, it’s rare for us to run across diapers – dirty or otherwise – these days. Luckily, some considerate soul had a big enough heart to see that I got my “fix” as I exited the grocery store Sunday.

I had just picked up a few things, and as I made my way to the parking lot, I passed one of those tall receptacles specifically designed for folks to extinguish and dispose of their cigarette butts. If you haven’t seen one of these, they’re usually wide at the base, like a planter, with a three-foot (give or take) tube extending vertically that has holes on top where you can deposit your spent cigs.

I presume the base is filled with sand or some similar substance. Anyway, as I passed one on Sunday, I noticed someone or something (likely not the aforementioned fox, since he/she wouldn’t have been able to reach that high), had creatively, precariously and somewhat offensively placed a poopy diaper on top of this rig.

What struck me, besides the obvious odor, was that the perpetrator of this offense would have had to use some effort and skill to get the diaper to stay in place, since the receptacle came to a decorative (I use that term loosely) yet dull “point” on the top, thus requiring some stabbing or “screwing” action to take place.

Immediately, questions raced through head. First, “Why? Why would someone not look for a traditional garbage receptacle in such a situation?” The second thing that came into my head was also, “Why? Why, if no acceptable garbage receptacle could be found in the general vicinity, did the person holding the poopy diaper (the diaper “owner,” as it were) believe that stabbing or screwing it to the top of a cigarette disposal system (I’m calling it a system solely because I’m tired of using the word “receptacle”) was the next best option?”

I’m confident I will never get an answer to the second question.

Finally, Big Brother. Late Sunday afternoon, after returning home from a day of activities devoid of fox sightings or additional poopy diaper encounters, I turned on the TV to check out some sports. During a timeout of an NFL game, I saw a promo for Big Brother: All-Stars. To recap, within the past three days, I’d seen a fox in my front yard (and I don’t live in or near the country) and a precariously, yet very intentionally placed (and with no lack of effort or ingenuity, I might add) poopy diaper on display in a public place.

However, seeing that Big Brother (the TV show) was still on the air floored me. Frankly, I thought it had been canceled at least 15 years ago. And, after watching the promo for Big Brother: All-Stars on Sunday (not because I wanted to, I was simply so stunned that I couldn’t move during that 30 seconds) I remained astounded that it wasn’t canceled 15 (or more) years ago.

Turns out, it’s been on for 22 years, boasting (again, using that term loosely) more than 750 episodes. Again, the question: “Why?”

A fox running through the middle of town, a place where 100 years ago, it could roam freely to hunt and recreate and not worry about people or cars or kids with soccer balls interfering with its day.

A poopy diaper, mounted and rotting on a post, on medieval display, as though telling others “This is what happens when you bring diapers into our domain.”

Who would have thought Big Brother still alive and kicking would have been the oddest, most disturbing part of this story?

© 2020 David R. Haznaw

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© 2019 David Haznaw