Saturday, December 05, 2009

"A Special Place in Hell" (The homecoming game)

A couple of years ago—in early August of 2007—I wrote a discombobulated little ramble about dogs and the important role they have played in my life. It was also about Michael Vick, the pro footballer and dog-fighting entrepreneur. I quoted a close friend and ardent dog lover, who said that Michael Vick deserves “a special place in Hell.”

I agreed with that assessment then, and I still do.

Day before yesterday, I had occasion to return to that little blog post. Someone named “Gina” was browsing the UPI archives, and posted a comment to the effect that she, too, has a Doberman Pinscher named Ransom. (Your comment is published, Gina, and thank you for the visit and feedback. Having a Doberman named Ransom isn’t as weird as you said; a devil-worshiper named Ransom once set my house on fire, but that’s another story, and had nothing to do with my hanging that moniker on the family guardian.)

In hindsight, I wasn’t impressed by my writing of “A Special Place in Hell.” [It’s in the August 2007 archive, if you’re interested.] It’s disjointed, redundant, and overly emotional. I suspect I was wrecked on bourbon and chemotherapy pharmaceuticals at the time. (These two are not a good mixture; I like living on the edge, but don’t try this at home.) I was also extremely pissed off at Michael Vick for his wanton cruelty and arrogance. I still am. The article was written just before he went to prison. In a more recent article about the execution of John Muhammed, the DC sniper, I remarked that redemption is available for most of us, if we acknowledge what evils we’ve done and try to atone for them. In AA, this is—I think—the ninth step: making amends.

In Vick’s case, I don’t think he has stepped up to the plate. I was not impressed by his apologies when he got out of prison. His contrition seemed contrived, to coin a phrase.

If he truly wanted make amends for his past actions, Vick would take some of those big bucks he’s getting for returning to his sports career as though nothing had happened, and build a no-kill animal shelter on his own property. He would take in the worst, most rejected critters that are languishing on death row, and hire specialists to rehabilitate them so they could be placed with loving, caring people. I think he made a couple of public service announcements, but I have yet to see one. I’m seeing a lot of the actress Wendy Malick doing PSAs for animal rescue, but where’s Vick?

All of this comes rushing back tonight, because the Philadelphia Eagles are in Atlanta this weekend to play the Falcons. While I was watching the local body-count news, the sportscaster reported that Vick expects “a standing O” when he takes the field Sunday. And that would be an ovation for what, Mr. Vick? Killing dogs that didn’t meet your standards of viciousness in the pit? Buying back your football career with the same callousness that “Hanoi Jane” Fonda bought her acting career back without apologizing for her treason in Vietnam?

Pardon the play on words, but dogs have been a part of my life since I was a pup. I’ve let drunks slap my face because I knew I could trash them, and there’s no honor in an unfair fight. However, if someone ever threatened any of my dogs and the pooch couldn’t handle it, the fight would be on. And it’s not “beer muscles” to add that if you knock me down, I’ll keep getting up and coming back until you get tired of hitting me. Pitting dogs is like child molestation; kids and dogs are innocent, trusting creatures. Infants have an unconditional love for those who bring them into the world and nurture them; dogs have that same unconditional love for their adoptive humans. I’ve had numerous dogs that would die for me in dire circumstances; were the situations reversed, I’d kill for them.

I’ve seen my two obligatory regular-season football games this year: my unremarkable Georgia Bulldogs beat Georgia Tech, and the hapless Falcons lost to New Orleans. I’ll probably watch the Super Bowl, no matter who wanders in to play. There’s a fourth game I’ll be tuning in for this weekend, though. I want to see the reception Michael Vick gets when he trots out to play against the Falcons. “Standing O” my ass! I don’t care who wins the football game, but if the fans don’t boo Vick out of the stadium, I will be sorely disappointed. I don’t censor this blog any more, so I can say whatever I think in whatever thuggish vernacular applies.

Michael Vick is an unrepentant asshole.

Your ticket is still active, Mr. Vick. Seat 666, track 77, Express to Hell. There is still a special place for you there.

If Ransom—pictured above—was still with us, I think she’d like a few moments with you, too.