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Ding-dong bell; makes me feel not well

  • Saturday, November 20, 2021 1:30am
  • Opinion

Our elected representatives in Washington produce bad ideas like cows produce methane. But if Congress really wants to do something to make the lives of Americans better — and remember, I said “if” — I have an idea.

Not only would this idea garner significant bipartisan support, it would score massive political points without sowing further discord among Americans and driving the country one more level down to oblivion. Might be a nice change of pace.

Here it is: Congress should immediately petition the court for an immediate injunction barring all TV commercials involving a doorbell. I stand with some 78 million American dog owners, and their pooches, in calling for the drafting of emergency legislation. We can call it the American Ding-Dong Act. It works on so many levels.

Laugh if you want, cat owners and non-dog-people, but you need to understand the impact TV doorbells have on the quality of American life. I’m talking to you too, DoorDash. With every ring of a TV doorbell, our Great Dane, Bosco, and his stumpy-legged Corgi sidekick, Henry, unleash a cacophony of barks and yelps that come straight from Satan’s Spotify. I have also found that yelling, “It’s a TV doorbell. It’s a TV doorbell.” at the dogs in an effort to get them to stop has little to no effect.

See, in the mind of a dog with no sense of context or object permanence, the doorbell triggers a little thought bubble, which contains a wee man wearing a mask and carrying a crowbar, standing at our front door. Though he doesn’t exist, the dogs race to the front door making as much noise as possible in order to run him off. To date, their record is unblemished.

For this reason, Halloween is my sworn enemy. Tiny, noisy children in costumes, quickly and frantically moving about and ringing the doorbell. What could possibly be worse? Five straight hours of skull-crushing barking. I must confess that this past Halloween I went dark. I sat in my house as if I were waiting out an air raid.

To make matters worse, my next-door neighbor had constructed an elaborate system of pulleys and cables on which skeletons and various other spooks flew around his front yard. Very impressive. A crowd gathered in front of his house to watch the show. I know this because I skulked out my front door to get rid of some trash and saw the crowd. I suddenly realized I might be spotted and quickly reversed my steps, lest I be caught out and forever branded as “the guy who hates children.”

I’m clearly not the only concerned about the doorbell issue. I recently visited an internet forum — is there another place with more reliable information? — which featured numerous complaints.

“I hate when I am on the phone and both [dogs] start barking and running to the door!”

I feel you.

“[My dog] not only barks at TV doorbells; he stops what he is doing and barks at dogs on TV.”

Been there.

“Those commercials with doorbells sound so real that one night my husband jumped up and went to the door.”

I have not been able to confirm reports that the lady’s husband later chased the mailman down the street.

Need I continue?

Let me pause here because I know that following the publishing of this piece, I will get an email from some know-it-all who will point out that dogs can be trained not to bark at the doorbell. So, whoever you are, I will save you the trouble and write the email for you.

Dear Moron:

If you knew anything about dogs, you would train your dog not to bark at the doorbell. That’s what I did. Rather than wasting your time writing about it, why don’t you spend some time training those dogs?

I guess I should respond.

Dear Humorless:

I’m well aware that dogs can be trained. We sent our Great Dane to a boarding school for two weeks. It didn’t take. He once spent five minutes barking at a cooked turkey so you see what I’m up against. Thanks anyway for the advice.

I often prattle on about Congress failing America by involving itself in trivial matters. But if “all politics is local,” my front door might be a good place to start.

Rich Manieri is a Philadelphia-born journalist and author. You can reach him at manieri2@gmail.com.

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