Gomer Pyle was on to something

Published 11:56 pm Saturday, October 20, 2012

Oh if there were only a law against being a jerk and the ability for citizens to enforce that law on the spot.

Imagine something like when Gomer Pyle started screaming “citizen’s arrest” in an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Only the cry would be something like, “citizen’s a jerk!”

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I had at least two moments when I longed for that law and the power to enforce it on Friday night as Julie and I made our way along the bluff to the opening event of the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race.

My jerk detector first sounded when a young male walking just in front of us with his dog kicked into full jerk mode — on a child who couldn’t have been more than around 8 years old.

Seeing the man’s dog walking alongside him, the little girl lunged toward it with outstretched hands before the young male stopped in his tracks and suddenly wrenched the dog’s leash back.

“Don’t do that,” he admonished the little girl and her father. “Don’t go toward my dog. You don’t just go jumping at a person’s dog.

“If she gets bit you’ll blame me.”

It was quickly clear to everyone nearby that this sorry excuse had less compassion than the pit bull whose chain he wielded.

Rather than being an adult, the fool chewed out a young girl.

Of course, the problem began when the fool decided to bring a freaking pit bull that he didn’t trust to meet people to Natchez’s biggest event and family night.

Even an 8-year-old girl knows that’s not very smart.

Yet this fellow thought it was more important to be seen strutting around with a masculine dog on his arm.

Apparently the dog had the opposite effect from what he probably sought — no single women seemed to be paying him any attention.

If there were any nearby, those stragglers didn’t last long after seeing the stud fussing at a young girl.

In my dream world, this guy would have been immediately arrested, removed from the bluff and have his dog ownership privileges revoked.

Alas, no jerk arrests, just a little girl who went away wondering why the mean man didn’t want to help her pet his puppy.

A few yards down the sidewalk and the man’s apparently jerky cousin was walking along, a stream of cigarette smoke left in his wake.

Now I appreciate that adults have a right to fill their lungs with whatever they’d like. They’re big boys and girls.

Aside from the likelihood that the health effects of smoking may eventually cost taxpayers when older smokers go on Medicare, it’s none of my business what they do.

But why do smokers feel it’s OK to smoke their heads off at events with large crowds present?

Even if the event is outside, the smoke’s smell still lingers around and makes it unpleasant for all the non-smokers — including children.

A flicked cigarette butt illustrated just how trashy the smoker actually was. Not only did he not care that he was polluting his own lungs and stinking up the great outdoors for dozens of non-smokers nearby, he was also literally trashing up the Natchez Trails, too.

My inner Gomer Pyle was just itching to scream: “Citizen’s a jerk.”

But sadly, it’s not against the law to be stupid — or rude.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.