Dear Dog Bites,
Being an avid follower of your column, and thus all too aware of the class struggle between the Mission proletariat and their SUV-driving neo-bourgeois oppressors, I was shocked and dismayed today to see a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee with a vanity plate reading DOGBYTZ. The vehicle in question was sighted at noon on Friday, headed south on 101 near Candlestick Point. The driver was a male Caucasian who looked to be about 50.
Who is this man? I asked myself. Is he a fan of your column, unknown to you? Or have I stumbled on evidence that you are not, in fact, an impartial observer of the events reported in your column, but rather an agent of SUV proliferation?
I must know the truth.
Mr. Todd Rowan
Dog Bites would like to assure Mr. Rowan that we do not own a Jeep Grand Cherokee, or any other kind of SUV. And we most certainly are not a 50-year-old male Caucasian. Nor do we know who this person might be, or even whether his license plates are in fact a reference to this column.
However, we are intrigued enough to ask our readers to keep an eye out for this vehicle and its driver. Because if he is a Dog Bites fan, well, we want to know. Especially since we feel strongly that we would then be entitled to borrow his car.
Fax the State
Of course, if we were to borrow the Grand Cherokee, the first thing we'd do is drive it through the Mission, run a few lights, and maybe double-park a few times.
Because, though the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project has been threatening to escalate its activities for some time, Nestor Makhno has, for the most part, dodged our questions about exactly what this escalation might entail.
But now we know.
The group is faxing a letter to insurance companies, urging them to raise their premiums.
"Vandalism of sport utility vehicles, Jaguars, Porsches, BMWs, Lexus and other expensive cars in the Mission may have increased dramatically," reads the letter. "Our campaign against yuppies and their cars continues, and you might find it advisable to increase insurance premiums on SUVs and luxury vehicles whose owners live or work in the Bay Area. We must emphasize, however, that we are explicitly opposed to vandalizing compact, subcompact, and old junker cars that are likely to be owned and driven by low-income working people."
One Mission District insurance agent we called hadn't received the fax, but had seen the original poster. "He glued this thing all over town. I read it and it was like, 'Yeah, this guy's crazy.' "
Noting that he's had his office in the Mission for a decade now, the agent said automobile vandalism rates don't appear to have increased: They're just as bad as they ever were.
"Are we in a high crime area? Yes, we are. If you walk down Valencia, especially on a Monday morning, you'll see windows smashed all over the sidewalk. I would say don't leave your car on the street overnight."
Still, SUV and BMW owners may have one big, hitherto undiscussed advantage: "If you can afford a thirty- or forty-thousand-dollar car, you probably have a garage for it," he pointed out.
It being that most relentlessly romantic day of the year fairly soon, Dog Bites was thrilled to receive an e-mail from -- well, of course -- Steven Appleton, who suggests that we could be his Valentine, and adds, "While you may not be a 'gal for all seasons' or even a 'lovely dimpled blond' (although I'm sure you have a lovely dimple somewhere or another), you do have one of the freshest, most irreverent voices in SF media."
Wow. You do know all the right things to say to a girl, don't you?
"Maybe I could get a little facetime and impress you with all the other big words I know," he continues. "My treat, of course."
Anyway, Dog Bites was tempted enough by this offer to do a little wondering about the parameters of the proposed treat -- like, would it be, say, a soy-latte-at-Starbucks kind of treat? or a dinner-at-Clementine kind of treat? -- until we received the following rather disturbing e-mail from a pseudonymous correspondent:
"I have it from a well-informed source that Steven Appleton spends an awful lot of time ROLLER BLADING. I tried to blend that into a poem but noth-ing rhymes with Appleton or blading."
Well! With that, Mr. Appleton's chances -- his use of the word "promulgate" in previous correspondence notwithstanding -- dwindled abruptly. To nil. We realize this may sound harsh, so we have composed a little couplet of our own to clarify our position:
Guys in Lycra:
We don't like ya.
As told to Laurel Wellman
Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.