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Bill Kalmar

Quality Insider

For People Who Dislike Dogs, Babies, and Yelling Moms

Does Fido like Yo-Yo Ma?

Published: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 15:12

This is the time of year for graduations, weddings, and outdoor musical concerts. And of course, tomorrow many of us will be at a local park, picnic dinners spread out on a blanket beneath the stars waiting for the July 4th fireworks.

Now I realize I will not be endearing myself to all the dog aficionados out there, but I think something needs to be said about canines that are brought to outdoor events. Most of us are dog lovers, but is it important to bring Fido to a musical concert? Since when did our pooches become fans of Yo-Yo Ma or the music of Beethoven? Let me give you an example of a recent incident, and you be the judge if Fido should have been left home.

Each year in May we attend an outdoor concert whose participants are from the local high school. The music coincides with Memorial Day, and thus the program consists of marching tunes that include cymbals and percussion. Several of the tunes are John Philip Sousa military and patriotic pieces. And while featuring Sousa marches, there are always two overlarge cannons firing blanks during the appropriate time. For most of the attendees, it is a time to jump from their lawn chairs or blankets. And of course any dogs in the audience respond with barking, jumping, and sometimes growling. This goes on for quite some time, and the owners seem oblivious to the commotion.

This year we secured a location close to the orchestra. We assembled our lawn chairs and laid a blanket on the ground while awaiting our grandchildren. No sooner had we done so than a man with his dog on a leash secured his own spot adjacent to ours. Not only did his pooch start wandering into our area, but Fido started to investigate and sniff the food that one of our grandchildren was enjoying on her blanket. Stares in disbelief went ignored. We did not want to create a scene so we tried to ignore the whole insensitive situation. Frankly, it was a bit tamer than last year’s concert, when two dogs interrupted the program by staging their own confrontation. The owners thought the fierce interaction was comical, but after an intervention from some school officials, the dogs and owners left.

So here is my own insensitive response to all this foolishness: I do not want to see or hear “man’s best friends” at any outdoor concerts. Of course leader dogs are always welcome, but they have the sense to conduct themselves in a respectful manner. In addition, I do not want the incessant crying of babies to interrupt my concert. If a parent cannot secure a babysitter, then parents and baby should stay home.

Somehow we have lost our sense of decorum and sensibility when it comes to outdoor events. For whatever reason some people insist on bringing their pets or babies to soccer games, baseball games, and picnics. And guess what? There are some people who want to enjoy the concert or the sporting event and don’t want to be aggravated or challenged by someone’s dog or a crying baby. I am that person. Call me grumpy.

And let’s not overlook the commotion stirred at graduations when exuberant parents and friends yell out the student’s name and then proceed to make ear-splitting noises. A recent episode at a high school graduation saw the mother of the graduate being hauled off in handcuffs due to her boorish behavior, which was labeled as “disturbing the peace.” And a graduate in Ohio was denied his diploma because his mom cheered too loudly, even after an admonition was issued prior to the start of the event that loud cheering would not be tolerated. He now has to serve 20 hours of community service in order to get his diploma.

As mentioned earlier, what I do object to besides dogs and yelling parents are people who bring babies to recitals or outdoor graduations. Just last week we sat through a 3 1/2-hour music and dance recital for our granddaughter. The recital lasted longer the movie Titanic. What pushed me overboard, though, was the crying baby in the row behind us. After two hours I finally turned around and told the rude, insensitive mom to “go find a babysitter.” She responded by telling me to “mind my own business.” I said my business was to “listen to the recital without the incessant babbling of someone’s baby.” She then left.

So let me summarize: If you bring a dog to an outdoor concert, if you yell and scream at a graduation, or if you bring a bawling baby to a recital, prepare to be insulted, affronted, dissed, and maligned. I am a senior citizen, and I have earned the right to be as rude as you.

Let the fireworks commence.


About The Author

Bill Kalmar’s picture

Bill Kalmar

William J. Kalmar has extensive business experience, including service with a Fortune 500 bank and the Michigan Quality Council, of which he served as director from 1993 through 2003. He served on the Board of Overseers of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and has been a Baldrige examiner. He was also named quality professional of the year by the ASQ Detroit chapter. Now semiretired, Kalmar does freelance writing for several publications. He is a member of the USA Today Vacation Panel, a mystery shopper for several companies, and a frequent presenter and lecturer.


Dogs, Babies, and Yelling Moms

Agree, Bill, 100%. And, if I may, add to that the screaming kids on airplanes. Come on airlines, put 'em in the back of the plane in a whole separate section with sound proofing. Let the parents enjoy that racket during the flight. Frankly, I don't want to hear that for the 3 hour flight, let alone a 16 hour international flight.

And your brat that is kicking my seat, it ain't him I am going to smack in about 2 minutes, daddy. If you can't control 'em, leave 'em t' home.

I Agree!!

I think this is the first time I have ever commented on a blog but this hit home. I am a mother and dog owner. However, I do not understand the need to take your dog everywhere. Although my cute little pooch is less than 5 pounds and can fit in my purse it doesn't mean he is going with me to the market, concerts or church. Yes, I have seen a little furry pup in a purse at church services. As for the crying babies and yelling mothers, or dads in some cases, whatever happened to taking the child to the side until they come down and can act appropriately. My children did not attend events until they were age appropriate. I didn’t take my new born to the movie theatre or when they were toddlers to an event that required long periods of sitting and silence. Save yourself the stress and the others around by going to age appropriate events with your children and find a babysitter for the other events.  Now that my children are 10 & 12 and are better equipped to understand the expected behavior they attend outdoor concerts, plays and art shows with us.

It somehow has become acceptable for people to intrude into others space in public. Whether it's a crying child, someone talking loudly on a cell phone or letting their dogs run amuck. The lack of common courtesy while in public makes me wonder how these people behave at home, scary thought! I was raised to be polite, respectful of others and use manners at all times…. I guess now a days that is not something everyone teaches their children.  

Babies - dogs - and screaming graduation attendees

Thanks for your support of my column! Being against crying babies, dogs, and proud Moms is a dangerous stance to take. Glad you agreed! Now that I am retired and a very old senior citizen I am able to share my once held back opinions. And frankly I suspect that there are some younger readers who share my views. Am I cranky? Yep! But I earned that status! Have a wonderful Holiday!