Crossing the Line

We’ve all experienced it: the feeling that someone is benefiting at our expense or stretching the letter of the law too far.

The perfectly healthy guy with the handicapped placard getting a great parking space in a crowded lot – or in front of his (or your) house.

The person with a conscience-free lawyer bluffing his way into forcing a no-dogs community into permitting a resident to have a dog (a true story: the condo development in which The Curmudgeon formerly lived).

The guy you know is a few pints short of a gallon being approved for a permit to carry a handgun.

Lately it’s been people bringing their “emotional support” pets – not just dogs but also cats, pigs, and miniature horses – into places where pets have no business: stores, movie theaters, restaurants, places of business, and more. As The Curmudgeon writes this he just returned from the bank, where there’s a dog water bowl by the entrance. When he asked a bank employee about it she just shrugged and looked sheepish.

But someone recently crossed that line and got called on it.

Two weeks a woman was told “No way” when she tried to board a Los Angeles-bound United Airlines flight in Newark accompanied by her…

Are you ready for this?

Meet Dexter, an emotional support peacock

By her emotional support peacock.

Named Dexter.

The airlines have been trying to get a handle on what has proven to be a growing problem: they now require a doctor’s note attesting to a passenger’s need for such, um, assistance and proof from a suitable authority that the animal in question is trained to provide such support and does not pose a threat to the well-being of other passengers.

The woman who brought the emotional support peacock to the party had every reason to believe this would happen: three times she inquired about bringing her emotional support peacock – okay, The Curmudgeon feels like an idiot just typing the term “emotional support peacock” and can’t imagine what an idiot the woman in question must be even to make such an inquiry – and three times the airline told her no, that her emotional support peacock did not meet the airline’s guidelines for the size and weight of emotional support pets. The woman even offered to buy a ticket for her emotional support peacock but the airline rejected that, too – as if the airlines really needed a reason to conclude that bringing an emotional support peacock onto an airplane was beyond stupid.

(As you can plainly see, The Curmudgeon has gotten over his misgivings about typing the term “emotional support peacock” and now finds it oddly satisfying.)

The Curmudgeon can’t help but suspect that in the not-too-distant future we’ll be reading about a lawsuit seeking damages for the emotional distress the airline caused by its rejection of the emotional support peacock.

At which point the woman may very well call on the emotional support peacock to testify on her behalf.

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