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February 1, 2012 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Troublemakers wear plaid.

Danger in plaid? She wasn’t pouting or anything.

A perfect Campbell’s Soup Kid complete with rosy cheeks. Just a cherub in the back seat giggling with her friends. A carpool on the way home from school – still adorned in those plaid uniform jumpers with white blouses. The shoulder length blond curls had to be natural since they were still springy (That should have been a tip-off?). She and those Goldilocks’ locks bounced as she flipped around to gaze out the Jeep’s side window.

That started it.

Squealing with discovery delight, to notify the others, she rushed to lower the window. Bodies crammed plaid shoulder to plaid shoulder. Chubby arms extended and waved like streamers in the breeze. Outstretched fingers wiggling wildly to attract attention. Odysseus couldn’t have been faced with more enticing Sirens.

But the pretty doggie, not to be fooled.

(You can’t tell a book by its cover?)

Not charmed in the least.

Luckily our tinted car window was closed tightly.

The low threatening – seriously dangerous – growl was a shock. Reacting quickly, I turned only to see the German rigid. Her  head lowered in that wolf stalking position. You know. You’ve seen it on the Discovery Channel: the head and neck sink down between the shoulder blades and shoulders protectively hunched around the base. Teeth forward. And reminiscent of an undomesticated ancestor, she had that unflinching stare: unblinking, unforgiving, intense. Danger on a tense vertebrae. A shove to her shoulder broke the gaze, but not really the spell.

Disappointed, the parade of arms withdrew into their car. The light changed and we were no longer parallel.

Then as if nothing had happened, the German circled, flopped down, and glanced up with a grin as if to say,”What?”

The darkness had passed.

What is going on in that traumatized brain?

At Christmas, a glass ornament fell off the tree and broke. It sounded like a gunshot and breaking glass. She shot up – shaking – out of a sound sleep. We had to let her check every room. It took a while to get her heart rate down.

And there was that Kneeling Santa yard decoration. But we really believe that was in response to RC cat constantly snarling, “I know you took my mousie. Santa sees all and he’s making a list of who’s naughty.”

Don’t even ask about New Year’s Fireworks. Barricaded in an interior room as if expecting a tornado, soothing music couldn’t mask blasts sounding so much like gun fire. Storm of a different sort.

But we were doing so well.

Much less panic. Calmed down enough to gain some weight. More naps. And the German does joyfully entertain herself well with toys: like tossing a ball against the solid couch side and then jumping to catch it as it bounces. It’s really funny to watch her do this repeatedly.

Less barking at people outside. And her bark tone has changed. More of an alert. No longer frantic barking like she fears they will come closer and she will have to do something about it. She’s beginning to understand she is not on duty here.

All she has to do is be.

Car rides are no longer something to dread.

At first car rides worried the German so much she got sick. Worried she didn’t know where she was going or what she would have to do once she was there. Now she’s eager to hop in hoping for a hike or even a trip to the post office. Ah, relishing the glories of sticking dog nose out the sun roof!

So what’s with the Plaid Hate?

Forced to patrol cheap men’s departments in stores? Observed guys in hunter vests in gun stores? Thinks golf attire requires intervention by fashion police? Watched one too many bad Sherlock Holmes movies? Snubbed by a Scotty in a plaid sweater? Flashbacks of scenes with Gogo Yubari from Kill Bill Vol.2? The bagpipes across the street don’t seem to be an issue.

It’s the plaid, not the kid.

Apparently small girls in jeans and sweatshirts are not even worth a glance. Small toddler guy windmilling back and forth across a trail? No problemo. Stroller’s inhabitants with clattering plastic toys? Just rollin’ right past. Not a moment’s hesitation. So what’s going on? Don’t have a clue.

But it’s very plain

to the German, troublemakers wear plaid.

Cloaked in mystery,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Related posts in The German’s saga (Click the “Animal” tag in the sidebar)

The German: Homeless at heart

A German’s Ode to Joy

A German Waits for Christmas

Warning: Granny Bites

She doesn’t deserve the reputation she has.



  1. Kourtney Heintz / Feb 1 2012 1:32 am

    I luv plaid, guess I’m a troublemaker on some level. Thanks for a fun post. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 1 2012 1:45 am

      Well, somebody has to be the troublemaker! (But don’t have too much fun!). Thanks for weaving by.


  2. RAB / Feb 1 2012 1:43 am

    They can’t tell us about their lives, but they show how deeply they remember….


  3. Jeannie / Feb 1 2012 2:37 am

    I do not wear plaid.


  4. jannatwrites / Feb 1 2012 2:46 am

    That’s a curious reaction to plaid. There definitely has to be some bad history…a mystery that there’s no way to solve.


  5. mLr / Feb 1 2012 4:32 am

    I guess German’s not going to Scotland any time soon then!! Imagine the customs report – Tried to eat officials, may be a tad aggressive! 😉


  6. Sunshine / Feb 1 2012 4:57 am

    Interesting story Philo mouse. At least German is safe now. Thanks for the story. 🙂


  7. Bongo / Feb 1 2012 5:48 am

    I loved all your plaid guesses, but I guess the German’s not giving up her secrets.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 1 2012 2:26 pm

      Bongo, you know young ladies like to seem mysterious. Thinking back, the trigger may have actually been the big shiny black vehicle with dark tinted glass. (But the German refuses to talk about it.) Paws up, Bongo. Thanks for trotting through.


  8. sportsattitudes / Feb 1 2012 2:27 pm

    Carl Reiner directed a movie that came out in 1982. “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.” Starred Steve Martin and Rachel Ward. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw the word Plaid. That could mean I haven’t thought about Plaid…since 1982. I doubt the German saw that film, but certainly has thought of Plaid more recently than I.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 1 2012 2:43 pm

      How could I have failed to mention that one! It is completely appropriate.(considering all the re-runs and old movies on TV, it’s possible…) Thanks for jogging my memory.


  9. My Ox is a Moron / Feb 1 2012 4:41 pm

    Having had a German Shepard they are fabulous dogs. They have an unbelievable memory though. They can also be very discerning. I was out for the evening and Ace (9 month old puppy) started barking hysterically at the back door. The sitter then saw a face looking in one of the children’s bedroom windows and called the police. When the police came Ace was all greetings and relief. The uniforms were the same as my ex’s so that meant they were safe. From that time on after all the lights were out he would check every door and window, he would check each child in their bed and then sleep in the hallway stretched out to cover all the bedroom doors clustered at the end. Best dog ever!


  10. notesfromrumbleycottage / Feb 1 2012 7:59 pm

    Our Storm (black lab) has a thing for fluff. He loves eating the stuffing of pillows, furniture and stuff animals.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 1 2012 9:09 pm

      What is it about big dogs eating the stuffing out of things? Beds, blankets, ottomans, padded cushy slippers, even mousies….glad to know the challenge is spread among others. Big hug to Storm – and thanks for visiting.


  11. sediment_and_such / Feb 1 2012 9:30 pm

    Genau!! plaid brings out the trouble in most non-Deutsch:)


  12. CATachresis / Feb 2 2012 9:52 am

    Hi Phil, saw your great RC interview over at Rumpy’s.

    I guess we all have our fear trigger points. With me it’s shadows in water and with Austin the Tuxie it’s raw chicken wings amongst many other things. Go figure!

    I also would not advise the German to go to Scotland! Though to be fair, there they call it tartan and it’s often accompanied by the squeezing of a dead goat. It’s like this to keep the English out.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 2 2012 2:41 pm

      Welcome. Enjoyed touring your blog. Austin is just so elegant. (Purrs from RC). We are not really sure what’s going on around here. Oddly the tartan dressed doll (gift from grandparents) has suddenly started appearing in different places around the house…and there’s a bit of hair that looks suspiciously like cat hair on it – And RC looks awfully smug…We don’t think it is an attempt by RC to desensitize the German to plaid…probably quite the opposite – to regain territory. Plaid, as you say, has a history of that sort. Thanks for pawsing to chat


  13. MJ, Nonstepmom / Feb 2 2012 9:25 pm

    So me loving my madras skirt, what are you implying?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 2 2012 10:12 pm

      Oh, madras – that favorite fabric of the free spirits of the 70’s! Just bring dog treats and the German won’t care.
      (Actually knowing a bit of her past, it was probably the big black vehicle with the darked out windows: the favorite of certain criminals)
      Always been “mad” about madras ( in a good way!). Thanks for dropping by.


  14. The Hook / Feb 4 2012 11:54 pm

    Nicely done!



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