“Ice cream makes dogs fart,” I told the little boy offering his ice-cream cone to my dog.
Zilly and I were minding our own business, waiting for a friend at the park, when we were suddenly swarmed by ice-cream-eating 5-year-olds.
At the word “fart,” the little kids erupted in a group belly laugh. Nothing funnier than talking about farts when you’re 5.
There was a moment of appalled silence. “Jimmy!” his mom exclaimed. “We don’t talk …”
And I realized I was going to have to take responsibility for the fart talk.
I felt a moment’s fear.
For a split second I was tempted to say nothing, to gather up my dog and nonchalantly stroll away. I was tempted to let little Jimmy take the fall for the potty talk.
“That was me,” I admitted. “I started the fart talk.” And we all had a big laugh and a friendly chat and went our separate ways with warm feelings all around.
Except that I had been tempted — for just the briefest moment — to throw that little kid under the (metaphorical) bus.
Miriam-Webster says the phrase “to throw someone under the bus” gained prominence in the mid- to late-2000s. The Urban Dictionary defines it as: “One is thrown under the bus when they are made the scapegoat or blamed for something that wasn’t their responsibility in the first place. A coverup for your mistake.”
Taking responsibility for your mistakes, even the small ones, takes a measure of courage, I tell my coaching clients.
“You have many moments of decision every day,” I say. “Doing the right thing — finding that courage — doesn’t necessarily just happen. You have to decide.”
Our reputations and careers – and, evidently, our dog walks — are defined by these small moments of decision. “Do you raise your hand or do you stroll away?” I ask.
But whatever you do, don’t feed the dog ice cream.
First published in The Seattle Times. Read my archive of Seattle Times Explore columns.