Don’t argue with people who have contacts at the Health Department

“…at that time, I noticed that the subject was as nervous as a poodle in a Chinese restaurant, so I pointed at the subject and ordered …”

“‘Dog, what is this?”

“That’s an incident report. We’re supposed to make one whenever we interact in a negative fashion with people who aren’t us.”

“Smartass. I know what it is. What is this part?”

I look where his index finger is pointing. “You want me to explain the concept of sentences, words, or just letters?”

“No. You can’t say, ‘Nervous as a poodle in a Chinese restaurant.'”

“Sure I can. Only one of those words has more than two syllables, and my vocal chords, lips and tongue are all functioning perfectly, so I am absolutely capable of saying those particular words.”

My Lieutenant rubs his temples as if a sudden headache had crashed down upon him. Articulating carefully, he responds:

“You’re not supposed to say that.”

“Why the hell not?”

“Because you can’t. It’s a slur to Chinese eateries everywhere.”

I stare at him for a long time. He has the grace to look uncomfortable.

“You want me to get the Health Department records for the last three times they shut down the Peking Moon?”

“Now, ‘Dog…”

“Mongolian Woof.”

“But you can’t …”

“Fi Do Gai Pan.”


“Three times, it was shut down.”

“Have we had the talk about stereotyping yet?”

I look at him in disbelief.

“I’m fixing to lose this one, aren’t I?”

“You mean ‘A mental picture that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment’? I believe I last heard that particular phrase in a Cultural Diversity class taught by one of the people in this conversation who isn’t me.”


“The same class, as a point of fact, in which I heard the instructor — again, currently in this conversation and not me — use the concept of Americans regarding pets as family, and certain Asian groups regarding the same animals as food items as an example of cultural differences which can cause friction.”

“I don’t suppose we can just forget that this conversation ever took place?”


One of these days he’s going to learn.


Ahh, Chateau Swamp 2007, a good year.

24 thoughts on “Don’t argue with people who have contacts at the Health Department”

  1. The term “Smartass” does not begin to cover the territory we are currently exploring.

  2. Heh. Sounds like our local Chinese e.coliteria, “Chang Meow.”

    Last summer, the local PD got a late-night call on a suspicious figure or figures, grubbing out in the pondside weeds by our local waste processing plant, In the course of investigating, they discovered that the family who owns the Chinese food joint was picking their watercress from the edges of Poop Lagoon, and serving it in the restaurant.

  3. I hope you’re not going to try to claim that “Cat’s in the Kettle” is a Weird Al, song. Because it isn’t. Yes, he might have written something like it, but that one isn’t his. Sorry. His voice is very distinctive and it isn’t in that song.

  4. heh-heh. Why are the Chinese so dedicated to cockroaches du jour in their kitchens ?
    I like your report writing style !

  5. Fi Do Gai Pan

    I hate it when reading LawDog makes me shoot diet root beer out of my nose…

  6. Have you seem the new Korean cook book? “How to Wok your Dog?”

    *snortle* Oh I kill me…

  7. Several years ago I had to attend a corporate diversity a/k/a PC seminar. The most I got out of it was a fairly large number of names and terms that were new to me. All were definitely politically incorrect. I nearly got myself kicked out because of inappropriately timed giggling. Hell, it’s not like I don’t know when common sense and good manners are called for.

    I live in an area where rabid fans of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton can say what they damn well please but everybody else is racist.

  8. I tried to take a girl to a Vietnamese restaurant. I love that place. She said “I don’t want to eat dog.”
    I responded, “So don’t order the dog. Have the Pad Thai.” This relationship went nowhere quickly.

  9. Ahhh… well, I guess this is NOT a good time to proffer my receipe for dog… Got it from an old Air America guy, who got it from his Vietnamese relatives. Anyway, cat taste better…

  10. I wish I could like a little .wav file I have called “A Cat in the Kettle” at the Peking Moon. Its a parody right up this alley sung to a “Cat in the Cradle”….best line.

    “Garfield is here on my fork…”

  11. I once heard a health inspector say…
    “It’s not TOO bad for a Chinese restaurant.”

    When asked how their inspection record was. Whatever that means. ;-P

    “Chang Meow”! OMG. Sore ribs!

  12. Some years back, we had a company lunch at a chinese resturaunt located on a divided highway. To get back to work, you got back the highway, and drive past the resturaunt about a mile to turn around. Located right next to the resturant, not visible as you approached on the road, but clearly visible after you left, was the local animal hospital. When I say “next to”, I mean you could walk from one to the other in a monsoon and not get wet.

  13. It was in Italy that my brother learned that what he had been ordering as rabbit at the local eateries was probably cat, and the dog meat recipe I posted some time back for informational purposes only (the Recipe Carnival still didn’t link it) was from Switzerland.

  14. Hey Anonymous, just because a random lyric site claims a song is by someone it doesn’t make it true.

    Cat’s in the Kettle is actually by Manic Larry Baker and is performed by Bob Rivers

  15. In Newport News, VA, there was a little Chinese place called (I’m not kidding) “Wok and Roll”.

    Right next door in the strip mall was the pet store. The one that had cages for (but never any inhabitants in) mammals larger than guinea pig. And they always had about twice as much “cage space” as they needed for guinea pigs. . .

  16. Hello LawDog,

    You may well be correct regarding some Chinese restaurants. It hasn’t been my experience, and I’ve been a connoisseur of Chinese food since my time in Beijing, but perhaps things are different where you are.

    Even so, your lieutenant is absolutely right, and I’m shocked you don’t see it: ethnic jokes have absolutely no place on the job, at least in your line of work.

    You want to make ethnic jokes here on your blog or elsewhere when you’re off-duty? Fine. (Well, not so fine IMHO, but it’s your right. Our society has decided that behavior which makes some citizens uncomfortable and even uncooperative with LEOs they may encounter is a lesser evil than somewhat restricting the free speech of some people who freely chose their occupations.)

    Ethnic jokes in the line of duty? Bad news. Yes, there might be a basis in fact for the one you used, just as there may have been for other kinds of ethnic jokes (eg, Jews being wealthy and thrifty, Italians being dirty, blacks having turned to crime, etc).

    But we’re not talking about libel or slander, and presumably the incident you reported had nothing to do with poodles or Chinese restaurants. Truth isn’t a defense here.

    Last but not least, you might have contacts at the Health Department. But you don’t know who may have contacts at, say, the local paper or radio or TV station, or a local or state legislator’s office. Don Imus’ fame and stature (read: millions of dollars in extra ad revenue) didn’t save him after that “nappy-headed hos” comment.


    Jeff Deutsch

  17. Jeff,

    Lighten up. Lawdog writes from a humorous angle. As for making fun of others, he makes fun of a lot of things, including himself. There was no reason for the implied threat in the last paragraph of your comment.

    You need to find something better to to, Jeff.

Comments are closed.