If You Can’t Run With The Big Dogs
by Tabitha Vidaurri

My brother, SM, told me Idris Elba might be the new James Bond. This is fantastic news, Luther is great. “I hope they pick him,” I said. Then I asked, “But who will be the next James Bone?”
SM rolled his eyes and let out a little snort of a laugh. James Bone doesn’t necessarily bring up happy memories. Allow me to explain.

A long time ago, in the late 90s, me, my mom and my brother and sister and our piece of shit stepdad would go out to Tannersville, PA to go outlet shopping. Our favorite place in the outlet mall was a store called Big Dogs. It was super white trash, and it featured terrible parodies of TV and films that were popular at the time. For example, I had a t-shirt that had a picture of two St. Bernards (it was always a really badly drawn St. Bernard) holding flashlights and it said “Rex-Files.” Next to the male dog it said “Agent Mutter” and the female dog, or bitch as they are also known, it said “Agent Collie.” I wore this shirt all the time and got all sorts of stains on it. It was awesome. I also had a shirt that said “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch!” I’m still not totally sure what that means, but I used to wear it during fencing practice.

Throughout the years of adolescence and trips to the outlet mall my siblings and I cycled through many Big Dogs shirts. SM picked one up that had a dog wearing a tuxedo in a Bond pose, and it said “James Bone.” It should be noted here that the dog was holding a bone and not a gun.

Then Columbine happened which was just really shitty for everybody. My brother was in middle school at the time, and a teacher noticed his James Bone shirt and found it upsetting. The teacher sent SM to the principal's office where he was sternly lectured for wearing such a subversive shirt. They called my mom, who was working at an ad agency in Manhattan and told her to come bring him new clothes. She said, “No, I’m at work.” I guess they just assumed that she would have nothing better to do than rush down to the school with fresh clothes for her teen son. They were not happy about this. She compromised. “I don’t know, tell him to turn it inside out?” In the end, he wore his gym shirt.

SM came home that night and told us what happened and I laughed quite a bit. I see now that it must have hurt his feelings, and that was not my intention. I wasn’t laughing at his unfortunate situation, getting called to the office is never fun. No, I was laughing at how idiotic Copeland Middle School was. I had gone to this school for a year and it was easily one of the worst times of my life. If somebody went crazy and shot everybody it would not be because they saw a kid wearing a shirt with a dog holding a bone in a gun-like manner, but because they ran that school like it was a fucking prison camp. I thought about killing everybody there every day.

I have no idea whether or that Big Dogs outlet store still exists, I’ll see their shirts at the Goodwill every now and again, but instead of pop culture parodies they have racist War on Terror shirts where a Big Dog is sexually abusing Osama Bin Laden. It doesn’t say War on Terrier and it should.

SM and I started coming up with modern Big Dogs shirts, like “Chew Detective” and “Barking Bad.” I came up with “Dallas Bow Wow's Club.” I know that one isn’t that good, but I doubt a movie about people dying of AIDS would be made into a Big Dogs shirt anyway.

Whatever, I hope Idris Elba is the new Bond. That dude is super cool.