When I’m not herding dogs, one of the things I do is study goju ryu karate. Yesterday evening as I was preparing for class, I went to return my freshly washed and dried gi to my gym bag, which I had left, unzipped, in the mudroom next to the washing machine. Here is what I found on the floor next to the bag:

Those of you who also study a martial art may detect, upon very close inspection, a scarcely noticeable bite-shaped hole in what had previously been a perfectly lovely karate belt. A brown belt. For which, not to put too fine a point on it, I worked pretty hard. As it happens, once the belt is properly tied around the waist of–oh, say–me, the bitten space falls precisely at the center of my back.

Curiously, forensic science brought to bear on the damaged item indicates that the bite is not inconsistent with the mouth–and teeth–of a small creature. Perhaps a dog. Perhaps a small airedale. If the jury will admit evidence on the previous behavioral history of–ahem–the smaller of two airedales who happened to be found loitering in the vicinity of the crime scene, one might assume not be able to rule out the possibility that this smaller airedale might be, as they say on TV, a ” person creature of interest” in the investigation into the belt’s destruction. Further investigation is warranted.

In the meantime, please let it also be noted that the business end of the belt itself is also worth examining:

The tip end of the belt is not the only thing missing. See the two stripes of highly official goju ryu electrical tape? This time yesterday there were three stripes, one of them only recently awarded.

I’ve been demoted. By my dog.