On Sunday, a group of around 300 protesters marched toward the mayoral residence in St. Louis, demanding the city’s leader resign after a recent scandal. As is so often the case in life, however, it was not the destination that proved troublesome, but the path taken. Around 7pm, the group of demonstrators passed by the gauche, million-dollar residence of two area personal injury attorneys, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, and the rest is viral video history.
The McCloskeys, decked out in their usual Sunday attire (an unfortunately horizontally striped, mustard-stained top for Patricia, Mark’s barefooted hammertoes peeking out from under a pair of boys department Dockers), emerged from their home to confront the non-dangerous situation. Stockily-built Mark, armed with an automatic rifle and the steely glare of hot-dog-fueled determination, bellowed private property warnings at the protesters, miraculously not suffering a heart attack in the process, while his devoted wife did the same, carelessly waving a tiny, McCloskey-family-baby-dick-sized pistol.
The McCloskey’s claim they were having dinner on their back patio when the angry mob stormed and destroyed the iron gates of their property, hurling violent insults at the couple and, more disturbingly, threatening their dog. These claims have yet to be substantiated, but if there’s one thing we know about rich white personal injury attorneys, it’s that they rarely lie.
While local and national news outlets have rushed to get interviews with the newest gun-toting millionaire heroes of privilege, I went a different route.
After a few well-timed phone calls and a couple cashed-in favors to the animal community, I was able to land the interview that nobody else knew they needed. I chatted with the McCloskey family dog, Rush Limbark, this afternoon via Skype.
ME: It’s a pleasure to speak with you. Should I call you Mr. Limbark, or Rush?
RUSH: Rush is fine. Mr. Limbark was my father, whoever he was.
ME: Haha! Of course.
RUSH: *strikes match, lights cigar*
ME: Alright, I’ll just get right to it with my first question.
RUSH: Shoot. *wink*
ME: Ok. First of all…who’s a good boy? Are you a good boy? Whooooooosa good boy?
RUSH: *tail wag* I see what you did there.
ME: Just breaking the ice. So, how long have you been part of the McCloskey family?
RUSH: Well, I got here in 2012, so over 50 years now. Feels longer, to be honest.
ME: And are you generally happy with your home life? Are Mark and Patricia good parents?
RUSH: For the most part, things are fine. I kinda do my thing, they do theirs. I’m not a fuckin puppy. I can handle myself, and they get that. Although…
RUSH: It’s just that, they’re not overly-affectionate.
ME: How so?
RUSH: *puffs cigar, sighs* There are times when they seem more focused on their careers than on my emotional needs.
ME: Have you ever told them this?
RUSH: I’ve eaten a couple pairs of Mark’s vacation moccasins. Ripped through a dozen or so rolls of toilet paper. Shit on their bed pillows. So, yeah. I think I’ve made myself abundantly clear.
ME: I see. Have they ever been violent with you?
RUSH: Never. I mean, there’ve been some words, of course. Some verbal admonishments, but that’s how parents are. I mean, sure, Patty’s threatened to tie me to a cinder block and throw me in various bodies of water, but that was a long time ago. Kids need discipline. I was an ornery little shit.
ME: I can see that. Now, were you on the patio during dinner when the protesters marched by?
RUSH: I sure as fuck was. It was pork chop night. *tail wag*
ME: And what, if anything were the demonstrators yelling at Mark and Patricia?
RUSH: Nothing that I could tell. They were screaming about the mayor and lives and I guess they stepped through the gate. I think so, anyway. I was pretty focused on those pork chops, in all honesty.
ME: And when did Mark and Patricia go inside and arm themselves?
RUSH: No idea, but when they did, I jumped up on that table and got those fuckin pork chops. The rest of the night was a blur. I chased the chops with the rest of Mark’s whiskey sour and passed out by 9.
ME: So, I’m sure you’ve seen the photos and media coverage of your family. They’re internet sensations.
RUSH: So was that fuckin Salt Bae. Where’s that idiot nowadays? These things ebb and flow.
ME: Do you think your parents are unstable?
RUSH: *inhales cigar, coughs out cloud of smoke and laughs* Oh fuck yeah! Those two are battier than an on-deck circle. It’s only a matter of time before they murder someone. But who isn’t, am I right?
ME: How does that make you feel? Doesn’t that concern you?
RUSH: Listen, pal, if there are unattended pork chops involved, those crazy bastards can do whatever the fuck they want.
Sometimes, the most enlightening interview subject is the one you least expect. This wasn’t really one of those times. Rush Limbark is a dog, and a rather undesirable one at that. We continued talking for another 20 minutes, mostly about St. Louis Blues hockey and whether or not a dumpster should be used as a swimming pool (he’s in favor). When we ended the conversation, I was left with the notion of nature vs nurture. How much of Rush Limbark’s personality came from his upbringing? Was his coarse, abrupt character something he was born with in that litter of 5, or was it simply a clay pot of abrasiveness, molded by years of verbal abuse and questionable parenting practices?
A question like that can’t be answered in a lifetime, much less an afternoon. It’s a complex quandary, faceted with intricacies of the canine psyche we may never understand. But it’s not just a dog’s mind we have to factor in. Authority figures playing doggo mom and dad, hellbent on shaping domesticated animals into their perfect pal are also affecting the answer. You can look at it from every angle, but just when you think you’ve got a clear view of the truth, sloppy-assed external forces like the McCloskeys enter the fray and disrupt your whole notion of what’s right.
My conversation with Rush did nothing but make me question how he came to be the way he is today. To be honest, I’ll never know, and maybe it’s better that way. When it comes to nailing down a definitive answer to the “nature vs nurture,” debate, the target of truth keeps moving just before we can shoot our shot, and the only solace we can take, is that we packed enough ammo to keep on firing.