Smallest Snow (Poop) Shovel Ever

I live in Baltimore City, in a townhouse with no garage. Per my previous posts, that means that I park on the street. Therefore, every time there is snow, I and my neighbors have to shovel out our cars.

Yesterday, after Snowstorm Stella had roared through our Maryland land corridors, I had to actually chip my car out because of the amount of freezing rain we received and because the cars in front and behind of mine were still stubbornly there, refusing to leave. I have a large shovel, but it’s unwieldy to use in such situations when taking into account my size (5' 2") and the ice, which meant that I had to resort to using the other one I own, which is itsy-bitsy.

Try chipping your car out with this.

Every time I chipped off a block of ice from the wall surrounding my car, it would slide right under it, which meant that I had to get down on my knees and scrabble around to fish it out and toss it onto the sidewalk or street. I also had to use my shovel to lever the 4" coating of ice from the top of my car which was not much fun, believe me, especially with the wind gusting against my face and exposed back. I would have loved to be able to retire to my house every once in a while to sip hot chocolate before heading out again, but I had to get to my consulting gig and I was already running late. It was taking forever.

As I was cursing and slamming my foot against the shovel to get that edge into the ice, I was reminded of another time when I used a small shovel to clear snow. It was while I was in boarding school, which had requirements for its students to pitch in during snow days to “build character”. My friends and I were assigned to the steps of one of the buildings and as we picked up our shovels, we realized we were one short. That was when I spotted a small metal shovel resting in a bucket against the wall outside our dorm.

“I’ll take that one,” I said. “It’s small and I’m small!” I hoisted it up like I was one of Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs with a pickaxe and off we went. We shoveled the steps and let me just say right now that metal shovels are no joke. The one I had was heavy and cumbersome and I castigated myself for volunteering to use it, but it was too late. After we were done, we trudged back down to the dorm, panting and steaming visible clouds of warm air in the cold, but self-congratulatory in our efforts. As we put our shovels away, our dorm mother came out and waved us in.

“Wait, did you use THAT shovel?” She asked me as I placed it back into the bucket.

“Yes. I did. What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing,” she said with a straight face. Then she started laughing.


“No, it’s just that…it’s the poop shovel.”

“The…poop shovel?” I had no idea what she was talking about.

Her shoulders shook. “It’s the shovel that we use to scoop up our dogs’ poop.” My friends started laughing.

“You used the poop shovel!” They howled, “It wasn’t a snow shovel, it was a POOP shovel!!”

“Well…” I said, “It worked!”

“If it works for poop, it works for snow!!” They laughed. “Oh my god!”

“Didn’t you notice the writing on the handle?” My dorm mother said. “It has the dogs’ names on it!”

“No, no I didn’t!” I said.

“Ha ha!” One of my friends said, “And you put it over your shoulder, what if poop dropped down on your head?!!?”

I never really lived it down. Every time we had “snow duty”, my friends would say, “Why don’t you get the poop shovel?” And then they would laugh again. At my expense. Thanks, friends!!!