Dog the Bounty Hunter store? That's hotter than an M-80 on the Fourth of July

How the presence of an official Dog the Bounty Hunter merchandise store within 3.5 miles of my home has escaped my knowledge until now, I'm not sure. I've always had an affinity for the show, which is unexplainable by any stretch of the trashy imagination. But, man, do I fucking love this show. Maybe it's the fact that Duane "Dog" Chapman hails from the beautiful city of, uh, Commerce City (and often tapes the show in Denver and Colorado Springs). Or it could be Dog's penchant for using both mysticism and a Christian prayer -- I, too, am a witchy Catholic -- before each bounty hunt that keeps me coming back for more episodes. Whatever it is, I'm hooked.

Even my mother, a woman who hates reality TV, loves Dog. I can remember a time when I came home from work and she almost fell off the couch in excitement trying to tell me that Baby Lyssa was pregnant again. And for the record, Baby Lyssa doesn't stop bounty hunting for anything -- even pregnancy. She's a bail bondswoman first and foremost. Not to mention a badass.

Now that I have to go all the way to my mother's to watch Dog the Bounty Hunter (my commune doesn't have or believe in the luxury of cable), I find myself inexplicably consumed by marathons of the show when I do. It's like when you accidentally fall into a full 24 hours of Law & Order: Your whole day is lost. But I can't resist watching Dog, Beth, Leland, Duane Lee, Youngblood and Baby Lyssa bust ice-heads who no-show on their court dates.

There is rarely anything on television that is necessary to human life -- especially under the low-budget, low-brow intelligence of reality television. But there is something about Dog's desire to do right with an unadulterated gumption that keeps me watching. That, and he's been wearing hair/earring feathers since long before it was popular for teenagers to buy clip-on peacock feathers (read: probably dyed chicken feathers).

So, naturally, as soon as I saw the ad for the Dog the Bounty Hunter store, at 2547 Sheridan Boulevard in Edgewater, I zoomed up there. Unfortunately, I arrived outside of business hours, so I could only peek in the window. But I took that as a good sign. You know how when you build something up in your mind as being awesome (like the Ice Capades, your first Krispy Kreme doughnut or your Match.com profile) and you finally experience that thing -- and it's nothing like you thought it would be? I felt like this trip could have ended that way. So now I still have my dreams.

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I've always said that guilty pleasures are non-existent in the real world; you like what you like. The only reason admiring a certain facet of popular culture comes with guilt is if we choose to subscribe to others' definitions of "cool." And the people who make the "cool" rules are usually boring and also lying about the things they like, anyway. I just like Dog the Bounty Hunter, no guilt about it.

So I'll probably go back to the store later this week and buy that oversized pink Dog the Bounty Hunter sweatshirt I saw through the tinted glass. And then I'll wear it to somewhere deemed "cool," hoping that my dream man will walk up to me and whisper "You're hotter than an M-80 on the Fourth of July" (that's a Dogism) in my ear, and we'll live happily ever after. Just like Dog and Beth.

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