Mr. Spaghetti was a very bad dog, often pooping inside and on his owner’s son’s toys. He would also bark at the Dominos delivery boy who was only trying to do his F***ing job. Mr. Spaghetti is not missing. Mr. Spaghetti is dead.
Why won’t the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police department name their new dog after him?
The MBTA, which operates the T, Boston’s dismal public transit system, recently held a social media contest to name its new K9 unit, a Belgian Malinois. Officials chose the name Hunter. But according to a report from Boston’s edition of the Metro newspaper, the name Mr. Spaghetti received nearly double the number of votes as the official winner.
Over the weekend, fliers began appearing around Boston and on social media urging the MBTA to reconsider its choice. They are surely among the most vivid and bizarre missives ever printed out and taped to a pole.
The fliers read in full:
Mr. Spaghetti is not missing. Mr. Spaghetti is dead. A piece of hail from the sky went through his head last year and shut off his brain. My name is Kimberly Strubell. I am 31 years old and I work at Build A Bear. My son is named Kent but is also 14 too. My boyfriend is Larry Nabisco. He is the regional manager of Build a Bear and works out of Frampton, MA. This flyer is to ask that you pray for Mr. Spaghetti’s soul. He was a very bad dog, often pooping inside and on my sons toys (once pooping on a rare copy of Jet Moto 2 for Playstation). He would also bark at the Dominos delivery boy who was only trying to do his F***ing job but this dog had to give him a hard time. I am very nervous that the dog is burning in Hell right now for his past sins. Recently, the MBTA disrespected Mr. Spaghetti by refusing to name their new police dog after him. Our tax dollars help subsidize the MBTA and they literally spit in all our faces when they refused to acknowledge my dog. I have lost sleep over this matter and become very sick and missed days of work. I ask that you find the MBTA on twitter and ask why they hate golden retrievers named Mr. Spaghetti. My father worked at the Gap at the Hanover Mall with Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys. It was across from Spencers gifts, a place that is a great resource if you want a velvet blacklight poster of Jimi Hendrix and a sick weed leaf. Thank you so much for your time.
My attempts to contact Kimberly Strubell, the author of the Mr. Spaghetti flier, ultimately led me to a Boston-based comedy writer named Dicky Stock. Stock told me he invented Strubell as a fictional persona when he created a Facebook page for her seven years ago, conceiving the character as a “hypersexual surrealist” parody of the kinds of people he was surrounded by growing up on Boston’s South Shore.
“I love the South Shore, but there is an archetype of a person who is sort of trashy—the whole Kimberly Strubell started as a satire of that kind of person. I looked at a lot of people in my life, and took bits and pieces. I thought it would be funny to create a character who is very proud of working at Build-a-Bear,” he said.
Strubell, like many of her fellow Bostonians, enjoys Aerosmith, the Dropkick Murphys, and celebrated local eateries such as the Panda Express in the Prudential Center mall. She says “fuck” a lot, and “tug job,” and signs most of her posts with “hutc or ti,” which, as far as I can tell, stands for “hit up the celly, or text it.” She has nearly 5,000 fans on Facebook, who communicate with each other in Kimberly’s singularly lewd version of New England patois.
All of this is to say Mr. Spaghetti is not a real dog.
Over the years, Stock has created a number of extended storylines for Kimberly, including her battles with local school administrators over her teenage son Kent’s addiction to Mountain Dew and pizza rolls, and her grief over the death of her golden retriever, who perished in a hailstorm last year. Stock told me he saw the MBTA’s open call for dog names on Twitter as an opportunity to memorialize Mr. Spaghetti in real life, and he posted to Kimberly’s Facebook urging her followers to vote for the name. They turned out in droves. After the MBTA chose Hunter instead, he printed out the fliers and began posting them around Allston, the Boston neighborhood where he lives. He said he received photos from Kimberly fans as far away as Atlanta and Portland who’d hung up the fliers in their cities.
Though Mr. Spaghetti may be a figment of Stock’s imagination, the votes for his name were quite real. Which brings us back to the question: Why won’t the MBTA name its police dog Mr. Spaghetti? There’s no provision in the contest that says the name has to come from a real dog, and Mr. Spaghetti seems to have won fair and square.
We’ve reached out to the MBTA Transit Police for comment and will update if and when we hear back.