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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Deadly Buddies

This week, the state I live in is considering regulation of exotic pets. Generally, I believe that a new law is about as helpful as a new hernia, but I might make an exception on this one.
You like my new snake?
Yikes! He must be 10 feet long!
12, actually. His name is Oscar, he’s a black mamba.
But he’s gray.
Yeah, but his mouth is black. Here, I’ll open the cage so you can pet him.
Is he safe?
What-do-mean, kinda? Is he poisonous?
Very – the black mamba is among the most poisonous snakes in the world.
I’ll pass.
Don’t worry – he loves people.
Does he love people or does he LOVE people.
Don’t worry, I’ll watch him.
Yeah, I’ll watch from back here. So what happened to your GI Joe collection?
I got tired of it. I sold them to get Oscar.
And when you get tired of Oscar?
I guess I’ll sell him and get something else.
The Roman emperor Somebody-Or-Other had a huge collection of deadly beasts for no other reason than that he was bored, had too much money for his own good, and that he was a complete doo-doo head.
I think that’s what my teacher said in 9th grade history class.
We don’t have emperors in this country, but we have no shortage of doo-doo heads, and many of them are both too rich and too bored. We also have a continent increasingly afflicted by beasts that have no business in North America – or at least not in my neighborhood.
I have no idea what the statistics are because… well, I’d have to look them up, but I’ll bet they’re really bad. The Everglades are over-run by former pet pythons, the sewers of New York feature pitched battles between flushed alligators and sharks (I saw that on TV so it must be true.) The only reason that Texas is not completely infested with lions and tigers and bears is that the killer bees are holding them at bay. I’m still trying to figure out who decided killer bees would make good pets.
I’m pretty sure that Starbucks’ recent policy of social noodging was instigated by irate koala bears – or maybe pandas.
Somebody (who obviously reads more than I do,) told me that the reason we have sparrows in this country is that a bunch of Shakespeare fans brought them over to kill off our blue birds.
English majors can be deceptively cruel.

I don’t much care for zoos or circuses (and I’m a little suspicious of animal crackers,) but at least there, the weird and dangerous animals are handled by people that supposedly know what they’re doing and are unlikely to release them at a Star Trek convention just to see them eat fake Klingons.
Pet hobbyists are not quite so reliable.
I don’t like the idea of unsupervised komodo dragons drinking Dr. Pepper and getting wild in my laundry room. As a matter of fact, I could live the rest of my life without ever seeing a komodo dragon, unless I go visit Komodo or where-ever it is that these dragons belong.
Do we really need the added danger in our lives? Isn't it bad enough that zombies are killing people on TV every Sunday night?
Why can’t we go back to the days when pets were beasts you could actually… pet? If I ever decide to get a pet I don’t relish the thought of hearing hissing and roaring (or killer bee buzzing,) at my local animal shelter.

So go ahead state legislature, do what you can to keep animal predators out of our neighborhoods so we can go back to just worrying about the human kind. After all people, what’s so wrong with a nice beagle?

I guess we take our cue from celebrities.  When did that become a good idea?