The Maine Lobster Defense Protocol
Call me an alarmist if you will, but when I see headlines like the one in the Oct. 26 Lewiston Sun Journal that read, “Bobcats drop Mules,” I become worried about the Maine mule industry.
It’s hard enough to breed mules without pesky bobcats dropping them.
On closer examination, however, I can see that my concern may be misplaced. The story in question refers to a college football game between the Bates Bobcats and the Colby White Mules. No actual mules were harmed during play, although you’d have to wonder if mules everywhere are somewhat puzzled by Colby’s choice of a mascot. Not to mention a little less than enthralled at being adopted by a team that turned the ball over 10 times in one game.
Nevertheless, my concerns for the sustainability of the mule population have abated, only to be replaced with new fears for the state’s goats. Farms in Franklin and Sullivan have reported bears killing their goats.
Even though hunters managed to shoot two of the marauding bruins, there’s no way to be sure there aren’t more. A entire army of bears could be massed in the woods, awaiting orders from an international anti-goat conspiracy to attack. If that happens, we could lose our entire supply of whatever they make from goats. Cheese, I guess. Goat-fur coats, maybe. Hornaments?
To save our goats – not to mention whatever the bears plan to eat when all the goats are gone – I propose taking drastic action. I call my plan the Maine Lobster Defense Protocol.
As you may be aware, the price of lobsters has collapsed, a victim of recession and the sharp decline of the Canadian dollar, which is currently worth roughly the price of one copy of the Portland Press Herald.
It’s difficult to say who’s more embarrassed by that, the newspaper or the country.
In any case, there are plenty of cheap lobsters around. Some businesses in the mid-coast are even selling them at cost or giving them away in order to reduce the supply.
I have a better idea, one that not only eliminates the lobster glut, but also fends off a coordinated attack by the bears.
Ring all forested areas of the state with lobsters. When the bears advance, they’ll either be torn to pieces by the enraged lobsters’ claws or they’ll be distracted from their mission of goat annihilation by tasty seafood dinners.
Either way, we’ll buy valuable time. While the bears are busy fighting the lobsters or eating them, the Asian longhorned beetle will be decimating their habitat. These tree-devouring beetles have been spotted as close to Maine as Worcester, Mass., which means they could catch a bus and be here this afternoon.
By the time the bears get around to retreating to the woods to lick their wounds or sleep off their dinners, there won’t be any woods left to retreat to, because the beetles will have eaten it. Within a couple of weeks, the bears will be forced to seek new habitat. They should try Worcester. With the longhorned beetles gone to Maine, that city might be looking for a new pest.
I wonder if Worcester has any goats.
Of course, with the complete destruction of our forests, we’ll have to put up with some whining from the forest-products industry, which will have a difficult time making forest products. But that’s a small price to pay. And we’ll just have to replace any unobtainable wooden items with goat parts.
That’s what happens when the mules refuse to breed: Mule-dependent companies start laying people off.
Meanwhile, retail development in the state is at a virtual standstill, and southern Maine store vacancy rates are expected to increase from their usual level of around 1 percent to 6 or 7 percent by the end of 2008.
We can use that space to store all the extra lobsters.
Colby College’s endowment has dropped more than 25 percent due to the stock-market mess, but the Waterville school says it will not back away from its commitment to increase aid so that no student needs loans to pay for his or her education. Instead, the financially needy will be given jobs as mule breeders.
The University of Maine System is cutting more than $19 million from its budget by delaying salary hikes and turning down thermostats.
Also on the chopping block, the Orono campus’ breeding program for black bears. I mean, what were they thinking?
University of Southern Maine officials think the economic downturn might actually help them. Because the school is close to home (no bears, plenty of goat meat) and relatively inexpensive, USM recruiters are expecting many students who might have gone to out-of-state universities to opt for a local education (really, we took care of the bear problem, honest).
A new report says Maine derives less economic benefit from cruise ships than does Utah (“attention passengers, we have run aground”), Iowa (“attention passengers, we are sailing on amber waves of grain”) or Nebraska (“attention passengers, you may want to consider taking legal action against your travel agent”).
Frustrated from trying to redeem the last couple of bucks on that gift card you got for Christmas last year? Here’s good news: A new Maine law that takes effect Nov. 1 requires stores to cough up leftover amounts of $5 or less in cash.
Or you can get it in lobsters.
While you can’t deck yourself out in official campaign apparel if you plan to hang around the polling place to politick, there’s no state law preventing anyone from wearing “Vote for the Goat” buttons or “Ban the Bear” underwear.
Frustrated from trying to pass the time on Sunday morning in those dreary hours after church and before the Hollywood Slots racino in Bangor opens at noon? Here’s good news: The Maine Gambling Control Board will decide in December whether to allow the state’s only gambling emporium to crank up the slots at 8 a.m. on Sundays, as it does every other day of the week.
It’ll make for a nice break from guarding the goats.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.