It's My Fault Maine Got Smaller – But I'm Going to Fix It
If I’d known the U.S. Census Bureau was counting heads in Maine during Christmas week, I never would have gone off to spend the holidays out of state. Unfortunately, by the time I discovered my mistake, the new figures had already been announced.
Not only was Maine one of only three states that lost population over the last year (the other two were Rhode Island and Michigan, the latter due to recession and the former due to so many of its residents being jailed for corruption), but Maine had also somehow become smaller than New Hampshire, the first time that’s happened since the Census was invented.
The humiliation. Particularly since I suspect this is all my fault.
I’m pretty sure the Census folks accidentally counted me as a resident of the Granite State while I was stopped at the New Hampshire liquor store stocking up on holiday cheer (admit it, no one in his right mind would willingly drink eggnog unless there was rum in it). In fact, virtually all the population growth attributed to New Hampshire may be the result of mistaking bargain-booze shoppers for residents. I’ve forwarded documentation in the form of register receipts to Washington that I believe shows that of the 1,324,575 people who allegedly live in New Hampshire (a mere 6,274 more than in Maine), 871,211 of them were just stopping by for a bottle of cheap hooch.
Nevertheless, the Census numbers show Maine does have some real population issues. First of all, people are not having enough babies. And many of these same people who aren’t doing their share of procreating are compounding the problem by dying.
Clearly, something must be done. And as the person responsible for some of the population loss, I feel responsible for coming up with a solution. To that end, I’ve developed a five-point plan for boosting our statistics before the 2010 Census.
First, we have to get as many people as possible to sign pledges in which they agree that during the next year, they will not die. For purposes of this document, moving to Florida for the winter will be considered the same as croaking.
Second, we have to boost the birth rate. To that end, we’ll need to sign up thousands of volunteers willing to sneak into pharmacies after hours and put pin pricks in all the condoms.
Third, we should encourage babies to migrate to Maine by lowering the legal age for voting, drinking and buying firearms to whatever age it is when they get potty trained.
Fourth, we need to put a hefty tax on funerals. Particularly funerals at which there is reasonable suspicion that the departed’s family is serving discount liquor purchased in New Hampshire.
Finally, we must instill in our youth the same deep-seeded principle that Atlantic salmon pass on to their offspring: No matter how far you young people may roam from your native state, when you feel the urge to have sex, you have to return to Maine to do it.
I see by the way all the blood has drained out of the face of the editor of this Web site (would it make you feel better if, instead of “have sex,” I wrote “spawn”?) that it may be time to move on to another topic.
Such as the possibility we’re under attack by robot shrimp.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Portland sewers are once again being clogged with “shrimp parts.” The story quotes officials who seem to think the “parts” (ever notice how you can make ordinary words seem dirty just by putting them in quotation “marks”?) are coming from shrimp-processing facilities, but, based on secret Internet postings by conspiracy theorists, I suspect it’s more nefarious than that.
What if evil space aliens are removing “parts” from shrimp and replacing them with robot “parts” that allow them to control the planet’s entire shrimp population? What if our defenses are suddenly overwhelmed by an attack of shrimp-droids? Think it can’t happen? They’ve already halted the flow in Portland’s sewers. Would doing the same to network TV really be so different?
The merger between tiny Goodall Hospital in Sanford and the giant MaineHealth hospital conglomerate is off, and it’s all because of robot shrimp.
No, wait, it’s really because of the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC sent a 22-page request to the parties for more documents to make sure the deal wouldn’t violate anti-trust laws, clog sewers with “parts” or cause Maine to lose population. Goodall officials said they couldn’t afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would cost to compile all that information, so instead they’re planning to merge with the New Hampshire liquor stores.
Now, for a legal update: The guy responsible for hacking into Hannaford Bros. computer system in 2008 and stealing zillions of credit- and debit-card numbers (including, possibly, mine) has pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to conspiracy and wire fraud.
Albert Gonzalez of Miami faces 17 to 25 years in prison as a result of his plea agreement, but his lawyer says he should be treated leniently when he’s sentenced early next year because his mind was under the control of robot shrimp.
Well, OK, he didn’t say that exactly. He actually said something far less believable. Attorney Martin Weinberg said Gonzalez deserved a break because he’d abused drugs and was socially awkward.
So is Dick Cheney, but does anybody cut him some slack?
By the way, Gonzalez’ little hacking spree – he also got into the systems at 7-Eleven Inc., Heartland Payments Systems and others – netted him $2.8 million, which he used to buy a nice condo, a BMW and a Tiffany ring for his girlfriend. It appears $2.8 million can go a long way toward curing social awkwardness.
All I got out of the whole mess was a new debit card.
I promptly took it to New Hampshire and bought cheap liquor.
Al Diamon will trade you his e-mail address – firstname.lastname@example.org – for your credit card number.