Shell Shocked: The balance of nature
I recently convened a meeting of representatives from many of the wildlife species in Sanibel. There were long lingering issues that needed to be addressed, such as the embarrassment to the entire sea turtle family when it was revealed that an alligator had fathered some newborns.
I believed that if all the wildlife in Sanibel is going to live in harmony then occasional issues needed to be worked out through democratic means.
I used my Bailey’s gavel to open the meeting and called the roll. Twenty-seven wildlife species were present. The manatees were in Miami on vacation and the blue herons were off filming a commercial. But, pretty much everyone else was represented.
I began: “I’ve been asked to chair this meeting because of my long abiding love for nature and my big mouth. We’re here today to iron out some issues some of you have. Our goal is to preserve the harmony that presently exists between man, nature and CheeBurger, Chee Burger. By ironing out these issues in a democratic manner, we can avoid the repercussions of entangled lawsuits and worse, holy wars. Please make your comments brief and don’t leave your seats to try to eat anyone.
Sea Turtle, you have a grievance. Please begin.
ST: I’m appalled to be in the same room as the alligator a few tables down. It’s like trying to bring Iran and Israel to a bargaining table. The only reason I’m here is to let the world know just how mean alligators are. One of them seduced my daughter and you should see the nest she just gave birth to. Can you imagine a hybrid sea turtle-alligator? It looks worse than Caitlin Jenner. I’ve had to send them to boarding school in North Carolina.
Alligator: Well, if you brought up your children to avoid wild jungle parties this wouldn’t have happened. Try paying attention to proper parenting next time.
Me: (using the gavel to knock out a small sparrow). Enough. Let it be understood that there will be no species integration in Sanibel. Stick with your own kind and everyone will be the better for it. Next?
Owl: I’m very upset with the geckos. Ever since the Geico Gecko achieved fame and fortune, every gecko in Sanibel claims to be its brother, cousin or uncle and insists on special privileges. I will not agree to a gecko celebrity reality show. This isn’t what Sanibel is all about.
Gecko: You’re just jealous because we stole the spotlight from you owls. All you do is make strange noises and scare the hell out of people. You guys are always used in horror movies to announce dread and danger.
Me: That’s enough also. Learn to get along. Drop your undeserved egos and remember that you’re all in Sanibel, not Hollywood. Geckos, owls, if you two breeds don’t learn to get along I’ll recommend to the city council of Sanibel that you be replaced by crickets and hawks. Next.
Hawk: I’m not sufficiently respected as king of the birds. Just because I sit on the causeway rail every day staring out at the diving dolphins doesn’t mean I’ve given up my throne. I wish to be idolized and obeyed.
Egret: King of the birds? Ha. You mean to tell me that your throne is the causeway rail? And you expect every bird in Sanibel to kiss your beak? You have no idea what issues we have right here in Sanibel because you’re an absentee icon.
Me: Okay, okay. Let’s just cool it. This is a town hall meeting, not a hanging court. Mr. Hawk, from what I’m hearing you’re just never in Sanibel. Can’t you pay us a visit once in a while?
Hawk: What and cow tow to those ugly birds? I’d rather fly to Cuba where I know I’ll be respected.
Giraffe: Speaking of being respected, how about me? I’m the only giraffe in Sanibel. I’m taller than most of the trees and houses. I can eat spinach from any roof top in Sanibel. Yet, no one even knows I’m here.
Me: What’s a giraffe doing in Sanibel and at this meeting anyway? You’re not indigenous to this area. You belong in Africa. What are you doing here anyway?
Giraffe: They brought me to the Bronx Zoo where I was supposed to hobnob with gorillas, tigers and pandas. I have nothing in common with any of them. Besides, they barely come up to the middle of my legs. I heard that Sanibel adores wildlife, so I hitch hiked a ride down here. And now I’m finding that alligators mate with sea turtles. What kind of place is this anyway?
Me: Listen up, everyone. It’s clear we have many issues among you different species of wildlife. They can’t all be settled in one day. Let’s schedule another meeting for next month and now run over to Doc Ford’s for some Black Russians. That ought to get everyone reading from the same page.
-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.