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January 19, 2006


One Good Resolution Deserves Another


I was impressed to see that the Arcata City Council has passed a resolution calling for the impeachment or resignation of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. While councils in other cities fritter away their time discussing mundane issues like garbage pickup, water rates and road repair, Arcata has taken it upon itself to tackle global problems. After all, you can only devote so much energy to debating what to do about a large, persistent and obnoxious transient population hassling people and businesses on the Plaza while at the same time calculating how best to better feed, clothe and house them. This wears thin after a couple decades, and it's only natural that a public-minded servant would yearn for bigger fish to fry.

The Plaza situation, incidentally, reminds me of the frustration I felt when raccoons kept gorging on the goldfish I was putting in a small backyard pond. Afterwards, fat and sassy, they would swagger onto our deck, pillage our recycling bins, relieve themselves in the flower boxes, then intimidate our pets as they washed their muddy paws in the cats' water bowl. "You idiot," a friend said, not unkindly. "You're serving up a steady supply of free food where they can easily get it. Why don't you just put up a big flashing neon sign that says RACCOONS WELCOME?" I should add in all fairness that many of these raccoons were in genuine need. Some had a traumatic childhood, such as being roadkill orphans. Others had been live-trapped and dumped in our neighborhood by NIMBY residents of other neighborhoods, and just needed a helping handout until they could find their way back to their customary territory.

Anyway, I salute the Council for their bold initiative. I have this fantasy wherein a teary-eyed Cheney comes into the oval office and reads the story about the resolution to Bush, explaining what the bigger words like "violation" and "surveillance" mean. Bush looks contrite. "Dick, they're right," he says, hanging his head. "Those Arcatans have always been on the cutting edge of democracy. I think we should resign. As my last act, I want to pass a resolution of my own to add Dave Meserve's head to Mount Rushmore. Or to the wall in my trophy room."

I would like to suggest a few other resolutions for the council to pass. Some might feel that these have little or nothing to do with the affairs of Arcata, but in a larger sense, everything that happens in the world, even the universe, has an effect on everything else. To quote Confucius: "A pebble dropped in the Bay of Bengal will make ripples on the shores of Gitchegoomee, but they won't be very big."

So, here goes:

Whereas, well-wishers whose Christmas cards include tedious single-spaced epistles documenting the minutiae of their family's year need to learn what it's like to be on the receiving end of one of these wearisome epics, be it resolved that they will be required to commit to memory the 214-page Who Wants to be Me: The Autobigraphy of Regis Philbin.

Whereas, you can't go into any store except possibly the Co-op without seeing Jennifer Aniston's image beaming at you with her huge "Who needs Brad Pitt?" 5,000-watt smile frozen on her face, and Angelina Jolie with an "I got him, neener-neerer," smirk on her supersized lips, it is hereby resolved that Anyone Else will be the featured celebrities for a while.

Whereas, knuckleheads who litter or intentionally plow their trucks through lawns or road dividers should not be allowed outdoors, be it resolved that a new "one strike, you're out" law will go into effect, and said offenders will be sentenced to spend the rest of their lives living in Wal-Marts.

Whereas, bullies who tailgate need a lesson in how dangerous this is, it is hereby resolved that it is now legal to slam on your brakes, let them plow into you and reap the benefits of a million-dollar lawsuit, which you can enjoy after you heal from the whiplash. The defense, "A raccoon ran in front of me," will always be accepted, and the state will contribute an extra $500 if you actually do run over a raccoon.

I think that's enough for a start. Once Bush and Cheney resign and the council realizes how much power they wield, it could go to their heads and there's no telling how far away from the business of Arcata they would wander. They may start resolving that you can't abandon vehicles on Mars, or if you launch a communications satellite into space you'd damn well better be prepared to retrieve it and recycle it or future generations on their way to go where no man or woman has gone before might crash into it.

Not that these are bad ideas. After all, a puff of air from the flutter of a butterfly's wing in Madagascar contributed to the awesome destructive power of our New Year's Eve storm. But not much.


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