From: "James B. Higdon"
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2001 8:56 AM
Subject: Re: I must say...
Thanks for the heads up regarding Beth's R v. E piece. She's right, of course, but her essay is somewhat incomplete.
I've been to the zoo, and spoken with a zoo keeper or two. Many of the zookeepers are extraordinarily lazy. They've seen the stinking pile, but haven't even studied their own profession enough to know what kind of animal could produce such a thing. Some of the really lazy ones say it was left by a donkey. They say that because the only information they have regarding the stinking pile came from a fax they received. I checked the number on at the top of the fax to see who sent it, and surprisingly, it was sent from the fax machine right next to the elephant cage.
Now, checking the pay rates of some of the laziest zoo keepers, one finds that the more lazy a zookeeper is, the higher his/her rate of pay. I'm talking
big bucks here. I mean they are the highest beneficiaries of a chimpanzee designed tax break.
Zoo keepers, in the regular course of events, used to be pretty damn competent. They could lead people through the zoo, point out pile after pile, and readily identify the exact animal that left it. And when the elephants began to develop a strain of really bad diarrhea, this made the elephants really, really nervous.
Also, in the old days, there was a vast number of independent minded directors who watched over the work of the zoo keepers. The diversity and integrity of these directors held the zoo keepers to a very high standard. There were even legendary zoo keepers, like Eddie Murrow and Walt Cronkite. They could smell out stinking piles clear from the other side of the zoo, but would never identify the animal until they were sure, and could prove what animal left it. But for the sake of the quality of the zoo, they never stopped their investigation until they could identify that animal.
Now, slowly and surely, all of those free thinking directors began to mysteriously disappear until all were gone. They were replaced, it has been reported, by only a few, like-minded directors, who are never seen. They have all agreed that the conscientious zoo keepers only stir up trouble, and get people upset. So, one by one, unless a zoo keeper agrees only to report what he/she gets off the fax machine, the zoo keeper will be summarily fired.
As an example, the former zoo keeper, who now resides at consortiumnews.com, was one of the best and brightest zoo keepers in one of the largest zoos in the country. He still identifies the piles, but since he is no longer a zoo keeper, nobody listens.
One day, after the largest stinking pile and mass destruction caused in some rampage occurred, I saw the zoo keepers sitting next to a fax machine, staring at it blankly. Soon the fax began to whir, producing a page, and one of the zoo keepers jumped to his feet shouting, "ALL OF THIS WAS DONE BY ONE OF THOSE HORNY DONKEYS!"
"Pssssttt!" I heard from behind. I turned to find nobody there. All that was before me was a cage containing a wolf. The sign on the wolf's cage said, "www.dailyhowler.com."
"Hey, Buddy--come over here," whispered the wolf.
I did as requested and, looking at the sign inquired, "does this mean you howl every day?"
"Well, I used to," said the wolf, "but I've been busy, so I'm averaging about a couple of times a week, and this is your lucky day."
The wolf began to howl the strange habits of the zoo keepers, finally telling me, "You know, just living in the zoo--things get around. Any lemur can tell you a lot more than these zoo keepers, just by keeping his eyes wide open and his ear to the ground."
I was curious as to why so much within the zoo had changed. "Where can I go to find out?" I asked the wolf.
"Well," began the wolf, "there used to be a couple of pretty good zoo keepers, Carl Bernstein and Bobby Woodward--they had some pretty good advice."
"Follow the money," whispered the wolf privately, "follow the money."
"Whatever happened to Woodward and Bernstein?" I asked of the wolf.
"Oh, Bobby is still around, but usually he just sits over by the fax machine with the others counting his money. And Carl, well--he comes by every so often just to say, 'hi,' but other than that he doesn't say much."
So I've taken the advice of the wolf, and I've begun to follow the money. My resources are slim, but I'm doing my best. I've begun to write part one, but that all involves information I already know. I have a stack, a foot deep, of material I need to wade through, and there is much more that I need to find. But if we can't get good zoo keepers back on the job, there will be no end to stinking piles.
Later, Jim H.
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