Friday, March 13, 2009

Canoe Believe the Nerve of Some People?

It’s time for my semi-annual Chronicle of Things That Make Me Angry Enough To Wrestle a Rabid Porcupine.

Today, I have two items on my loathing list. First, as is customary: The Maine Legislature.

A new bill would require a $19 license for anyone over 16 to canoe or kayak on fresh water. Those already holding a fishing or hunting license would be exempt.

I’m angry at our lawmakers for not doing this a long time ago.

Anything that would discourage people from taking their kids out into nature marks progress in my book. Kids should remain safe indoors, playing Wii, where they can build their cardiovascular health by enjoying pretend outdoor sports.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jane Eberle (D-South Portland), believes the “non-consumptive user” of the outdoors should pay their fair share of protecting “the things that make Maine special.”

Absolutely! In fact, we should also require a license for other “non-consumptive users,” such as hikers and cross-country skiers.

Want to take a walk in the woods behind your house? Do you like to sit on a rock and listen to the sweet song of the black-caped chickadee while the leaves rustle in the breeze? Twenty dollars, please.

This bill sends a powerful message: only the small, pathetic minority of people who value the outdoors should pay for its restoration and protection.

There are a few misguided twerps who might suggest we are all impacted by the outdoors in some way, and that we should tax the people who directly threaten species and ruin the outdoors, instead of those who enjoy them with no impact.

Any lunatic who supports this position clearly has no grasp on reality. For starters, mills and developers have lobbyists, whereas kayakers do not.

Secondly, avoiding extra taxes on paper goods, hazardous chemicals, gasoline, and other products that lead to pollution will help the economy. The economy is the whole reason we’re talking about this anyway.

So pay up, you LL Bean-wearing yuppie hipsters, before even more of your precious little natural habitats succumb to the sweet steamroller of progress.

* * *

Every so often I have to go on and remind myself why I don’t bother to pay for television.

My wife’s favorite show used to be “Monk,” the series about the obsessive-compulsive detective played by Tony Shalhoub, and the San Francisco PD’s homicide unit, which couldn’t investigate its way out of a paper bag without him.

In recent years, the show has gotten way too predictable:

MONK (to pompous, detestable antagonist): “I know you did it.”

VILLAIN: “You have no proof.”

MONK (suddenly overpowering his crippling nervous insecurities): “No, but in a moment you are going to start talking about a piece of artwork in your house that has an obvious connection to the murder.”

DETECTIVES: “How does he DO it?!”

The comedic value of Monk’s affliction has gone down the toilet as well, ever since his spunky, no-nonsense assistant Sharona was written out of the show in favor of Natalie the doormat.

Sharona’s own character weaknesses and her take-no-crap approach served as the perfect foil to Monk’s self-absorbed impertinence. But the folks at USA Network must have thought they could improve their male audience demographic by replacing her with an ultra-submissive blonde with no depth of character.

What a fantastic example for young girls.

Another reason to shut off the TV and go outside.

Oh, wait… never mind.


Seth said...

Canoeists are not non-consumptive users, it costs a lot to search for drunk idiots who drown themselves. That is completely paid for by fisherman and hunters whom pay for the IFW.

chuckrates said...

By that logic, any hiker or camper could be a "consumptive user," depending on their orienteering skills.

Besides, how many drunk idiots are in canoes, as opposed to carrying around guns?

About 30% of the IF&W budget comes from the general fund, which I should think would more than cover the average number of canoeist rescues that take place in a given year.