Elliot: The Grinch who stole the border

PETA, crocodiles, and the problems with sidewalk salt in the so-called modern world.


Hundreds march to College Green Park on June 30, 2018 to protest recent immigration policies that have resulted in children being separated from their parents at the border. (Sara Avalos/The Daily Iowan)

Beau Elliot, Columnist


What about ice? Yea or nay, or just leave it in the drink?

Dear Ice Person Goeth:

You talking sidewalk ice? Because we detest — no, abhor — sidewalk ice. So does our snow shovel, apparently, given that it won’t touch the stuff. Of course, our snow shovel is so old it probably predates the invention of ice.

Sidewalk salt, you say? Yes, we’ve heard of that. We’re not so old that we haven’t heard about all the new, high-techie whatchamacallits, such as AOL. And MySpace.

So yes, we have sidewalk salt. Being good-hearted liberals, most of the time, we bought super-, no, hyper-green sidewalk salt — so hyperly environmentally friendly that you could feed it to your child. Or dog. Not, of course, that we suggest you do so.

This salt is so green and cuddly that it doesn’t actually melt ice, apparently because ice is part of the environment. So our moat remains frozen over even though we poured enough salt on it to form an impressive inland sea. And all the crocodiles died. (Don’t tell PETA.)

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Of course, if you meant the ice in the Arctic, Greenland, and the Antarctic — ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

That ice is all going away. Like the dolphins (or porpoises) in Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. We haven’t noticed the ice thanking us for all the fish, though.

A sobering note: An experienced mountaineer told NPR recently that there are now mosquitoes at 7,200 feet on Denali.

Which is more shocking (and ludicrous) than crocodiles in an Iowa City moat. (Don’t tell PETA.)

So our moat remains frozen over even though we poured enough salt on it to from an impressive inland sea. And all the crocodiles died.”

Doc Marten:

What do you have against PETA? And for that matter, vegans?

Dear Clever:

We should give you the Boot for that. (Sorry, City High; you weren’t going to win it, anyway.)

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We have nothing against PETA. Or vegans. Though sometimes you can be so PC that it becomes CP. (Counterproductive, not to join the national craze for abbreviating every word, including “a.”)

Dear Grammar-ish:

What’s wrong with abbreviations? Thts hw al my frnds tlk.

Dear Abbreve:

What’s not wrong with abbreviations? Might as well use “they” and “their” as singular pronouns and turn your language into complete gibberish instead of merely two-thirds gibberish.

Dear Doc-ish:

What about the government? Is it nervous time yet?

Dear Nervously Viewing Reality:

What government?

OK. There’s still enough government to kick around, if that’s your inclination. City, county, state, most of the federal. Which is to say, Mark Twain, Will Rogers, and Donald Kaul, were they still around, would not lack for material.

And, of course, there’s still a partial government shutdown, though saying “partial” seems to diminish it, somehow. As if one were to say a partially broken ankle. We’ve had one; it’s still broken, still hurts like hell, and you’re still on crutches.

Some 800,000 federal employees are not being paid, though a great number are still working without that pay. And they have such items as mortgages or rent, car payments, student-loan payments, utilities, and all the other musts of modern life. Some have started to resort to food banks and food stamps (now known as SNAP).

Curiously, Trump in his recent address on the shutdown didn’t mention the out-of-work federal employees. Not once. So the Grinch for All Seasons remains the same nice old white guy we’ve come to know and love.

Yet, the Grinch in Chief remains wedded to his beloved border wall (though he keeps renaming it, as if painting a rose on a pig makes it a garden). Nobody but his base loves the wall, including Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, whose district includes more miles of border than any other congressional district. Hurd is a former CIA agent. He might know something about security.

Oh, well. Meanwhile, anyone know a hauling company that can dispose of some frozen, dead crocodiles? (Don’t tell PETA.)

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