Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tonight’s Episode: The Wild Jungle

Good evening, and welcome to another episode of the award-winning public television series, “The Wild Jungle.” I’m your host, Sir Nigel Pifflepants.

Our film crew recently traveled to a deep, dark jungle region known as the I-84 corridor in Connecticut, a well-traveled migration route where herds of native species make the perilous morning trek from their lairs and dens to various food sources and then back again each evening.

As dawn breaks, we see the well-worn path is already bustling with activity. As the hungry herds race to their feeding grounds, a great predator lies in wait, the dreaded and powerful statetrooperis speedtrapicus, the king of the jungle, commonly known as the Ford Police Interceptor.

On this particular morning, we observe the typical hustle and bustle of the I-84 route. But just beyond a slight rise in the terrain, our telephoto lens spies an Interceptor quietly crouching along the edge of the path. As animals streak over the crest and catch their first glimpse of the waiting predator, they suddenly decelerate in fear, and try their best to blend in with the herd while avoiding eye contact.

The trembling creatures repeatedly glance backward to see if the Interceptor has targeted them. But this hunter can be very patient. He will wait for long periods of time, his laser-like vision monitoring the passing review until the perfect victim comes along.

Suddenly the predator leaps into action. Look at him go! He bounds onto the pathway with a surge of V-8, four-barreled acceleration. A high-pitched wail and flashes of red and blue tell the world that this hungry carnivore has selected a target.

On this particular morning, the Interceptor has set his sights on a frisky Camaro who strayed from the herd and foolishly frolicked ahead of the pack. Other creatures veer to the side as hunted and hunter race by. Just look at that power and speed!

The relentless pursuer eventually closes the gap and triumphantly forces his victim to the side of the path in a swirl of dust. And so, the chase comes to an end as abruptly as it began.
Upon seizing his prey, the undisputed king of the jungle oftentimes pauses, gathering himself for the final kill — while also running a computerized license plate check. During this interminable wait, the helpless victim is indeed a pitiful sight, morosely pondering his unfortunate fate, and sitting in full view as the rest of the herd passes by.

Other herd members look at the sad scene, sorrowful that a fellow creature has met such an untimely demise, while at the same time flooded with relief that, at least this time, it was not them.

But empathy and compassion have no place in the violent jungle. The teeming herd must quickly forget the unfortunate spectacle and concentrate on the task at hand: continuing the journey and the relentless quest for sustenance. And lest we forget, other Interceptors are out there, stalking the thoroughfare, waiting to pounce.

It is a story as old as life itself. The continuous struggle for survival. Kill or be killed. Fight or flee. Eat or be eaten. Paper or plastic. Boxers or briefs. Ginger or Mary Ann.
Thank you for tuning in to our stark and graphic presentation of ruthless predators in the wild. And speaking of ruthless predators, stay tuned for yet another pledge break.

Next week we will study a different violent, survival-of-the-fittest environment: the suburban shopping mall. Until then, I’m your host, Sir Nigel Pifflepants, saying good night.

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Reminder: This Sunday, May 1st, I’ll be speaking at St. Thomas the Apostle church in Oxford, CT. Potluck supper begins at 5 pm. See you there!

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