Not to be unduly argumentative, but this one's for my donkey basketball correspondents (Readers Write column, Sunday). By the way, I cherish your right to write; that's why your letters ran there and this is here.
Also, I'm not one who's even a tick insensitive about animals being ill-treated. Injured or tormented creatures, wild or domesticated, leave me about as soppy as anyone with normal sensibilities. I just think you've gone overboard about donkeys.
So here are some concepts that seem logical by applying the emotional baggage you dragged out about animals having, as one of you wrote about our debated donkeys, "the right to simply be left alone, to graze and enjoy the open air and green pastures as nature intended."
How pastoral, what a lovely image . . . cut us a break.
By that logic, we ought to set all our dogs free so they can form packs and forage about indiscriminately -- as Nature no doubt intended.
Free our felines. That might help stabilize the population of parakeets and finches and other birds that we ought to set free, too. Cats like to hunt, and birds like to fly. There'll be a nasty shake-out while Nature establishes the right balance of cats per square mile, but heck,let's give 'em the challenges and rewards Nature wanted them to have.
How about putting a stop to feeding birds during the winter, too? All we do is give them a false sense of security and let them overpopulate our neighborhoods.
Let's stop the Preakness and Derby and Belmont and every other race around and close all the stables and breeding grounds. Those horses were meant to be out there on the Plains or in the hills, manes and tails a-blowin' in the wind.
You think sheep like having their coats clipped? You think cows really like being milked by stainless steel machines?
Fishing -- yuk. Clams -- wedig the critters out of bed, with machines. Crabbing -- we steam 'emto death so we can eat them. Plants often die so we can have salad. Talk about inhumanity. Where does all of this stop?
One of the other people who responded to my donkey basketball "Scene" a couple Wednesdays ago said he knew of a donkey troupe owner. And he remembered something that owner said:
His donkeys had provided pleasure for thousands of people and in the process had bought the man his home and sent his kids through college. Having gotten into the business at alland, then, deriving from it benefits like that, he said, was it really logical that he would abuse the animals he virtually lived with for days on end?
OF MICE AND GRADUATES
It's been 10 years since someone let loose a green-and-white laboratory mouse on the Atholton HighSchool auditorium stage during my graduation.
To tell the truth, the scurrying, two-toned rodent is practically the only thing I do remember about that night. That and the fact that the students who looked like extras from the movie "Animal House" were the ones who received the loudest hoots and hollers from the audience when their names were announced.
I can recall that millionairess-to-be Oprah Winfreyspoke at my older brother's graduation in 1979 and that WJZ-TV's Al Sanders uttered words of wisdom to my younger brother's class in 1984. But the name of my commencement speaker escapes me.
No offense, Mr. What-ever-your-name-is. But you'll be glad to know that I ended up graduating from college, and after a poverty-stricken, three-year period of depressing, dead-end jobs from Hell, I finally landed a semi-respectable newspaper job.
We were an intellectual bunch, Atholton's class of 1981. Just take a glance at the choice in our yearbook for favorite movie of the year: "Friday the 13th Part II."
But you really can't blame us for our predisposition to violence. I mean, look who our authority figures were. Our principal's name was Dr. Butcher and our guidance counselor was Mrs. Bonebreak.
We picked Bo Derek as favorite actress. This Bo might not have known Shakespeare, but she converted many a Deadhead into classical music fans with her stellar performance in the scene from "10" where Ravel's "Bolero" played in the background. Other student favorites were Alan Alda for best male actor, "General Hospital" and "M*A*S*H" for top TV shows, AC/DC for best rock band and "punk rock" as biggest fad.
One of my most embarrassing -- and moist -- days in high school occurred during Mrs. Fletcher's chemistry class. Being the young Einstein I was, I somehowhooked up the Bunsen burner tube to the water faucet knob instead ofthe gas knob. Mrs. Fletcher didn't even crack a smile as she wiped the water from her face with the sleeve of her lab coat.
And whileI'm reminiscing, now is probably the time to confess to a crime I committed as a senior. The guilt has been eating away at me for years.