Friday Report: Don’t sit on your stash |

Friday Report: Don’t sit on your stash

Jon DeVos
Staff Photo |

In 1930, Australian farmers were plagued by Cane Beetles at the same time Aussie biologists happened across an ugly fat creature named the Cane Toad living in the wet parts of Hawaii. Resting chins between thumb and forefinger they thought, “Hmm, cane toads gobble cane beetles, conclusion: huge study grant!”

So they transported a hundred cane toads to see if they would eat the cane beetle. It was a tremendous success, sort of. No one thinks about the still-thriving cane beetle in Australia today because it is so overshadowed by the cane toad problem.

The cane toad has decimated Australian biodiversity. It grows to an incredible five pounds and 16 inches in diameter with a voracious appetite for anything that can’t outrun it. The scientific named, Bufo Marinus, has no predators. Its skin exudes a poison so strong it will kill a full-grown alligator that swallows one. Today, the cane toad has spread throughout the world, including the southern states of America.

One man’s poison is another man’s pleasure.

Bufotenin is in the brew of toxic chemicals in the skin of the cane toad. It’s classified under Australian law in the same category as heroin and cocaine. Ingesting the drug causes hallucinations and an ear-to-ear grin that may last longer than four hours. Enterprising Aussies are distilling toads into illegal sports drinks.

Before long, sure enough, South Carolina legislators and law enforcement were cracking down on folks that were secretly getting high slurping up toad sweat. According to Carl Hiaasen, one of the toad addicts is Skink, the former governor of Florida, hiding out in the swamps in his novel “Stormy Weather.”

Legislatures tried to enact legislation that would have outlawed public toad licking as well as toad-sweat by-products. This type of critical public protection is what good governance is all about. Witches used to grind up toads in their potions, then go flying across the moon, hexing people, tossing children into ovens and raising hell in general. Remember the princess kissing a toad and watching him turn into a prince? Story makes more sense now, doesn’t it? Well, you can’t act that way in South Carolina and they’re taking steps to be sure their kids don’t degenerate into misfit toad lickers.

I am uncertain whether this legislation would be designed to protect the toad or that segment of society who would be offended at the sight of someone licking a toad. Dare we consider the thought of passing around a toad during the next Snowball? Don’t bogart that toad, my friend, pass it over to me. What if a toad licker got so high he sat on his stash? Explain that to your dry cleaner.

Can you imagine grown men and women, Senators and Congresspersons, spending time protecting us from toad sweat? Despite a few deliriously fabulous times in San Francisco in the early seventies, I wouldn’t lick a toad, no matter how bored I got. Where do you draw the line at trying to protect or punish people from doing stupid things?

What we really need are laws directly imposing fines on Congressional stupidity. Someone should walk into the South Carolina capitol building and announce, “So you guys are trying to pass a law against lip-locking Kermit? That’s too stupid, all of you line up and give me ten bucks.”

Just say no.

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