We live in a complex ecosystem here in the Hamptons. This refers to the fact that everyone on Earth is connected by an average of six steps or introductions. You—my readers—and I are connected because I am a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend. Get it? Good.
I need only look to recent events to support this theory. There exists a writer at Dan’s Papers that I will not identify, but his middle name mirrors that of a very big cat that one may find on the Serengeti. Even though I am a regular contributor to the Paper, I have never met this gentleman. Recently he wrote an article supporting the use of bow hunting in the Hamptons as a way of controlling the local deer population. Shortly thereafter, a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wrote a Letter To The Editor condemning the concept. Let me state that I am a staunch defender of animal rights. I am always there to write a check and offer my support. This is exemplified by the fact that I have three rescue dogs at my home. But I am also a realist that understands that managing deer populations, in a responsible manner, actually enhances the long-term chances for survival of the species. We have eliminated the natural predators of the deer, and a car should not be considered a valid form of population control. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are more than one million traffic accidents involving deer each year in the United States. This results in more than 200 annual human deaths and 10,000 human injuries. Annual automobile related deer deaths are estimated in excess of 350,000. These accidents also cause more than $1 billion a year in damages. The Hamptons is not exempt from this condition.
After the bow hunting article and the PETA letter, a heated discussion ensued with a companion. We were headed out for dinner and just after spotting a dead deer on the side of the road, I made the mistake of bringing up the matter. Needless to say, I defended my fellow writer while she took the side of PETA. In an attempt to diffuse the situation, I tried to invoke some humor into the conversation. I offered what I felt was a comical but valid debate point; “What about the tick you killed when you pulled it out of your scalp yesterday? Maybe I should start my own group and call it People for the Ethical Treatment of Ticks or PETT for short?”
It seems that everyone hates ticks. They are known to carry serious diseases. We spray our yards to eradicate them. We put collars and perform treatments on our pets that not only kill the ticks but also end the lives of their un-hatched babies. When a tick is embedded in your skin, you can’t get rid of it fast enough. This often results in decapitation of the tick. The head is separated from the body and remains in your skin. I liken these beheadings to that of the Mexican Cartel when they catch someone encroaching on their drug turf. As a member of PETT you would be required to simply let the tick enjoy its meal and then go on its way after it is bloated with your blood?”
At PETT, we feel a tick deserves the same consideration as a deer. They are so cute we could just kiss their little tick faces.
I thought my argument was well framed and was quite proud of myself. My companion saw it another way. What followed was the emasculation of Mr. Sneiv. During the course of the spirited debate she somehow managed to make me responsible for the overpopulation of deer in the Hamptons. She even compared deer to dogs. She played the Bambi card. She even delivered a few verbal punches at the Big Cat, who she has never met either. Finally, I sensed that she was getting ready to deliver Mr. Sneiv a groin shot, so I asked to be let out of the car. She then pulled over to the side of the road and sent me off with a “Good Riddance.”
Just coincidentally, I exited the car in Southampton, just a block away from the entrance to the Dan’s Papers offices. The Big Cat was probably working late, sitting in his office and writing another controversial column that would get me in trouble next week. Fascinating…six degrees of separation is real.
Note: No ticks were harmed in the writing of this article. An autopsy was not performed on the dead deer referenced herein and no conclusions have been drawn as to the reason it was dead and on the side of the road. Mr. Sneiv apologizes to any and all parties he may have offended in his address of this polarizing issue. Finally would like to beg for the forgiveness of his companion for his thoughtless comments and behavior regarding the matter. I love you Dear and Deer.