On the last day of 2010, 100,000 drum fish washed up dead on the banks of the Arkansas River. The next day between 4,000 and 5,000 red winged blackbirds rained dead from the sky less than one hundred miles away in the small town of Beebe, Arkansas. Two days later another five hundred or so blackbirds fell out of the air close to nearby Baton Rouge, Louisiana, having died in mid-flight. Last Tuesday the Maryland Department of the Environment reported hundreds of thousands of fish, primarily croakers, suddenly died in the Chesapeake Bay… too many for an accurate initial count.
The explanation is obvious.
Churches in the affected areas are claiming that god is responsible, citing his holy pissed-offedness over everything from gays on television to Kathy Griffin making fun of Sarah Palin’s youngest daughter, Willow. The tinfoil hat crowd is pointing fingers at HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, which is a government lab that studies communications and surveillance in the ionosphere. They relate HAARP’s many other offenses, such as the murder of Senator Ted Stevens, the drought in Venezuela, and numerous floods and earthquakes around the world.
“Authorities” in Arkansas are claiming that the up to 5,000 birds who plunged from heaven there were so upset with the fireworks that they all collided in midair with one another, died, and fell to the ground to the horror of the children, and the delight of the childrens’ cats and dogs. Scientists are studying the corpses, but say they will likely never really know what happened to the birds, though the fish in Arkansas likely contracted a virulent illness, and those in the Chesapeake Bay could well have been over-stressed by a sudden and dramatic temperature drop.
The fact is that this sort of thing happens all the time. January 1976, 15 million spot (fish) died of “winter stress” in the Chesapeake Bay. The U.S. Geological Service, which keeps records of such things, lists 90 mass kills of wildlife in the United States, in the last six months alone, and says that this is not a bit unusual. Most times it’s a blip on the radar and no one pays much attention, but occasionally someone will notice, take a look back over the last few weeks or so and decide that the world is coming to an end.
For the sake of argument, let’s just say that I am god. (I am not saying that I actually am god, that would be crazy. Every person in the world should be left to make up their own mind about whether or not I am god.) So here I am, being god, and one day I say, “Hey, there’s nothing good on TV, I think I’ll destroy the world today!” But I decide that I want to warn the humans that it’s coming. There’s nothing they can do about it of course, but it always gives me a good chuckle to watch them run around in a big panic. So what do I do? On the one hand, I could make some birds die in mid-flight and rain like splatty feathered stones all over the town fair. The downside is that I do this all the time whenever I want to tell anyone anything (I am divinely angry about church attendance being down, there’s this Kathy Griffin woman, I ate cabbage and my bowels are bothering me…) and no one ever knows what I actually mean by it, but the upside is that there’s already a macro set up for it on my keyboard. I could write my intentions in the sky in giant, fiery, 1,000 foot tall letters… but really, I don’t actually owe those people anything, and I fucking hate feeling like I have to explain myself to anyone. Clearly there’s only one way to plainly say to the people of the world that I’m taking back my ball with actually saying it, so only the people I really like will understand and everyone else can go hang.
Willow Palin’s mommy, Sarah — in 2012.