Up & Coming Weekly

November 09, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 7 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM NOVEMBER 10-16, 2021 UCW 7 You think you have trouble? What if you had a herd of hungry-hungry-hip- pos in your backyard? What if they came to dinner and refused to leave? Consider if you will, the strange case of Pablo Es- cobar's legacy of Columbian hippos. On a recent fact finding trip to our nation's Capital, I read an article in the Washington Post by Jonathan Edwards about Columbia's hippo hostage situa- tion. Allow me to elaborate. Once upon a time, in the country of Columbia, there was an international drug dealer named Pablo Escobar. He was a very successful drug dealer. He sold lots of drugs, ran a huge cartel and caused the deaths of lots of people. He was not the sort of fellow who you would want to move in next door to you. Pablo made a lot of what used to be called ill-gotten gains from his crimi- nal enterprises. He made many mon- ies. More than he could spend. Poor Pablo, what could he do? He had all this money burning a hole in his Swiss bank accounts and money bins. So much money, so little time to spend it all. en one day in the 1980s Pablo had a moment of clarity. Eureka! He would build a zoo. Zoos need two things to work — animals and money. He had the money, now all he had to do was buy the animals. Pablo set to work and bought lots of critters including four hippos. Like the Carolina Tar Heels' march- ing band which is the Pride of the ACC, Pablo's zoo was the pride of the drug cartels. For quite a while Pablo's zoo was the talk of the town. But like George Har- rison once sang, "All ings Must Pass". Pablo came to an unfortunate end, one day in 1993, when the Columbian Army caused him to have a sudden case of lead poisoning from which he expired. Like little Jackie Paper in "Puff the Magic Dragon," Pablo would come no more to feed and admire his hippos. It was bigly sad. e Columbian Army was not in the business of zoo keeping. ey sold off most of the animals except for the hip- pos. ey left hippos alone hoping they would have the good sense to die. It did not turn out that way. Hippos are made of sterner stuff. Tak- ing a cue from Mr. Spock, Pablo's hippos have lived long and prospered. Unlike "Puff the Magic Dragon," the hippos did not sadly slip back into their cave. Rather, it turned out hippos really like Columbia. It reminded them of being back home in Africa. Hippos have no natural en- emies in Columbia. e weather and jungles are perfect, a virtual hippo heaven. e hippos were happier than the proverbial pig in poop. e hippos got frisky and multiplied. Where there were once four hippos there are now between 80 and 120 hippos. Columbian hippo experts predict unless something is done by 2039 there will be over 14 hundred free range hippos. is presents a real problem. While hippos in the abstract are cute, 14 hun- dred hippos are not. ey eat stuff. ey trample crops. eir poop causes algae blooms that can kill fish. ey drive out native animals and plants. In short, they are an invasive species, like Uncle Har- old who came to dinner and now refuses to leave. What to do? e Columbian govern- ment realized that killing the hippos is a public relations nightmare. Hippos have become a tourist attraction bringing in money. e local citizens have become hippo positive. ey love them some hippos. When several hippos went on a rampage, the government shot them including a crowd favorite hippo named Pepe. When a picture of a hunter stand- ing over the late great Pepe came out, the locals protested so angrily future hunts were called off. If executing hippos is off the table, what options remain? Jeff Bezos has refused to take hippos into outer space on the Blue Origin because no hippo has $250,000 for a ticket. Taking a herd of hippos to the Mexi- can/American border to seek asylum would be almost impossible because there aren't enough cowboys with hippo driving experience. Can you imagine the damage a stampede of hippos would cause? e mind boggles. In order to avoid a hippo border crisis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture do- nated a hippo contraceptive called Go- naCon which effectively kills the mood for amorous hippos by suppressing their boy and girl urges. Hippos on GonaCon would rather eat than make whoopee. Gentle reader, though you may have troubles, be glad your issues do not include hippos. OPINION Under the hippodrome by PITT DICKEY PITT DICKEY, Columnist. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. HOME IMPROVEMENTS? WE OFFER 100 % FINANCING FOR Home Equity Loans *Some restrictions and limitations may apply. Subject to credit approval and credit history. Equal Credit Opportunity Lender Apply Online at BraggMutual.org MAIN OFFICE 2917 VILLAGE DRIVE, FAYET TEVILLE D OWNTOWN 201 HAY STREET, FAYET TEVILLE C APE FEAR VALLE Y MEDIC AL FIRST FLOOR, NORTH TOWER SP OUT SPRINGS 1570 HWY. 87/24, CAMERON GET BACK TO A BETTER PLACE > VISITNC.COM Fe s like h e (Just not the one you've been in for a year)

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