The front page of Wednesday’s Oregonian announced: Plover Plan Would Draw Strict Lines in the Sand. This got me thinking. What the hell is a plover? And how do you say it? Does it rhyme with “lover” or “rover”? Is it a garden tool? Perhaps it’s the code word that grants admission to George W.’s tree house?
All great guesses, kids. But actually, the plover is a horrible tiny beast with a pointy nose and mouth, claws for feet and no hands. The plover’s magical powers enable it to fly about the sky, this way and that, like some kind of … bird. Yeah, the plover is a bird. But it’s evil, I tell you, since it’s threatening to usurp Oregonians’ rights to go to the beach. And I actually do mean the beach, not the beach shops which are the only reason people ever go to the Oregon beaches.
The plover is an endangered species and therefore our friends at the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation have decided that when plovers want to make babies, we gotta let ’em.
Fifty-seven miles of Oregon’s sunny crowded beaches would have to be sacrificed to the little birdies for their animalistic love-making. Until we see the plovers smoking after-sex cigarettes, the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation says we must stay clear of the 23 segments of beaches that the birds find the sexiest.
When I think of a protected wilderness area, I picture the hundreds of miles of Alaska’s wilderness, the gigantic blue and purple mountains majesty, the only sounds are the chattering of squirrels and the “Hey Boo-Boo” of picnic basket stealing bears. What doesn’t come to mind is several paltry one-mile stretches of the gray Oregon coast, with the wind creating a low whistle from an abandoned bottle of Henry’s, and an Odwalla Bar wrapper fluttering in the breeze.
The Oregon State Archives website says, “[t]he Oregon Beach Laws of 1967 and 1969 protected the public’s right of access to the free and uninterrupted use of Oregon ocean beaches and regulated the use of motor vehicles on the beaches” (arcweb.sos.state.or.us). Understandably, there is some grumbling going on among some coastal Oregonians. Ima Burd-Hayter of Cannon Beach said, “Who cares about birds? All they do is poop on my windshield. To heck with them! Where am I gonna throw my Frisbee?” While Burd-Hayter’s concerns are valid, many environmentalist hippy types may be more concerned for the animals.
I must admit that I’m a fence-sitter on this one. Yeah, of course Oregonians should have access to public beaches, since they are (duh) public. But on the other hand, what about the little birdies? It’s not their fault we invaded their Make-out Point known to us as Oregon’s beaches. So it all hangs in the balance: Oregonians’ rights to shiver on the Oregon beaches, everyone’s white legs blinding everyone else. Or the plovers right to get it on.
Can you imagine the wondrous pleasures humans would have if we were given the same treatment as endangered animals? During mating season (that is, any season) we would have people making sure we had the finest bed sheets, and a tray full of aphrodisiacs to ensure our procreation, not a condom in sight. People would peep through the windows with binoculars and write things down on little tablets. But humans aren’t endangered. Actually, I think human beings are the opposite of endangered – there’s too damn many of us! So maybe we should give plovers the same rights humans have: the right to procreate in peace. And hey, with gays being so much closer to marriage rights, maybe plovers will be able to marry too! We can only hope.