Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fiberglass Horses

This poor horse has been left out in the sun all day (and apparently painted as well!).  Somebody ought to do something about this!

We were traveling in Indiana in Amish country (actually an area called Kentucky-ana) and we stopped at one of these tourist-trap "Amish" stores which sold a lot of stuff, some of it even made by Amish people.

Out front was an old Amish buggy, obviously past its prime, and in front of it was a fiberglass horse.   It was a display piece and an advertising gimmick.

On the wall in the Amish store was a framed letter from an outraged citizen.   "Dear sirs," it began, "I drove by your establishment the other day and saw an Amish buggy with a horse tied up outside in the hot sun.  It was at least 85 degrees out and the poor horse didn't even have a hat to shade its eyes!"  

The missive went on:  "When I returned from the doctor's office, I was appalled to see the horse was still tied up there!  It had been at least an hour!  This is cruelty to animals!  I will never shop in your store and I will tell all my friends not to shop there as well.   (signed) Animal Lover"

Below this, in red marker, the owner of the store wrote:  "Our horse is not real!"

Obviously not.  But it sort of illustrated to me how people can get upset about fiberglass horses and then go off on a rant without doing any real research first (and we all do this to some extent, even I).   We drive by at 65 mph and see what appears to be a poor horse tied up to a tree.   But we don't bother to slow down to investigate further, but instead jump to conclusions.  And people do this all the time.

On our little island, we have a deer overpopulation problem.   The deer here have no natural predators (wolves, coyotes, etc.) and there is no hunting allowed.  The end result is predictable - a deer overpopulation problem.   On any given night there are eight or so on my lawn.   You can walk right up to them and touch them, they are so tame.

But you might not want to.  They harbor deer ticks, and the tick problem has risen along with the deer problem.  And diseases like Lyme Disease are spread by deer ticks - yes, even here in Georgia.  The only way to get rid of the tick problem is to reduce deer population density.  In other words, the herd has to be managed, since we brought them here in the first place (for hunting, long ago) and eliminated all other predators.

So they are going to cull the herd, which only makes sense.

Yet, some see fiberglass horses in all of this.  They put up yard signs saying "Please don't kill the little deers!" and they write angry letters to the letter saying "Just because someone's flowers got eaten by deer is no reason to kill the deer!" - the classic "straw man argument" if there ever was one.  The issue isn't "someone's flowers" being eaten by deer, but rather a sickly, disease- and tick-infested herd that is overpopulating the island.

These folks are seeing fiberglass horses.  They have drive by at 65 mph and see what they think is an injustice and an outrage.   As you might expect, the instigators of this nonsense tend to see a lot of fiberglass horses in their daily lives.  Talk to them for even ten minutes, and they will regale you with the latest outrage du jour.  We live on a vacation island, and yet they are so unhappy - convinced that dark plots and conspiracies abound.  And I, of course, am the fool, for failing to appreciate how evil and dark a vacation island can really be.

No really, they think this.  Adults, too.  Old people, even.   It would be funny if it wasn't so scary.  No wonder the world is as it is - people will believe just about anything, particularly things they want to believe in.

Not surprisingly, they smoke pot - a lot of it.  People who smoke pot tend to see a lot of fiberglass horses, which is predictable, as it is a drug that alters perception (and tends to make the user see vivid conspiracies behind every tree).

Fiberglass horses.   Watch for them in your daily life.   You will see a lot of them on the television and in the newspapers - issues which are supposed to get you all outraged and twittering, before you bother to investigate the whole story.

Just remember,  fiberglass horses are not real.   And there is little in your life to be gained by being outraged over fiberglass horses.