Cheaper When Not Dead

-- a semi-occasional entry by Nathan --

Ahhh, life in the great Garden State of New Jersey. I must share. There is an actual radio station here (the state's most popular station, as a matter of fact) with an actual promotional announcement that actually states, with much pride and flair from the voice-over guy..."Our OWN station. Not New York. Not Philadelphia. New Jersey's 101.5!" Makes me feel warm and fuzzy every time I hear it, so proud am I to have my own radio station. Sorta reminds me, though, of the strategy employed by Avis rental car a few decades ago. They had fought long and hard to be the No. 2 rental car company behind Hertz. And after climbing that far, they figured they didn't have a real chance of being No. 1, so they may as well proclaim, "We're No. 2!" in their advertising. After a while working with the Deuce, they figured out nobody wants to buy (or rent) anything from a No. 2; it just makes them want to find out who exactly is No. 1 and what it is they have that's better. So, in their wisdom, Avis adopted something with more substance: "We try harder." Well, I don't think in New Jersey we have justification for the "try harder" claim, I think we only try AS hard as NYC and Philadelphia, so we just stick with "not New York and not Philadelphia." I guess sometimes what you are NOT says more about you than what you are.

We don't just have our own radio stations here. We also have our own deer. Many deer. Many, many deer. Deer dads and deer moms and deer babies. Pretty much everyone likes the deer. (Especially the deer hunters, who get called in to a state-organized 'deer kill' once a year or so, where they get to 'hunt' said deer on a plot of land set aside for the express purpose of 'managing' the precise amount of mammal-based ambiance we get to enjoy.) A small problem is that New Jersey is the country's most populous state per square mile. And while lots of folks take public transportation, many also drive freely around in their own personal automobiles. And deer being deer, they have a keen interest in what's happening on the other side of the roads driven so freely upon. They also appear to have an interest in the automobile itself. They continually stand by the side of the road, ears turned forward, eyes wide, tails twitching, seemingly thinking to themselves in wonder, "Now would you look at that. These people are smarter than they look!" And they inevitably decide to take a closer look, and they inevitably mis-calculate the speed-to-weight ratio of the approaching contraption, and they inevitably end up either spewed over the pavement for ravens to pick at or flat on their backs on the opposite side of the road from where they were observing, stiff as a 2x4, with all four legs pointing forever skyward.

As it turns out, the state actually owns the deer. Or has jurisdiction over the deer, or some such. When studying their budget over-runs this year, the state determined that they had spent over $1 million removing former deer and parts of former deer from the roadways. With further research they also determined that 80 percent of those deer were removed from county or municipal roadways. Seeking to save the state some money and 'share' the burden, the state subsequently declared that the counties and municipalities should pay for their own ruminant mammal remains removal. "How so?" complained the locals, "but YOU own the deer." As adeptly as a parent of a four-year-old, the state simply re-wrote the law book and further declared that the state only owns the deer when they are alive. Once not breathing or not upright or not in one piece, the counties and municipalities become the proud owners, and are responsible for all 'maintenance.'

I love this place.


Papa said…
Oh, Deer!!!!!!!
Tedd said…
Exactly what are they saying by proclaiming, "We're #2?" Doesn't sound like anything I want to rent...

Perhaps NJ might try the slogan, "At least we're not Delaware."

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