We’re losing a war in Isla Vista, one overturned trashcan at a time.
Worse than disoriented freshmen wandering too far from their dorms, worse than shrieking drunk girls stumbling into parked cars and initiating an endless series of alarmed honks, and even worse than strange men passing a night’s intake of bargain-rate keg beer onto your lawn; an insidious band of violent criminals lurks in the darkest corners of I.V.
The gang of which I speak is, of course, the raccoons. You see them in I.V., rooting through garbage and staring with shiny, beady eyes. You see them on campus, too, scuttling out from bushes and lugging their obese raccoon asses up trees in a miserably protracted struggle. They’re everywhere.
I haven’t always been so adverse toward these bandit-masked, ring-tailed little fuckers. Sure, they made messes and hissed and had crazy raccoon love on my back lawn, but initially, I thought humans and raccoons could coexist. Then, amidst a stretch of lethargy and sheer boredom, I found myself watching a Discovery Channel documentary about these monsters. Among the raccoon’s many traits are adaptability to both rural and urban settings, a propensity for soaking their food in water (thus earning them the false perception as nature’s obsessive-compulsive hand-washer), and their ability to open sliding glass doors. My reaction, after the words “holy shit” fell out of my mouth, was to immediately lock my sliding glass door.
If raccoons have mastered the principle of opening and closing doors, human life as we know it is effectively over. At any minute, a band of them could sweep through any house in I.V. as a whirl of black, white, teeth and claws, skeletonizing its occupants in mere minutes. My personal nightmare is being trapped inside my I.V. shanty, planks nailed over the windows and doors, and my roommates and I cowering like the cast of “Night of the Living Dead” as tiny paws scratch in vain at our chewy human flesh.
One of the roommates vents her hatred of these night creatures by pegging them with softballs. I, however, chose a path of aversion. I know for a fact they’re vicious. Just last week, my open bedside window provided an opportunity to overhear a few rounds between a raccoon I’ve dubbed “Growly” and some meeker animal I named “Squeaky.” Squeaky lost. Badly.
Raccoons have caused some serious trouble locally before. In May of last year, analysis of soil at UCSB’s Orfalea Family Children’s Center revealed it contained roundworm eggs likely expelled during routine raccoon defecation. It’s a potentially fatal disease for humans, but I generally avoid eating raccoon feces or raccoon feces-spattered soil, so I think this may be the one avoidable aspect of the looming black-and-white menace.
In a perfect world, humans could strike an alliance with raccoons. Raccoons could teach us about their culture, their history, their art. They could use their daily scavenging for the good of the community, helping rid Del Playa of the Sunday morning trash load, for example. But this, sadly, is not a perfect world. I’m not advocating raccoon genocide. An I.V. landscape littered with rotting raccoon carcasses would probably cause more problems than it would solve. The only viable solution is clear: intermarriage. We, the residents of I.V. must interbreed with the raccoon population. There are a lot of humans and only so many raccoons, so with a just a few quick generations of really messed-up Isla Vista residents, the raccoons will be effectively blotted out of existence.
Now I just need to decide the most profitable way to exhibit my ring-tailed children.
Daily Nexus county co-editor Drew Mackie is currently gathering raccoon subjects to test his interbreeding theory.