A few weeks ago, it was a beluga whale swimming 60 miles up the Delaware River to, of all places, Trenton, N.J. Yesterday, it was a bunch of buffalo on a tennis court in Maryland.
I love these stories.
This is a whole category of news: the Large Animals Where They Don't Belong story.
Yes, yes, news as infotainment is a terrible thing. And the shrinking news hole in most newspapers really can't afford to sacrifice more column space for "human interest" chuckle-stories.
But, come on, there are buffalo on a tennis court! I mean, look at them –
– they obviously don't belong there. This is newsworthy.
LAWTDB stories play as silly little distractions, but they may mean something, too. They remind us that we are neither alone, nor completely in charge, and that the boundaries we construct and take for granted are really only porous, flimsy things.
So go ahead and build a private tennis court. Post signs and enlist the local police to keep out the riff-raff. Arrange your life so that you never have to see or acknowledge the existence of such people. Pretend that nothing — not God, or nature, or chaos, or other people in need — can intrude on the little dominion you've created for yourself.
Do all that and, one day, you will still wind up with a black bear going through the garbage in your gated community, or a moose at your mall, or a herd of buffalo on your tennis court.