I hesitate to bring this up today, this business involving a Florida state senator and her crusade to outlaw the making of whoopee between people and animals, an act that is apparently a lot more common than you think. Unless you grew up in Alabama, West Virginia or Wyoming, and then it's probably a lot less common than you think.
I balk at trying to engage in such a serious discussion because, let's face it, some of you loyal Independent readers are pretty immature and will take my attempt at serious and responsible journalism and reduce it to little more than a series of silly juvenile jokes and quips. Examples would include:
— "So, what's a nice goat like you doing in a place like this?"
— "Baaaaaaa means no!"
— A favorite Beatles song in rural Florida is "I Want to Hold Your Hoof."
— "You know the old saying: You can lead a horse to water, but they really get frisky after a few glasses of wine."
Nevertheless I will forge ahead and, as we begin this meaningful discussion, point out that only in 2007 did Colorado finally pass a law banning bestiality. By way of comparison, for nearly 100 years it has been illegal in Denver — and I am not kidding — to "lend a vacuum cleaner to your next-door neighbor."
So, in our state's capital city, you could not legally borrow your neighbors' Hoover, but until 2007 no one had a problem if you eloped with their St. Bernard in the middle of the night. (The catch was making sure the whiskey cask on the dog's collar was full, because you would need it when the sun came up in the morning and Beethoven was sitting there next to the chair and your neatly folded pants, looking at you funny.)
Anyway, Florida (official state song, also by the Beatles: "I Dig a Pony") still has no such ban, and state Sen. Nan Rich wants to change that. The 67-year-old Democrat from the Fort Lauderdale area has introduced legislation that would put that state on the "Just Say Neigh" list.
"People don't want to discuss it," Sen. Rich has said. "I watch my colleagues. They kind of look down when the bill is being presented. We should be adults here. It's something that happens and it needs to be discussed and we need to fix the problem. It makes people uncomfortable, but that's never stopped me."
If you are not uncomfortable with this subject, perhaps Sen. Rich's next line will help. She held up a newspaper clipping at a news conference and summarized the article by saying, "This one is, unfortunately, a man having sex with his guide dog."
I think I can speak for the entire group here when I say, "Jeeeeesus Christ! His guide dog?" (I might also add: "Yipes, I hope they weren't in the post office" and perhaps even the somewhat callous, "Maybe that's how he went blind.")
Sen. Rich's proposal would make such a thing a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by five years in prison where, on Get to Know the New Inmate Night, in the classic words of Ricky Ricardo to his wife Lucy, someone would "have a lot of 'splaining to do."
Sen. Rich was spurred to action — and perhaps I could have chosen a better and less equine-based phrase, but it's too late now — by a case of what was described by the Associated Press as "a series of goat rapes" in the rural Florida Panhandle village of Mossy Head.
There a man allegedly was having sex with goats. Not singular, but plural. Because there is no bestiality law, he was charged only with stealing the goats.
(Here you can make your own joke, but I will have no respect for you whatsoever if your punchline doesn't include the phrase: "Now there's a real case of kidnapping.")
The goat incident led to Sen. Rich's proposed state law and, according to media coverage, it also led to the actual production of T-shirts that read, "What Happens in Mossy Head Stays in Mossy Head."
I truly believe those T-shirts send the wrong moral message, especially to our youth, and furthermore these shirts are outrageous and insensitive and cause me to stand up now and say, in a loud and clear voice, "I'll take an extra-large. And if they make them, a hat."