The Peanut Gallery, March 8, 2011

Dearest Reader, I owe you my apol­ogies, for I am about to steal a small piece of your naivety. While you anx­iously wait for spring, glorying in vi­sions of lollipops, sunshine and flying bits of plastic, a nefarious trade in liv­ing creatures is occurring all around you. In true gonzo style, I have infil­trated this subterranean, seamier side of Whitworth campus life: the dark world of dorm room pets. Yes, that cheery, Christ-like neigh­bor of yours may be using her room as a haven for illegal animals. We’re not talking about your average beta-fish dabbling, done “just for the experi­ence.” These addicts have been known to harbor “hard” animals – puppies, bunny rabbits, snakes, ensnared squir­rels, cats … even ferrets (there’s no way that musk in your hall is produced by a human being).

Sure, the “cool kids are doing it,” but there are unseen consequences to this kind of thing. For example, I was fol­lowing a lead that a Coloradan sopho­more was hiding a cougar named “Kit­ty” under his bed. Imagine my surprise when – expecting a mountain lion – I was nearly seduced by a 47-year-old Ukrainian woman.

However, many of these dangerous repercussions can be circumvented if the administration is willing to adopt proactive (some may say radical) pol­icy changes. If the ban on animals is repealed, we can actively regulate, con­trol and tax what is currently a black market (cue Peter Tosh here). We all know that ASWU needs more student leadership positions; you could be the first Zoological Affairs Coordinator.

Legalizing pets will be a positive force on campus. Countless studies have shown that animals have medici­nal qualities, providing companion­ship and something to stroke. After all, our ancestors lived in community with their livestock (developing immunities to all kinds of diseases), and the Bibli­cal precedent is endless. David’s sheep, Balaam’s ass, Jonah’s whale, Moses’ frogs, the Harlot’s dragon, Eve’s serpent … the list could continue for pages. Je­sus himself was born in the company of doe-eyed camels and cows, accord­ing to the Nativity displays.

Animals could improve campus in multitudinous ways. A petting zoo can be built around the Campanile; the chemistry department can apply make-up to live pigs; Beck Taylor can model Don Corleone and buy a cat; the swim team can improve its times by racing sea lions and any waste pro­duced can be become fertilizer, mak­ing Sodexo ever more sustainable.

“But wait,” you may say. “Aren’t enough beasts around already?”

It’s true. We will always have the Mac and BJ freshmen butting heads over the pretty blonde in Spanish class (though we all know who would win that contest, and with a smile on his face), or the goon who sees fit to in­terject his bloated opinion in every discussion. These creatures and more already characterize campus life. Still, a legalized pet market will help drown them out, leaving the rest of us with a furrier, more enriched community.

By Taylor Zajicek