What does the above have in common with the below?
Tuesday, March 01, 2022: Of coyotes, wolves and my doing hard time in a Mexican jail.
BIG BAD WOLFYOTE: I got a dropped off letter reading, “Wolf that ate my cat 15-pound cat in 10 minutes spotted and photographed last Friday afternoon at 25th Street Ship Bottom dune.”
While I’m sure some/many think I’m overplaying this coyote/coywolf/wolf thing, I’ve only been passing on an iceberg tip of the coyotesque input coming my way. I guess I brought it on myself by writing early and often about this odd influx of wildlife of the canine sort.
I’ve unfairly been labeled a coyote-hugger by some, especially those who love feral cats.
Admittedly, I’m drawn to the cat-eating canines out of an affection for any form of wildlife that can perpetuate in the face of mankind’s cruel treatment of all nonhuman creatures.
By the by, my nod of survival approval also goes out to possums, raccoons, foxes, certain species of otters, beavers, groundhogs, hares and even garter snakes. I’m less committed to honoring mice, despite their astounding capacity to successfully propagate while under the heel of humanity.
Back to Island coyotes, here’s a look at the aforementioned late 15-pound cat. She was one sweet gal, which means more coming from me since I’m not what one would call a cat person, though I think they’re coolly soft to the touch – right before they swing around and bite me in an unprovoked fit of something called petting aggression.
Anyway, the dropped off letter was accompanied by an article entitled “Return of the Wolves,” written by David Lee Drotar. The author makes a powerful case for the return of these largest of the wild canines, with an emphasis on what might be the reemergence of the Eastern wolf. It’s a stretch, though a quantum jump in the average size of the Eastern coyote might very well look like a return of the wolf pack.
By all anecdotal measures, the current mid-Island dune-trekking wild canine is stunningly huge.
I won’t rehash the whole coywolf – coyote/wolf mix -- whereby virtually all Eastern coyotes have a genetic longshot to achieve the physical attributes of the wolf within. However, it is well worth re-mentioning that through a genetic law of independent assortment, a coyote litter representative can display the wolfier side of things. Eventually, such a size advantage could lead to its finding a prime female mate, herself an alpha creature. Their offspring might bear greater wolfesque traits than, say, your average coyote. What might that mean in size terms? Let the complications further.
There is very little chance of natural selection reestablishing a wolf subspecies comprised of genetic component parts (dog, coyote, wolf), there is a certainty that any offspring could have the capacity to grow quite large. What that means in what-we-see terms, a coyotes weight ranges from 20 to 50 pounds while wolves can grow to well over 150 pounds. That’s painting with a very wide DNA brush. On a whole, even a freakish Eastern coyotes won’t achieve a maxxed out wolf size. That begs the question of how close might an alpha yote get.
With full respect to modern football and basketball players, they are oft mindbogglingly large. You likely see where this is going. While geneticists will scream I’m comparing apples and coyotes, it’s not a DNA stretch to say that any reproducing creature can tap into the furthest reaches of its genetic potential, precluding genetic anomalies. Thereafter, an intermingling of the largest of the large can make for some jumbo progeny – and so on.
As to coyote jumboness, the US record:
"The largest coyote on record was a male killed near Afton, Wyoming, on November 19, 1937, which measured 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) from nose to tail, and weighed 34 kg (75 lb)." Wiki.
The above was ignobly dismissed by “wildlife experts” as a “mutation” with access to an “abnormally large food supply. ”
You can forget that mutation nonsense. It’s none other than the emerging genetic of coyotes. In fact, I’ll say that record could be taken to task in NJ, a state overrun by both feral cats and whitetail deer. Such sustenance could allow alpha yotes to achievement maximal sizes.
Closer to nowadays:
Don't rule out the possibility that land groupers are also downing cats ...
PESO-LESS, SOUTH OF THE BORDER: I also had quite the bout with pennilessness as a university student in Mexico (1971), after going out for an explore-about in the beyond-dangerous Mexican state of Oaxaca. I was in search of ancient Mayan ruins. With the help of a thought-buddy student familiar with the state, I quickly found them. And just as quickly, I was arrested and thrown into an archetypal celdo de Mexicano. My so-called buddy talked his way out – likely outing me -- and bolted. Little p----!
I was allegedly busted for looting sacred ruins. Quite so. In fact, I had been quite successfully looting, having dug, early on, some amazing gold artifacts. Had I not met up with the local heat, in their wrinkled khaki uniforms, I might have smuggled my goods out of the country and retired at the ripe old age of 20.
My cell, located within a decrepit peeling-paint police station, had floor-to-ceiling steel bars and a raw stone wall facing the outside. Within, there was a beat-up cot with noisy springs below and a thoroughly spent mattress on top. On the floor was a folded Mexican blanket -- the $1.99 giftshop variety.
The cell’s stone wall section had one of those tiny way-up windows -- that arriving rescuers could lasso and pull out, taking half the wall with it. That wasn’t happening. In fact, with my accomplice gone in the wind, nobody, short of my captors, knew where I was. I hadn’t even told fellow students where I was heading, lest they snake in on my hunt.
I sat on the squeaky cot for hours, trying to think who in bloody hell I could contact if I was given a call. Now and again, I'd call out to the officers that came into the station for coffee. But it was like I wasn’t even there. Turned out I was being kept in place for the top cop, i.e., the a-hole chief.
The chief eventually arrived, looking more like a Tijuana pimp, wearing a designer sport suit jacket over a touristy Acapulco shirt and necking three thick gold chains, each holding religious medallions. Talk about dirty, as in oozing corruption. This was not good.
Immediately walking up to my cell, he loosed his obviously American-trained English. “So, you tried to steal our history, eh, amigo?”
Having absolutely no moral obligation to my runaway accomplice, I went with the dumb American approach. “I just didn’t know, sir. Manuel said it was fine to collect old Indian stuff.” I made my appeal knowing it was impossible to bullshit a bullshitter. With a dismissive laugh, he turned and walked over to his desk, proving my own point. I also noticed the classy Italian shoes he was wearing. Which gave me an idea.
Mustering an indigent pose, I declared I was an American and had, uh, "diplomatic immunity." In reality, I had only recently heard the term diplomatic immunity, though my spontaneously referencing it got the chief to look over, albeit in an odd way. I failed to ponder the likelihood that his dealings trumped a little legality like diplomatic immunity. The term "cartel" had yet to be commonized.
The uncommunicative chief quickly departed the office with nary an adios.
I spent a truly miserable night in, say it, a Mexican jail. Talk about having the mick knocked out of me. Come the next day, I was one highly humble prisoner, more so when the chief next returned.
With the immunity ploy a thing of the past, I sheepishly asked what in bloody hell was required to once again taste freedom, even a Mexican version. The chief could have ordered me to wordlessly hike back to the US and I would have offered a gracious “Yo voy, Senor Chief-o.”
Instead, I was told I had to forfeit every peso on my person. Big frickin' deal. Take all five bucks or so. If only it was that quick and easy.
I was then floored by the weirdness of punishments, being told I must also agree to having all my hair cut off. I kid you not, señors and señoritas. Apparently, what I lacked in pesos, I had to make up for in hair -- of which I was well endowed. In fact, my rowdy mop was up there with that of wildly afroed Angela Davis, then a famed UC professor and activist. What's more, I had no deep attachments to my thatch, providing they weren't going down to the roots when taking it. I strained to recall if Mayans were inclined to scalped prisoners. I knew they removed heads at the drop of a hat – a sick pun at that moment.
Even though I highly suspected they still wouldn’t let me go after taking my height down a couple inches or so, I let the chief himself take everyday scissors to my kinky topside. The entire seven-man cop squad was on hand during the shearing ceremony. At some point, they were joined by either family members or folks off the street. I mainly kept my eyes close. I should mention that it hurt like hell to get my hair harvested by dull scissors
For whatever reason, there was almost nonstop laugher and merriment throughout the proceedings. I kinda got into it, making funny faces and noises, which further cracked up everyone. It was an easy room.
Then, holy guacamole, they actually released me, though peso-less and half a third-world country away from my campus.
On the street again, I was a truly a stranger in what had an equally strange-ass land. Adopting a suburban survival tactic I had picked up in previous danger-laden predicaments, I sought out the nearest church. I tracked one down by smilingly approaching townsfolks and imploringly making the sign of the cross followed by upturned questioning hands, the universal sign for "where the hell ..."
Once folks overcame the initial shock from the sight of my haircut, which I had yet to see, I was finger pointed to a quite a cathedral. Passing through huge carved mahogany doors, I took in the faint smell of old-fashioned incense and admired the stained glass windows. Plopping down in a pew, I was profoundly fatigued and ready to release one of my life's sincerest get-me-out-of-this prayers. Lo and boy that-was-fast, the prayer was answered.
A middle-aged couple in a nearby pew, softly asked me, in very fine English, if I was alright. My smart-ass side begged me to respond, “Do I look alright!?” I wisely went with a Readers Digest version of what happened to me, suspecting they merely wanted to stare at my head.
It turned out the couple were, in fact, instant angels, who just happened to own a fabulously pimped out VW bug, replete with faux fur on the dashboard and classic fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror. Just like that, they instantly insisted on driving me back to the university. I was taken back -- and oddly embarrassed. It was one long gas-consuming drive to Mexico, the in-country name for Mexico City. I implored them to simply lend me the very low bus fare for the trip, which I swore -- in a church, no less -- that I would repay by mail. They weren't having it. After a smiling “No way, Jose” they convinced me they loved going to la cuidad.
The drive with my new angels was a gas. We BS'ed and sang just about the entire six-hour trip. They had fairly recently schooled in Dallas, so we had a lot of songs in common. The man had also been part of a Christian band in Texas.
Back at campus, I was met by the shocked faces of classmates and teachers. A dorm mother was so taken back by my prison doo that she immediately sat me down and tried to at least level things out. Handed a mirror, I finally got my first post-jail look at my head. Duuuude! Oddly, I was most freaked out by my sudden overall lack of hair. As to the sick-garden clumps of hair that remained? I knew my hair grew like a weeds, though I was glad when the stares subsided.
By the by, I forewent a total head shave since such a skinhead look was apparently an absolutely taboo look in Mexico. It meant something really bad, though I never learned what, per se. By the time I returned to my school’s main campus in San Diego, I simply looked like a parolee -- with stories to tell about his time in the Big House.
Then there was the time I accidently walked in on a mob barbeque --
Top 5 States to Live a Long and Active Life
(Ranked in descending order with 1 being the highest possible rank)
#1 in Quality of Life
#1 in Life Expectancy
#2 in Quality of Life
#8 in Life Expectancy
#3 in Quality of Life
#2 in Life Expectancy
#6 in Quality of Life
#3 in Life Expectancy
(5) New Jersey
#7 in Quality of Life
#6 in Life Expectancy