ZYTARUK: File it under ‘Who cares?’

Surely you’ve seen that Pulitzer prize-winner this week about the Florida cop who ‘heckled’ a tortoise?

So let it be written…

Clearly we are full-on into the silly season.

What’s the silly season? That’s journalism-talk for when people go on vacations, governments are relaxing more than usual and we start being fed a steady “news” diet of Ogopogo sightings, fishing trawlers hauling up giant squid carcasses from the briny deep (hey wait, isn’t that the Cadborosaurus?), and, of course, cats chasing dogs up trees.

The silly season has traditionally been a summer phenomenon, but got an early start on April 19 as witnessed by this spectacularly unwieldy headline in the Daily Mail: “Tortoise who fell off a 10ft wall and cracked its shell while trying to run away from a dog gets it repaired with $4,000 worth of screws, zip ties and glue.”

Considering more recent international news, surely you’ve seen that Pulitzer prize-winner this week about the Florida cop who “heckled” a tortoise?

The Associated Press has indeed been busy. This “story” happened in Dunnellon, Florida. Literally, on the other side of the continent. It involved a county sheriff blathering on about a tortoise doing one mile per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone.

The story says he followed the aged reptile for 20 minutes or so before it crept into the woods.

Stop the presses.

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In the meantime, wars rage on, people starve and government corruption is rife, as are crazy world leaders.

The oceans are filled with plastic, glaciers are melting, forests are burning, water sources are drying up, villages are flooding, volcanoes are blowing up, earthquakes are rumbling, lightning is striking, airplanes are crashing, trains are derailing, terrorists are terrorizing…

There’s also threat of nuclear war, school shootings, and oh yeah, cancer.

Meantime, the Associated Press this week also furnished us with a story out of Ithaca, New York about a raccoon getting its head stuck in a jar of mayonnaise. Firefighters rescued it.

“The critter was last seen running toward a nearby creek,” AP’s story concluded.

We may all breathe a little easier.

Here’s another story this week from the venerated Associated Press, dateline Berlin. City officials in Offenbach, not far from Frankfurt, are trying to “evict” a big catfish from their municipal pond because it’s eating ducklings.

And there it is; a tiny story about a big catfish that made it all the way across the Atlantic — or the Pacific, if you prefer the opposite direction — to us here in Surrey.

So why do we indulge in this dreck? The irony is not lost on me that I’m repeating stories here that I consider to be, well, not of great import, to say the least.

But there are two arguments to be made here.

One, we’re collectively becoming less intelligent and therefore consider this sort of thing to be important news.

Two, that we’re so stressed out from all of the above, and more, that we need a psychological break from the chaos and seek thumb-sucking solace in cop-versus-turtle stories and the like, and the more mundane/banal, the better.

Maybe we all need a vacation.

So let it be done.

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