May 25, 2000

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


The invasion has begun. No, not the tourist. I am talking about the army worms. In my yard, alone, I think there are twenty or thirty thousand devouring my fruit trees. Some are starting to munch on my beautiful birch shade trees. Why God didnít make them prefer grass instead of leaves is beyond me. I would love to have an army of worms come and mow my lawn. If it had to be leaves, why donít they come around September 20th when they could eat all the fallen leaves their little tummies could hold. Now there is a project for an ambitious genetic engineer. What better way to get filthy rich than by selling army worms that will eat up your Fall leaves so you donít have to waste time raking.

Perhaps our genetic engineers could come up with giant army worms that could eat all those fallen trees in the BWCA. Then again, giant army worms might be a bad idea. I would hate to have them run amuck eating Minneapolis instead. Pictures of air force jets circling the IDS Building while some giant army worm chomps off a cell phone tower is not a pretty sight.

The other day I saw one of our high school students walking down Sheridan with a bucket full of army worms. I didnít have a clue what he was going to do with it, but I hope it wasnít dinner. Maybe, he was going to use them for bait. Now there is another idea for a new industry. All we need to do is to get one of those fishing shows to broadcast an episode showing how army worms attract fish like blood attracts sharks. We could end up turning our yards into army worm plantations. Maybe, the IRRRB could build an International Army Worm Center for Ely?

With all this lame publicity on how we are going to die from the massive BWCA fire, we might as well publicize our army worm plight and become the disaster capitol of the world. Hinkley has its fire museum and we can have a museum on all the ways we are going to die in Ely. Death by fire, death by freezing, death by army worms, death by overcharges from the PUC Ė we should show it all. Our festivals will need to be reworked to reflect our new plight.

There is nothing that will attract a crowd faster than a good disaster. A whole new industry based on disaster-tourism could bring many needed dollars to Ely. Our storefronts should all be remodeled to look like they just barely made it through a storm. First aid kits should be bolted to every light post. Medical fashions should replace our Northern Exposure look. All government vehicles should be ambulances or fire trucks. Our traffic lights should show green on all four sides. The beauty of it all is that disaster tourism can be year round. We donít need to depend on snow coming or not. If it doesnít snow it is a disaster. If it does snow it is a disaster. We canít lose.

So next time you see a lonely army worm on the sidewalk, donít step on it. Take it, instead, over to your neighborís tree and wish it a happy meal. Army worms are our ticket to the profitable world of disaster-tourism.


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