when ACME supplied varmint control

I rely on many everyday items purchased via the Internet. Today, for example, Dexter and Comet got their month’s supply of dog chow purchased via Chewy(dot)com. At other times we select Christmas gifts for staff and friends from other online catalogs and they ship within a couple days to our home address. When I am looking for things to deter garden pests, or find hard-to-locate (locally) products, I can often find them via Amazon using Prime for 1- or 2-day delivery.

Before Amazon became synonymous with ordering online, and before “online” was a thing, everyone ordered through mail order catalogs. Mail order was so popular it was part of our culture. What makes me think about such things today, is a childhood cartoon favorite that inspired some creative ideas for pest control I have to deal with now – and for the foreseeable future. For those who may never have watched Saturday morning cartoons with Wile E. Coyote (and the Roadrunner), the coyote was always getting deliveries of ACME items in his comically diabolical efforts to catch the Roadrunner.

All this started coming to mind very early this Friday morning. Dexter began making “chuffing” noises, waking my wife and me. Then I heard coyotes wailing. And I could tell these were way too close for comfort. Expanding subdivisions channel some of these ‘wilderness’ residents from the San Diego River and Cuyamaca foothills (much of the eastern half of San Diego County is still county and state-managed land). For the most part, local residents are not unsupportive of local efforts to preserve wildlife. Before the housing development opened on the ridge above us five years ago, we rarely saw rabbits, coyotes, gophers, or bobcats venturing down from what locals refer as “Rattlesnake mountain”. First, the gophers arrived. They never left. Then, the past year of wetter weather was a boon to the rabbit population. Then, noticeably pet cats and smallish dogs (in neighborhood backyards) started disappearing. One evening I saw a juvenile coyote exit a yard a few houses to the south of us. It was then I started to become “coyote ugly”.

All over the country coyotes are becoming a nuisance. While I used to have sympathy for Wile E. Coyote whose misadventures while attempting to catch the Roadrunner were the stuff of my childhood, I am thinking of ordering ACME equipment The Roadrunner was NEVER harmed, but the coyote always was on the losing end of the magnets, rockets, dynamite, anvils, or glue.


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