Iguanarama!

Seems as though last night they had a little Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom show up at the Legislature last night. Wish I coulda seen it.

Sen. Buddy Shaw got to play Marlon Perkins for last night’s episode, and Sen. Rob Marionneaux was Jim Fowler. Or maybe it’s the other way around, I dunno.

I always liked Wild Kingdom. Back in the old days when it was Perkins and Fowler, before Perkins fell off the scene, the best part of the show was when Perkins got to play the professorial guy who would calmly tell you about the animals that Fowler would be off to the side getting his butt kicked by.

“The adult boa constrictor can grow to 62 feet long and exert 4,500 pounds per square inch of pressure when squeezing his prey,” Perkins would say. “Here’s Jim with a typical specimen. How you doing, Jim?”

And Fowler wouldn’t be able to say much, since the snake would be wrapped around his head like a turban.

I never saw ’em do shows about iguanas. But thanks to SB 368, this bill that Shaw wrote, I think we could get Mutual of Omaha to sponsor the leges.

Shaw’s bill discriminates against iguanas. It’s like a Jim Crow bill for iguanas. He’s the Leander Perez or Orville Faubus of the reptilian community. His bill would force the dude at the pet store to try to talk you out of buying an iguana before selling you one.

I guess up in North Louisiana it gets cold enough that iguanas could start falling from trees every winter. And that’s kinda kooky. Down here in Barataria we get a few iguanas here and there. Generally we think they’re lazy and hifalutin’ and definitely beady-eyed. But to turn them into second-class citizens, well – that’s just wrong. Next thing you know they’ll send the sheriff’s deputies out with rifles, and…aw, hell, I don’t wanna even think about it.

So anyway, Marionneaux, who’s a big friend to the iguana community – I’m told by my cousin T-Claude, who’s a lobbyist at the Police Jury over in Lafourche and who knows EVERYBODY who’s anybody, that he’s nothing but a bought-and-paid-for stooge for the reptile lobby (and he’s a lawyer, too, so there) – actually brought a lil’ iguana in for the sympathy vote. It wasn’t quite Michael Corleone bringing Frank Santangeli’s brother in from Italy for the congressional hearing, but it was effective.

So Marionneaux was Jim Fowler, fa sho. Thing is, if Shaw is Marlon Perkins he sucks at it. He didn’t come off cool like a cucumber; when he had to stand at the mike next to Lil’ Iggy, he started changing colors like a chameleon. By contrast, Marionneaux was a regular Denzel Washington. So maybe Marionneaux is Perkins and Shaw is Fowler.

And Marionneaux showed off the anti-iguana bigotry in style. He showed Shaw that little lizard and asked him did he REALLY think he was so scary?

Shaw, squeamish, said “When he gets to be four and a half feet long, yeah, he can (be dangerous).”

It got out of hand, though. Marionneaux kept trying to sic the little guy on that mean Republican until the Senate president Joel Chaisson had to step in and tell him “Restrain your iguana.”

Then came Danny Martiny, who’s a Republican just like Shaw, with a bit of smartass that will probably get him the nutria vote until the term limits come to take him away. We nutria love a good smartass. Anyway, Martiny put up an amendment which would extend Shaw’s discrimination to the nauga community. Martiny correctly pointed out that naugas deserve just as much protection and attention under the law as iguanas do. But then he withdrew his amendment, and I understand that will put him in deep dutch with the nauga lobby, the iguana lobby and – even worse – the jackalope lobby. Nobody likes a traitor, you see. And a false friend who deserts you in your hour of need – well, we don’t have pistols at dawn anymore, but we definitely have political action committees. He’s gonna get demonstrations outside his office. The jackalopes are just as bad as SEIU. But you already knew that, I’m sure.

Shaw ended up winning the day, probably thanks to Martiny greasing the skids by pulling out. The bill passed out of that committee with a 21-14 vote. Just goes to prove that discrimination is alive and well in the state legislature.

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