A wild perspective on the government shutdown


My name is Randy, and I’m the raccoon resident of the dumpster enclosure at Yellowstone National Park’s Bridge Bay Campground. The park rangers refer to me as a “nuisance raccoon.” I’ve lost my fear of humans and ability to forage for natural food like fruits and nuts, the stuff that non-nuisance raccoons eat. Imagine trying to eat raw acorns after tasting the flavor-explosion of Jacked Ranch-Dipped Hot Wing Doritos — inconceivable.

As a trash-eating raccoon, the government shutdown has been the best three weeks of my life, and I urge the President to think long and hard about the effects of the shutdown on me, Randy Raccoon the Dumpster Terror of Yellowstone, and not worry about the rest of the American people.

Bridge Bay is Yellowstone’s largest campground with hundreds of campsites, so on the shutdown’s first day the filth of humanity started to pile up outsidethe animal-proof trash containers. It was a cornucopia of Carrot Cake Clif Bars, the constituent ingredients for s’mores, and a fully-loaded diaper, all marinating in stale PBR. After a couple ranger-free days, the pristine park turned into a Golden Corral buffet of trash for scavenging vermin like me. On day 7, I found half a Chicken Chalupa and a human shit pile (coincidence?) steps away from majestic Old Faithful!

I would have thought the government would close the parks if the rangers couldn’t be there, since they obviously are the only thing preventing total chaos. Tourists are dumb. They risk death trying to take selfies with 2,000 pound buffalo, which are basically sentient battering rams. But I’m just a raccoon who’s eaten a used condom and a wrapped Snickers bar, what do I know?

From a friend of a daughter, writing for The Belladonna. From personal experience, I must say raccoons are some gnarly beasts, and not to be messed with. Here’s the rest of the piece.

On top of all the free food, I’ve really had fun intimidating the park visitors during the shutdown. I kicked a family of four from Peoria out of their tent and turned it into the Versailles of raccoon sleeping dens. I recreated the Hall of Mirrors with shiny things I stole from tourists. I started with small things like quarters and tin foil, but as the shutdown dragged on, I started snatching Rolexes and iPhones (XS only, I have standards) from tourists who thought they were prepared for wildlife encounters just because they watched Planet Earth. Well tough luck, you can’t prepare for Randy’s fast fingers from your couch, you fat farts.

On New Year’s Day (the 10th day of the shutdown, if you’re counting), a man proposed to his girlfriend at the Grand Prismatic Scenic Overlook. But before he could get the ring on her finger, I popped out from behind a rock snarling like Christian Bale in The Dark Knight, and now the ring belongs to Randy. Sorry, the rangers aren’t here to save you with their instructions on campground cleanliness and their livetraps. You’re living in Randy’s world now.

I dream that one day, if the shutdown lasts long enough, I will feast on trash spewing directly from Old Faithful with my vermin brethren, like wedding guests at a chocolate fountain in a Radisson ballroom. Soon, I’ll infiltrate Old Faithful Inn to spray my pungent urine on its historic walls, just because I can.

In conclusion, I heartily endorse the continued shutdown of the federal government. Things are great, for me, a trash-eating raccoon with zero standards. And if I find any loose change around the park, I’ll send it to the rangers to help them out during the furlough. I’m sure they’ll be fine.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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