Opinion: Pet Peeves

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Billy Goats Bluff

By Mark D. Crantz

Three billy goats were eating dry brush high in the hills over Laguna Beach. The oldest bleated, “Yuck, this vegetation is way past the sell by date.” “Yep. Super dry,” added the second oldest. The baby goat burped and suggested, “Look down there. It’s much greener near the ocean. That’s the place to eat.”  So, off they went outside the city’s contract to graze only in the hills.

The three billy goats had to pass city hall. “Halt. Who goes there,” asked a planning commissioner?  “It’s us, the Billy Goats Bluff.” The planning commissioner blessed with a yellow No. 2 pencil nose, crossed his eyes, looked down his nose at the clipboard and humphed, “I got a Jones, a Smith, a Gruff, but no Bluff on the construction approval list. Get lost.” The oldest goat said, “No, no. You misunderstand. We’re not going over there to build. Just to eat.”

The planning commissioner sharpened the end of his nose, put it to his clipboard and announced, “Approved. Here’s a copy.”

The Bluffs got to the bluff and commenced to eat. “Halt. Who goes there?” asked a coastal commissioner? “It’s us, the three Billy Goats Bluff.” The coastal commissioner blessed with big pink eraser sized ears, cupped them both and humphed, “I got nobody on the construction approvals list. Get lost.”  The oldest goat said,  “No, no.  You misunderstand.  We’re not here to build.  Just to eat. Laguna’s planning commissioner gave us approval.”  The coastal commissioner grabbed the city approval notice put it to his eraser sized ears and erased it.  “Get lost.”

The Three Billy Goats Bluff didn’t know what to do.  The city said eat and be merry.  The state said don’t eat and be gruff.  The baby goat Bluff whined, “I’m hungry.  Why can’t I eat here?”  The oldest explained,  “The shepherds make the rules. We have to go where they tell us.”  The second oldest bleated back, “I’m okay with that. But that’s not the problem. We have two shepherds telling us to go two different ways.  Who do we follow?” The oldest Bluff exclaimed, “I got it.  We live up to our name.  The Bluffs will call their bluff.”

The Bluffs read the fine print. The Coastal Commission was concerned with rising sea levels and bluff erosion. The city was concerned as well, but believed if the change was less than 50% of the present construction then they need approval. To clarify matters, the city hired a consultant to map the city’s shoreline to disclose areas of erosion and concern.

The Three Billy Goats Bluff got down to business. They held off eating cans and instead returned them for 10 cents each. Then, they hired 20 shepherds with their flocks of sheep to assail the bluffs before the drone mapping started. The sheep were sheared to 49% of their wool which met planning commission rules, as well as, spelling out on each sheep “Rock Solid” for mapping.

The bluff worked. The Coastal Commission agreed with the City of Laguna and the Three Billy Goats Bluff ate their greens al fresco on the bluffs overlooking the ocean.

Crantz tells the Indy that any troll resemblance to real persons or other real-life entities is purely coincidental. All characters and other entities appearing in this work are fictitious.

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