The Best Thing That Happened This Week: The Ocean City Seagull Crackdown

Hurling those Cheetos could get you three months in jail, kid. | photojaffa | photojaffa

We all have our bêtes noirs, right? Some people are afraid of snakes. Some people are afraid of heights. Some people are afraid of speaking in public. And some of us — mind you, I’m not saying who — are afraid of birds. Okay, maybe not all birds. Not nuthatches, for example, or titmice. (Who could be scared of something called a titmouse?) But seagulls — yes. Seagulls are big. They’re bold. They’re insatiable. Last summer, they pecked a dog to death in Britain. There is nothing attractive or appealing about seagulls. And this summer, our worst nightmares have been coming true, as seagulls — the mayor of Ocean City, New Jersey, calls them “emboldened,” a term that’s really entirely too nice — have been swooping down from the skies and snatching sandwiches and snacks right out of unsuspecting beachgoers’ hands.

Why are these seagulls emboldened? Because for far too long, the indulgent parents of small children have looked on fondly as said children tossed Cheetos toward the looming maws of ravenous aerial scavengers, utterly disregarding the terror this behavior induces in neighboring beachgoers. But now, Jay A. Gillian, the mayor of Ocean City, New Jersey — a brilliant man, a compassionate man, a man who should be running for president of the United States as far as we’re concerned — has announced that his metropolis, at least, intends to treat this as the menace it is. No more Mr. Nice Guys! From now on, O.C.’s law against feeding the seagulls will be — praise heaven! — strictly enforced. Letting your offspring terrorize beach neighbors will get you a $500 fine and 90 days in jail. Which is as it should be. Now, can we talk about those goddamned radios?

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