Imagine you’re a deer.
You’re a wild creature but somehow you made your way to the big city. You end up in Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem. You’ve lost one antler.
That’s when things start to get strange.
You are in the street. You look both ways — cars to the right, concrete to the left. Your vision is a little fuzzy. You canter here and there. Then the cops come.
You are ready to bolt, ready to hightail it home. Then the syringe. You think, “Spare my other antler.” You are dropping into the dark. You have been sedated.
Then the politics begin.
You do not know this, but there is a really infuriating feud going on between the human leader of this section of land and the human leader of a larger section of it: the increasingly unbearable butting of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s thick human heads, between which you, an actual deer, got caught on Friday.
Their display of political aggression has included dueling news conferences and other pettiness, but also a lack of cooperation — slowing progress on homelessness and building new affordable housing. (These are human problems caused when some humans say to others that this part of the forest costs a lot of grass to survive in).
While you sleep, a conflict directly relevant to your little life will be set in motion.
State guidelines say it’s not advisable to give you a ride back to your natural habitat, because of the risks associated with the travel and the new digs. So de Blasio, in whose hands you are, says rules are rules: You will have to be taken care of, which is similar to what has been going on in Staten Island where there is a deer epidemic. No one has made much of a peep about controlling your friends there.
But lo. You are granted a reprieve because Cuomo, the king reindeer, saw fit to insert himself into this no-lose political proposition. Before the euthanasia could take place, the governor announces a state team will help transport you north to your happy country, away from city streets and cars and chaos and his old friend de Blasio’s mismanagement. After a little more squabbling your city captors give in.
But then what we should have known would happen happens.
You had already lost that antler. You were tired and scared and still a little sedated, and there was that crazy-eyed undercover cop who sources say was leering over you ready to take you out, just say the word, if those soft-hearted conscientius-objector veterinarians faltered in their dark task. You were stressed out. You died. You left the rest of us to all this.
I wouldn’t say this to you, deer, but we don’t really care about you.
If you had made a break for it, a great escape at a busy intersection and caused a car accident resulting in the death of a human being, we’d be having a much different conversation here: the politician who allowed you to live longer would then be in the crosshairs.
Surely the stubborn humans in charge agree in principle on what to do when we get visitors like you. There are rules and regulations. The bureaucrats tend to work it out.
But you became a brief source of strangeness and humor on the interwebs (this is essentially unexplainable to the cervidae genus). People were watching. And that made some people worry. Not long after your ultimate demise city and state officials released pointed statements hashing out how your death was totally not their problem.
This feud has had many similar face-saving squabbles like this. There will likely be another squabble before long.
Until then, may you live in memory as a casualty of pointless politics; undone by a half-hearted effort by politicians happy to squabble over a non-problem that seemed fixable, finite, secure.