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Pest Control -- Writer's Poke #411

Christopher Ketcham likes coyotes, but he sometimes has a funny way of showing it. To him, the coyote is a “true American,” but it is also “the pest par excellence of the American west.” But what’s not to like about a pest? Pests survive, and that is a pretty endearing quality to have.

The coyotes survive because they adapt. They can live in urban areas, they can live in the shadows of golf courses, and they have the ability to multiply. Like a hydra from Greek myth, kill one and watch a thousand take its spot. 

Ketcham isn’t the first person to like this “weed species,” of course. The Native Americans told many tales about this Trickster, which, Ketcham reminds us, “is a teacher of possibilities, pointing humankind down new paths when the poor bummed-out hominids are stumped.”

So the coyote, as well as all of the other weed species – from kudzu to cockroaches – have lessons to teach us. Lessons about adapting and surviving. Lessons about ourselves.

What is the most important lesson a pest has ever taught you?

“A friend in need is a pest.” – Bobby “the Brain” Heenan


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