Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: Taboo tusks

Al Diamon

Welcome to the Walrus Underground.

The WU is a clandestine organization engaged in an illegal activity, so I can’t tell you my name (I probably should have thought of that before I put my byline on this column). Nor can I disclose my location, lest I find a special ops team outside my door. Those guys may have gotten Osama bin Laden and the head of ISIS, but they’re not taking me down.

Of course, the Walrus Underground is not, strictly speaking, a terrorist outfit. We aren’t interested in threatening the security of the United States or stealing John Bolton’s walrus-like mustache. We just want to engage in an activity the state of Maine has inexplicably decided should be against the law.

Letting unattended children play with guns? No.

Selling opioids to teenagers at concerts? No.

Hiring undocumented immigrants to steal politicians’ identities and run for the Legislature? Of course not.

Our great crime is we own pet walruses.

For some unfathomable reason, that’s illegal. According to a recent article in the Lewiston Sun Journal, it’s perfectly OK to possess a yellow tail barracuda or a Brazilian black tarantula or a mountain horned dragon (which I doubt even exists outside “Game of Thrones”). You can even get a permit to own a golden poison frog. But unless you’re a certified wildlife rehabilitator, walrus possession is against the law.

Until I learned about this crazy restriction, I didn’t know I wanted a walrus. But as a committed contrarian, once I found out, I had to have one. It’s not as if a walrus or two is going to disrupt Maine’s ecosystem. After all, their natural habitat is just a few hundred miles north of here in the Arctic. There’s no barrier that would prevent a walrus with wanderlust from swimming to Maine to take up residence in Eastport or Bar Harbor. So, what’s the difference if I have one curled up on my living room floor.

I began my quest to thwart this law by searching the Dark Web, looking for likeminded individuals. I quickly found the Walrus Underground, which specializes in smuggling giant, tusked pinnipeds across the Canadian border. My co-conspirators also instructed me in how to build a refrigerated tank under my deck and how to buy huge quantities of clams (a walrus’s favorite food) without causing nosy authorities to become suspicious about why somebody who doesn’t run a seafood business requires truckloads of shellfish (“I just happen to like clam cakes, copper. That OK with you?”).

So far, the only problem has been when my walrus (his name is Waldo, of course) lets out a great roar in an effort to attract a mate. You can hear the sound a mile away. But the WU instructed me in how to deal with any fallout from this disturbance. When a game warden came calling, I told him it must have been a mountain lion. Even though that beast is thought to be extinct in Maine, he bought it. After all, the possibility of a cougar in the state’s forests is more plausible than the likelihood of a walrus hiding in my bathtub.

Why am I telling you all this? Because there’s a lesson to be learned from the Walrus Underground. Which is:

Banning things usually doesn’t work.

As the Legislature prepares to return for its second regular session in January, it’s worth noting that human nature being what it is, telling people they can’t have stuff they want, whether it’s two-toed sloths, aardvarks, candy-flavored vapes, THC-laced cookies, cheap liquor from New Hampshire or assault rifles doesn’t get rid of those items. It just drives a certain segment of the population underground.

Or in my case, underwater.

Because I’m an outlaw, you can’t contact me at But feel free to try, anyway.

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3 Responses »

  1. It has always been my view that the most potent, prolific and potentially powerful source of crime is government.

  2. I Googled "Walrus Underground".

    It gave me 1,280,000 results in 0.59 seconds! Amazing. One and a quarter MILLION results?

    Oh, you were at the top of the list!

  3. @jim -- Try googling with quotes -- I get 114 results.