With the Proper Postage, Hippos Could Put Global Peace in Jeopardy

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One if by Land, Two if by Mail: The U.S. Postal Service has set up an Internet site that gives instructions on how to pack various items for shipping, including mirrors, lamps, appliances, compact discs and--here’s the scary part--hippos.

The hippopotamus directions call for the following materials: a 1,000-gallon tank, a crane, a 1-pound sedative and soothing hippo music.

You might wonder why the postal service would supply advice on mailing hippos. Isn’t it obvious? As part of the worldwide animal conspiracy to overthrow the human race, hippos are planning to mail themselves to important government offices, which they will then destroy from the inside.


To make matters worse, NATO is so preoccupied with Yugoslavia that it has ignored numerous other frightening developments in the animal kingdom, namely:

* June 25 has been declared Take Your Dog to Work Day. Unlike other educational workplace events, such as Take Your Daughter to Work Day and Take Your Chinese Foreign Agent to Los Alamos Day, this could damage national security by giving canines a leg up on techniques for industrial sabotage. That might sound absurd, but consider the fact that a Colorado beer company is now selling a brew with this message stamped on bottle caps: “Free the dogs! Chain the humans!”

* Doctors at the National Aquarium in Baltimore have conducted two CAT scans and might perform surgery on a tarantula the size of a salad plate. At a time when many Americans can’t afford basic health care, is it wise to spend precious resources saving the life of a sick arachnid who will only turn on its captors at the appointed hour?

* Florida authorities face an “epidemic” of alligators walking by lakes and strolling around golf courses. Needless to say, the reptiles probably aren’t training for the PGA or helping O.J. Simpson search for the real killers.

* In Dublin, Ga., a wild deer recently jumped through the front window of a taxidermy shop and ran amok inside, destroying several stuffed-animal displays. “Please don’t say that deer was out for revenge,” shop owner Tim Knight told the Associated Press. Earth to Tim Knight: Wake up and smell the formaldehyde.

* Maryland is under siege by an army of beavers. According to the Baltimore Sun, the web-footed creatures have built dams that are flooding roads, farms, parks and even military bases like Aberdeen Proving Ground.


* New York City residents are reporting sightings of “sqrats,” a creature that is part squirrel, part rat. Rather than take action, city officials claim sqrats are an urban legend.

* In Norway last week, a cow plunged into an icy fiord and swam five miles to another pasture in what is clearly an omen of future attacks by amphibious bovine invasion forces.

* The London Times says a “chance slip by a donkey” has led to the discovery of at least 10,000 mummies in Egypt. Then again, isn’t it more likely that the donkey knew about the underground tomb complex--and the curse that would befall the human race for excavating the site?

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: We leave you with this chilling item from the Weekly World News: “Scientists Create World’s Biggest Chicken: 4-Foot-Tall Hen Weighs 74 Pounds!”

Unpaid Informants: Mike Richter,, Baltimore Sun, Wireless Flash News, Associated Press. Off-Kilter’s e-mail address is Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.