So Cooter and I decided that Frank (Cooter’s neighbor) should get an April Fools letter from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services about his front yard fish pond.
Frank designed and installed the fish pond. It is beside his front walkway, just adjacent to the steps, in clear view of anyone using the front porch entrance.
Frank used a variety of stuff– plastic liner, rocks, flat stones, shims, plants, a pump, tubing, and dirt. The rocks surrounding the pond, build up to maybe 2 feet above the pond surface to the rock waterfall. Of course the water cascades down across the tiered rocks and into the pond. The pump is an above ground pump that moves the pond water to the falls.
Frank’s wife hates the pond as the installation, workmanship, appearance, décor value, and fit with the landscaping is awful. If Frank’s wife swore she would call it a front yard cluster *&#%$. Briefly, the waterfall does not work. The liner sticks out of the dirt, is clearly visible. The rocks are filled with weeds, badly stacked, uneven, unlinked, and unmatched. You can see the pump and hose going to the falls and the plants just can’t provide enough balance to make it all right. Ugly.
And it is important to know that Frank loathes the government — local, state, and federal, it’s an all-inclusive loathing.
So Cooter and I sent a letter to Frank, from the government, about his fish pond. His wife told us not to do it as it might be stressful. We mailed it in another city to further disguise its origin. The letter featured the department’s logo on the letter head and envelope, cut and pasted from the state’s website. Upon receipt, Frank put it aside for a day seeing the government logo. When he did open it, we heard from his wife that, we had achieved the desired impact. He was, seething and pissed, was going to write them a letter, then call, until his wife told him, days later, it was an April 1st hoax. The letter follows:
(Appropriate state address, state logo and Frank’s address)
Dear Pond Owner,
One of our agents, as part of her routine waterfront inspections, noticed the fish pond installation in your front yard. Upon closer inspection she reported that it was less than what the agency describes as safely inhabitable, the pond species appeared to be diseased, and the water quality far from acceptable.
The state has standards for pond quality for commercial and residential installations and owners and operators are required to maintain pond displays and installations in such condition that they meet or exceed state standards. Your pond clearly falls far short of the standards.
You should be advise that there are penalties for not meeting pond standards, however the law provides that you be given a reasonable period to comply.
We will maintain a file in this office and expect to hear from you within thirty (30) days that your pond has been brought up to standard. You will find the standards listed on our website, (web address).
Please contact us to advise that you have corrected these substandard conditions, or, if you have any questions. You can contact the agency through our website (second web address).
Thomas J. Scales
Director, WWS Enforcement
We found out months later that Frank read the letter to his family at the Thanksgiving Dinner table, just after dessert.
***** S&E *****