You probably heard about it already but in case you missed it, last week some drunken Welsh hooligans on vacation broke into an Australian theme park, swam with dolphins and absconded with a penguin.
Sez me, Welshmen have no business vacationing in Australia.
I don't like stereotyping people. I don't stereotype and I don't generalize, not even when it comes to myself. I'm originally from Natchitoches, La., and sometimes I sound like it but I am not married to my cousin, I do not have an El Camino parked on my lawn and I do wear shoes when I go squirrel hunting.
Stereotypes are bad things and for that reason I will not say that all Welshmen drink too much, but I will say that all the Welshmen I have met so far drink like there's no tomorrow.
You might be wondering, "Geez Tony, what do you have against the Welsh?"
Nothing. In fact I'm descended from Welsh ancestry on one side. I'm descended from Cherokees on the other. I have the whiskey gene on both sides so I know what I'm talking about when it comes to tying one on. I spent a quarter-century in a bottle until I had to quit several years ago for the sake of the environment. It's true. All the people in my environment thought I was an a#%hole.
But I'm telling you, during all those years on the sauce, at my sauciest it never occurred to me to bust into a wildlife park and steal a critter. That's pretty amazing since I live a short stumble away from the San Diego Zoo and a ten-minute cab ride from Sea World. Who'd have thought I wouldn't, on a bender, somehow come home with a flamingo or a fur seal or at least a meerkat or something. As it is, it never happened, dang it.
I'll have to live with that unfilled void. Not so for three Welshmen who went on holiday to Australia. They stole a penguin and ditched it at the beach.
In case you think I'm exaggerating about the Welsh and their fondness of drink, it might interest you to know that of all the countries participating in a recent Health Behavior in School-Aged Children Survey, Wales had the highest percentage of 15-year-olds who reported drinking on at least a weekly basis -- 50 percent of girls and 60 percent of boys. By their own report, 45 percent of Welsh adults admit to drinking beyond recommended limits and according to data from the Public Health Wales Observatory that figure should probably be quite a bit higher.
Wales is awash in booze. It's a fact and if you doubt me, book a trip to Cardiff and spend an evening out and about. Smack-dab in the middle of town you'll find that within a four-block radius of St. John the Baptist City Parish Church there are no fewer than 10 pubs and nightclubs. The Welsh like their hooch so much they keep it within easy reach of their faith, which is good thinking really.
So from Wales and its culture of indulged imbibement our three adventurers, ages 18, 20 and 21, set off for Australia where, as you know from the commercials, there's bugger all to do but drink -- well, drink and tan. Wait, drink, tan and snorkel. OK, drink, tan, snorkel and climb Ayers Rock. (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.) Before they disembarked at the airport the three should have been profiled by every Australian authority. There's just no way a pod of young Welshmen in Australia aren't going to get up to something nefarious. It's a lucky thing they stole a penguin. Had they been a bit further bent they might have stolen Kylie Minogue.
Wales is a fine country, home to both Richard Burton and Tom Jones of whom we're all rightly fond. The Welsh are a proud people with a long heritage of refined elegance and tolerance of the English. There's so much good about Wales that Welshmen ought to stay there during their time off. Why leave a nice green country where half of everybody's blind drunk at any given time to go to a big island in the wrong hemisphere and get pinched for penguin-napping?
The last I knew, Welshmen don't even need a visa to visit the U.S., which is why I'm calling Sea World and telling them to tighten their overnight security.