First, let me state for the record that I have nothing against the state of California or the people who live in it.
Next, let me pose a question:
Does it make sense to spend $300,000 to figure out a way to save the lives of about a dozen deer a year?
Californians are doing just that.
Their state's government is in debt up to its eyeballs, and yet they think it's a good idea to shell out nearly one-third of a million bucks to discover why some deer safely navigate a busy stretch of Interstate 280 south of San Francisco and why a handful of their brethren end up as road kill.
According to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the California Department of Transportation has teamed up with the state Department of Fish and Game and the University of California-Davis to research that very question.
One of the study's goals - I am not making this up - is to try to learn why older, experienced deer consistently avoid being hit by cars and why young, inexperienced ones tend to get hit.
The article quoted a fellow named Craig Stowers, identified as the Department of Fish and Game's state deer coordinator.
"The older ones [have] been living by the freeway for a long, long time," Stowers said. "They're smart."
Bingo! Give Mr. Stowers the kewpie doll! He has it figured out. Some deer learn more quickly than others.