In the desert you have always been able to see some odd things. Plants that beguile you with their painful beauty, shriek-inducing invertebrates, swine-like creatures so ugly they're cute (and so stinky they're nauseating)...the list goes on.
And then there are the humans. Colorful is the kinder, diplomatic way to describe them. Here in Tucson, a not-so-small desert city on the eastern edge of the Sonoran Desert, the multiplicity of type never ceases to amaze me. Take a walk down 4th Avenue, where you will see a living collage of denims, dreadlocks, dandies and destitutes.
In the desert itself, the richness of diversity is certainly not limited to flora and fauna. Once, while hiking in the smaller mountains west of the city, I had to step aside and allow a man on a bicycle to pass. He was a portly man, somewhere in his 50s, perched high atop an equally aging, skinny-tired touring bike (!) and sporting nothing but the rubber band that held his graying hair in a long, sweaty ponytail. I diverted my eyes as he passed, but I did sneak a peek as he rode off, both amused and horrified by the sight of his wrinkled buns flowing over the saddle of that poor bike. Talk about muffin-top.
Anyway, I just read an article describing a new subtype of human that one could soon run across in the desert: meth-heads who roam the desert, often in teams, digging up random areas and pilfering anything that may be of historical value. Apparently, the effects of meth (hyperactivity, task-oriented behavior, sleeplessness) make the addicts the perfect workforce for this endeavor. The dealers who lead these packs of "twiggers" take the loot and sell it on the black market. And the payment to the looters themselves? You guessed it, more meth.
Homer is an archaeologist. I wonder if his team will need new security measures to protect their dig sites. Hmm. Paul Blart II: Desert Cop.