The world needs more of this – people reaching across the oceans to clasp hands and find a common understanding.
Let’s start at the beginning, in Canada.
Mac the Moose is a statue in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He’s a little more than 32 feet tall – no metric system today, folks – and he looks like a chocolate Easter bunny version of a moose. He is the tallest of his kind.
Or was. Norway has moose, too, and those folks came up with a statue. Its name is Storelgen, which – wait for it – is Norsk for “big moose.” Storelgen is a muscular rendering of a moose, made of polished stainless steel. It could almost be a Marvel superhero.
It turns out that Storelgen is slightly taller than Mac, and thus began the trash talking, such as it was.
How dare you one-up our moose? cried Moose Jaw. By golly, we’re going to do … something.
“You don't mess with Mac the Moose," said Moose Jaw’s mayor, attracting TV cameras and causing every other mayor in North America to wish statue pride was his or her biggest headache.
This international crisis simmered for four years. But these are both cultures in which modesty, deference and old-school reasonableness are highly valued. Long winters force a practical mindset. So in this great stand-off, they agreed … to a tie.
Moose Jaw scared up some money – $25,000 from Moosehead Breweries, a proud Canadian brand – for Mac to have surgical enhancements so his antlers reach a few inches higher. The two cities involved – “moose-ipalities” and I did not make that up – had a Moose Summit earlier this month and agreed that Mac would be recognized as the tallest and Storelgen as “the shiniest and most attractive.” If that’s not a participation trophy, I don’t know what is.
Of course, Moose Jaw and Stor-Elvdal, the Norwegian city, are trying figure out the tourism angle to this whole deal. Both communities are far, far from the beaten path – as are most moose – so that could be a challenge.
As I say, the world needs more of this. Civic pride, oddly focused as it might be. Compromise. Beer. Statues of animals.
Which brings us to another possibility. Bullwinkle is as American as Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, his hometown. And he stands upright – heck of a trick for a moose, by the way, but less of a trick than talking to a squirrel – so beating 32 feet and claiming the record shouldn’t be too tough. Sounds like a project. Who’s with me?
Take that, Norway.
Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at 816-350-6365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.