“The truth is, we really don’t know why the San Pedro Hippie population is in decline,” Simpkins admitted.  “As you know, in the late 1970s a plague of punk rock music nearly wiped out the entire North American hippie population – yet, for almost a decade we were blaming their decline on the advent of disco.”

“We were caught with out pants down, and we nearly lost them all.  But through the hard work of the academic community, we were able to stage Woodstock 1994, and begin the long road to recovery.” Simpkins said.

“That day marked a turning point in Hippie protection.  Currently the North American population seems to be thriving – but we can’t rest on our laurels.  We’ve seen how fast an epidemic of aggression, or even a mild case of work ethic, can devastate a localized population.”

Competing Theories:

At one seminar entitled, “San Pedro Hippies:  What’s Going On?” world renowned hippie experts aired competing theories.

Professor Eamon Van Roslern, of Cal Tech – Berkeley, offered a compelling model for understanding the Hippie decline.  “It’s a matter of some complexity,” Van Roslern said.  “To fully understand the decline in the San Pedro Hippie community, one has to take into account economics, biology, and the adverse consequences of lifestyle choices made by many in the San Pedro Hippie community.”

“Economically, only a small percentage of a community’s total population can be Hippie.  Hippies, as is well known, provide very limited labor to the marketplace.  Their tendency is to liberally allocate resources from Hippie enablers.  We call this the New Tom Sawyer Effect, first studied by the Canadian researcher, Dr. Geddy Lee, in the mid 1970s.  When the Hippie population reaches a variable threshold of around 17%, one can see catastrophic and cascading decline.”

“Biological and lifestyle factors,” Van Roslern continued, “are far more accessible to the layman.  As the San Pedro Hippie ages, and as the cumulative effect of his excessive drug use takes its toll, certain changes occur within the population.  Hippies die, or just wander off, lost in a fog.

“For years the San Pedro Hippie community has managed to refresh its ranks, but with the development of other independent, lakeside hippie communities – notably San Marcos, and a small colony at La Iguana Perdida, San Pedro has suffered markedly.”

Simpkins took issue with several of Van Roslern’s analyses, always however, being deferential to the well respected professor from Berkeley.

“I think Eamon makes some excellent points, and his work has almost defined the field, but what about global warming?  What about the local real estate bubble?  What about the Evangelicals?  And most of all, what are we going to do about it?”

To that end, Simpkins’ organization has initiated a controversial program to alleviate the problem.  “The IHOC is providing the funding, and the physical resources, to import Hippies to San Pedro from other, healthier, populations throughout Mexico and Central America.”

“Antigua has been very generous, donating 72 adult hippies, nearly half of their entire herd.  San Cristobal de las Casas has agreed to send down several breeding pairs.  The municipal government of Tulum, Mexico, where the Hippie is facing ever more human encroachment into its natural feeding grounds, is debating the merits of shipping their entire population to San Pedro.  That is a very generous offer, but we fear – as Professor Van Roslern pointed out – that that could lead to an almost immediate ‘Tom Sawyer’ moment.”

“This is very tricky business, but someone needs to take care of these creatures.  They’re all so innocent.  So terribly, mind numbingly, innocent.” Simpkins concluded, getting his fingers tangled in one particularly stoned Hippie’s hair.

Rocco Dooley, Jr. is our marginally fictional San Pedro Correspondent and he wrote this piece with the hopes of sharing a few self-deprecating laughs with his friends at the lake who have shouldered more than their share of sadness this year. Let’s pray 2009 has more joy and far less grieving.

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