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Ned Goldreyer Headshot

The Gulf Coast Was Ruined and All I Got Was This Lousy Sense of Doom

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America's response to the Deepwater Horizon spill is further proof that we as a nation have forgotten how to turn lemons into high-fructose corn syrup-based lemon essenced beverage. We'd rather stare at hypnotic YouTube images of that glop geyser than take advantage of this momentous opportunity. "Opportunity?" you exclaim, eyes widening in alarm, terrified at the idea of actually having to get up and do something not related to the Internet? Yes, I reply, opportunity.

Remember Mt. St. Helens? Four seconds after her burning soot hit the ground clever Americans were scooping it into pill bottles and selling it for ten bucks an ounce to less clever Americans. (Cleverer Americans just emptied their vacuum cleaner bags into pill bottles and sold that.) Conversely, when Mt. Eykantbeleevitsnatbutar blasted its spew into the skies above Europe last April, they let that ash just drift away, tossing aside a chance for riches like it was an Arkansas prom baby. Imagine the millions of euros that went unfleeced from cranky travelers desperate to memorialize their vacations spent sleeping in airports. We are in imminent danger of repeating Iceland's mistake unless we embrace our manifest legacy of reaping tchotchkes from the whirlwind.

First the obvious -- pour that slime into little jars and charge ten bucks an ounce for a piece of the greatest manmade environmental catastrophe in history. What's the matter with you? Why are you still reading this? Go buy some little jars! BONUS -- Making the labels will give you some productive busywork on the bus ride down to Louisiana.

While you're down there, bag up some of those tar balls Obama famously caressed and sell 'em as "BP Squishy Pals -- Presidentially Handled!" My kids would play with that stuff until their fingerprints wore off, and so would I. Come on, you know you want to squeeze 'em.

Another use for the tar balls -- boba. For those of you not from L.A. or Hokkaido, boba is a Japanese soft-drink with marble-sized blobs of gelatinous goo floating in it. Drop a few tar balls in some iced-tea, and you've got your very own ecological disaster in a cup! Refreshingly contaminated! In small amounts it's probably not even completely toxic.

Grab up some of that "ruined" beach front at oil-fire sale prices, throw down some sand chairs and start raking in the parking fees. The Gulf of Mexico is now a beach that makes its own sunscreen, SPF Infinity. That's right, one application will permanently and totally protect you from all solar activity. You could stand on the surface of Mercury in nothing but nothing and laugh at the sun's vain attempts scorch your impervious hide, and who hasn't dreamed of doing that?

Um. let's see, what else can we do with eighty kerfillion gallons of dirty Vaseline? How about nothing? Why not just let it continue on its merry way, poisoning the world as it drifts along on the currents, extinguishing entire species, eventually blighting the whole ocean with a glossy global layer of suffocating ooze. If we heed this mess for the obvious warning that it is, maybe one day it will be a souvenir for future generations, reminding them that our addiction to fossil fuels nearly killed the planet.