Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oil Hearings: Somebody Spoke And I Went Into A Dream

Although reverie is much too pleasant and lighthearted a word for it, I fell into one of those strange drifts of thought where anything can happen, where fantasy and logic meld effortlessly.

In the crazy daydream, in my arms I carried a few quarts of motor oil in garishly-colored plastic bottles when suddenly I was gripped by an uncontrollable, really an unconscious, impulse to twist off the caps and begin pouring it (take your pick):

1. into Bethesda Fountain in Central Park,
2. over the Channel Gardens that lead to the statue of Prometheus where the famous Christmas tree is sited in Rockefeller Center,
3. into the Hudson River,
4. over the floor of Grand Central's main concourse,
5. all over Fashion Avenue's "Walk of Fame,"
6. onto a Rembrandt in the Metropolitan Museum, or maybe one of the Egyptian sarcophagi, etc., and,
7. for good measure, I found a few frogs sitting in the Lake in Central Park and gave them a good dose of the poisonous goo.

Maybe a quart or two for each prime location. Places that represent the "ecology" of the great city. Not a lot of oil, mind you. Let's say two gallons total would do the trick.

I wondered what would happen to me. Certainly I would be arrested. Most likely, if the authorities didn't have me committed, I would do jail time, be forced to make restitution (in the case of the Rembrandt probably community service unto the seventh generation). Lord knows what the papers would make of my actions.

It's likely I wouldn't be brought up before a Congressional panel wearing a three-thousand-dollar suit while I blamed my subcontractors, associates, friends, neighbors and the little boy who lived down the lane. I certainly wouldn't be flying in and out of Washington on a private jet. I wouldn't get no stinkin' $200 lunch out of my anti-social behavior.

I'd be branded an outlaw. A lunatic. A miscreant. A sociopath. A scarlet O for oil would be blazed into my skin.

I'd be fined, jailed, shamed, and pretty much enjoined to keep my grubby hands off any and all oil products for the rest of my pathetic life.

We increasingly live in a two-tiered society. Everyone knows it. The Tea Parties in their off-kilter way express it. The divisions in American society are palpable and frightening. Which side of the divide will our children and grandchildren end up on?

To get off scot-free when dousing the world with oil, it's wiser to spill 200,000-plus gallons a day than just a gallon or two. Then you're a somebody. Then you'd make a multimillion dollar salary and be among those untouchable by the real law.

You remember that: the law of crime and punishment, not crime and lashes with a wet noodle.

No clean environment, no future. No justice, no peace.

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