June 28, 2010
Please do not worry. Please do not fret about that one thing you always fret about, or that other thing, or even that third thing that might have something to do with erupting oil, dead pelicans and that sickening feeling in your gut that Something is Very Wrong Indeed.
I come bearing fabulous news. There is no longer any need to concern yourself with pesky trifles like love, a mortgage, child rearing, planting a garden, dreams, money, shoes, wristwatches, parking spaces, mysterious rashes, foreign policy, baseball, bridge tolls or generally caring about much of anything in particular.
I am delighted to report it will all be over soon. If not sooner. It's true.
And it's a good thing, too, because I was just reading up on six of the worst-case scenarios resulting from the BP spill, all sorts of horrors and tragedies, abuses and unspeakables, from dire seafood shortages to horrifying ecosystem destruction, wildlife mutilation to all the years and decades before the gulf region will be anywhere near recovered. These scenarios all were, in a word, bleak. They were, in three more, thoroughly f–ing depressing.
They were also, whoops, from about two months ago. So I clicked around and quickly found another, far more recent worst-case scenario article, and boy, were its scenarios worse indeed. So awful that they effectively made the earlier batch seem meek and laughable and even sort of quaint.
So it's come to this. Every day in the media, a sort of deranged, comical footrace to figure out which worst-case scenario is really the worst, because every day comes a new stat, prediction, photo, possibility for abject horror we hadn't even conceptualized yet because, well, we've never exactly been here before, not at this scale. How bad can it all get, really? No one has a clue. Joy!
But I'm not at all worried. Because the fact is, almost none of those worst-case scenarios will actually come to pass. Do you know why? Because there are two or three even worse worst-case scenarios that easily trump any you might be reading about anywhere. Ultra, mega, super worst-case scenarios that make all the rest seem like a little splotch on your pretty new iPhone 4.
So, just what are these supermegaworst-case scenarios? They all have one thing in common: Each one of them, all by itself, spells the end of modern life as we know it. Utter annihilation. The End. I am so not kidding. OK, maybe a little. But only until we all die. After that, not kidding at all.
BP Will Kill Us All Scenario #1: Everyone knows that, early on in the spill, BP was thoughtful enough to pump millions of gallons of a horrible chemical dispersant called Corexit 9500 into the gusher, a violently toxic compound so notoriously lethal it's been banned for years by the European union. Obama & Co finally caught on to BP's tactic and told them to knock it off.
Too late. Obscure Russian scientists tell us Corexit's deadly compounds are now breaking up and evaporating into North American rainclouds, which will shortly begin raining down complete toxic hell on us all, poisoning all crops, babies, cats, Christians, Starbucks baristas and none-too-bright redneck videographers — though it will somehow magically spare the really good jazz clubs in Louisiana and that one guy who scored the goal for the USA in the World Cup, because he's a freakin' hero.
These scientists say the toxic rain could be so poisonous, it will destroy the entire food chain and plunge North America into chaos, rendering the entire region unlivable, with any straggling survivors crawling desperately up to Canada, where they will be promptly made into slave labor to build hockey arenas and drink lager and fade into the woods.
Does that sound dubious? Totally implausible? Fine. No problem. For there is another, even better backup apocalypse scenario, even more melodramatic and wickedly cinematic, and therefore much more likely to come to pass.
BP Will Kill Us All Scenario #2: Apparently, deep in the ocean floor, just beneath the gushing oil, lives a massive bubble of methane gas the size of… oh, let's just say Texas. Maybe Oklahoma. South Carolina. Someplace gassy and slightly rancid and always ready to explode at the poke of a big phallic stick.
This is the drama: All our mucking around on the ocean floor could trigger a methane explosion so gargantuan, it will cause a tsunami. Not just any tsunami, mind you, but a "supersonic tsunami" so ultra-awesomely massive it will effortlessly wipe out the much of the gulf coast states, killing millions and completely destabilizing the nation and inducing zombie riots in the streets as everyone wails over the loss of Florida. Or, you know, not.
So there you have it. Toxic rain and supersonic tsunamis, the end of North America as we know it. Done. Finished. Certainly, one of those two scenarios is guaranteed to come to pass, right? Maybe, if we're really lucky, even both?
All right, fine. In the off-off chance that invisible Russian scientists and nutball doomsayers are wrong (impossible!), well, there is one more glorious mega scenario to consider. There is a backup to the backup to the backup. Hey, we're Americans. When it comes to dorky apocalyptic visions, we got you covered.
Here is your grand finale: A new survey says that a disturbingly large percentage of Americans — 40 percent, to be exact — actually believe Jesus will return by 2050, likely riding on the back of a flaming asteroid (30 percent think one will hit us by then), waving a cowboy hat and yodeling as he careens toward our hapless blue dot of inequity, pain and lousy AT&T reception.
Jesus will then crash land in Texas, wink at Dubya and Sarah Palin, and then sweep up all the True Believers in their beige Dodge minivans just as the earth shudders and implodes, just like one of those swirling black holes in "Star Trek."
How cool will that be? Answer: It will be very cool indeed. It is so cool, in fact, it totally wipes out the need to care much about anything at all. See how easy? Now, who wants pie?