Tuesday, October 25, 2011


There is an embankment of grass that separates the Pentagon parking lot from a highway flyover. It used to be heavily wooded. Now it is but a collection of the assorted stumps scattered throughout the now treeless, grassy area.

Several years ago, maybe after September 11th or perhaps in light of the sniper that terrorized the area in 2002, all of the trees were cut down to stumps. These ashy stumps are still there, rotting, not hurting anyone except as a reminder of what had been.

Of course no effort was made to remove the stumps, because that would have been an unnecessary expenditure. Everyone knows that the Pentagon is the hallmark of efficiency.

So a bank of trees was positioned as to possibly conceal a terrorist and so they had no right to exist.

A recent flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco encountered engine trouble. Decision makers, people with homes and special needs children, people who enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or don’t or perhaps skipped dinner in favor of vodka martinis or a box of wine or a bottle of cheap tequila, decided that the plane should make an emergency landing, lest the plane make the evening news. After all, the plane was carrying people just like them: people with families and college loans, people who liked to play volleyball at the rec center two nights a week and have sex with the lights on and watch the televised broadcasts of the civic board meetings on the public access channel in the towns where they lived.

As a further safety precaution, to protect the teachers and baristas and nurses and horticulturists and professional chefs and motorcycle mechanics on board, it was determined that the fuel remaining in the bowels of the plane was too great of a hazard. As the plane completed its decent into a suitable Ohio airstrip, the contents of the fuel reservoir were evacuated into a nearby lake.

The lake was a home to a variety of flora and fauna, but because fish didn’t buy cars and because frogs have no use for iPhones , they were coated with hydrocarbons and promptly forgotten about.

Except that they had never been thought about. Decision makers, and the actuaries that they shared their office cubicles with, had no use for pond weed or lake trout or trees by the side of a road, unless these things were in a photograph in their month-at-a-glance wall calendar. They could not pin these things to their jacket lapel.

So yes, just put that half-full waxed paper cup of diet soda anywhere that is convenient for you.

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