Opinion » Street Talk

Happy Earth Day to you

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Oscar Wilde described nature as “a damp place over which large numbers of ducks fly, uncooked,� and I’m inclined to agree with him.
 
I’m sick of this planet. If it isn’t blasting me with heat or freezing me with wind and rain, it’s flooding or shaking or erupting. We’ve got hurricanes and tsunamis and bird flu to contend with, and in places where it’s not so disastrously active, it’s so beautiful that it drives housing costs through the stratosphere. How’s a body supposed to live in these conditions? It’s not, thank you very much, and the pictures not looking to get any rosier anytime soon.
 
I hear the moon is nice this time of year. I’d pack up and leave for there in a heartbeat, if not for this pesky gravity holding me down. How does NASA do it, anyway? Those guys must be rocket scientists or something.
 
The globe’s on my mind because Earth Day is April 22, and there’s going to be a big to-do at Mission Plaza here in San Luis Obispo. Sounds to me like an excuse for a bunch of hippies to get together and trade tips on how to smoke granola or wear hemp or vice-versa or both. I have no idea. I make it a policy to never wear anything that someone could also inhale or ingest, mainly because I don’t want some stoner to bogart my pants and then get the munchies for my shirt. Nudity may be a fact of nature, but it’s also against the law at certain times throughout the year, and I don’t want to find out whether city police will crack down as hard this weekend as they’ve threatened to during Mardi Gras past.
 
Apparently, this year’s Earth Day is focusing on combating climate change, which didn’t seem to work so well for all those creatures that keeled over at the end of the last Ice Age. Climate change happens whether or not we’re driving our cars around or spraying aerosol cans into the atmosphere. After all, I don’t think there were many Studebakers on the road back when glaciers were sliding across the content, but what do I know? I don’t even carpool.
 
For that matter, I’m just assuming that the big concern is still global warming, but some like it hot. For all I know, these Earth Day folks might want to raise the average global temperature by a couple degrees and the ocean levels by a couple of feet. See you later, Morro Rock.
 
Hot and cold aside, the big point of Earth Day seems to be something larger. I guess it’s a sort of Mother’s Day for the planet, though if Mother Earth were anything like my real mother, I’d expect more criticism. And guilt. And passive aggressiveness. And anger toward my father. I’d probably have been kicked out by now, too.
 
In the meantime, everybody’s supposed to buy the world a Coke or something, but the world still owes me a living, so it’s getting nothing from the Shredder until it settles its accounts. You hear that, Earth?
 
I think some people at Cal Poly might agree with me, too. The school’s annual tractor pull—which doesn’t seem to be a particularly pro-environment event—was canceled because of the recent rains. Actually, the pull was canceled because of the mud that those rains created, but it all boils down to fickle nature.
 
So now Cal Poly’s Open House is out one of its biggest events. To top it all off, the Poly Plant shop was recently closed because of problems with something called the passion vine mealy bug, which I thought was an STD the first time I heard about it. Apparently, it’s actually a new sort of pest that preys on stuff like grapes, avocados, and strawberries. It’s not harmful to humans as far as I can tell, but I’m still going to wear protection when I visit the Cal Poly campus from now on. I don’t want anything nasty getting remotely near my own passion vine. Three condoms should do it.
 
The rest of Cal Poly’s Open House events are still on schedule, including the rodeo—another event that’s a bit at odds with Earth Day. If People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals hate anything more than mink farms and KFC, it’s rodeos.
 
Not to beat a dead horse, but I think I agree with them—or at least some of what they have to say. I’ve seen a few of their propaganda pamphlets that show how riders get broncos and bulls to buck as much as they do, and it isn’t pretty. If you’re not familiar with the process, all I’ll say is that it involves the animal’s own passion vine and something like an equine chastity belt. I’d jump up and down, too, if someone jerked my privates around.
 
Before I get hogtied and branded by some honest-to-goodness cowboys, I have to admit that I have no idea how they actually get the animals to move at the Cal Poly Rodeo. For all I know, they could give them double shots of espresso and then throw the gates open, which I’m sure PETA would also object to.
 
Either way, the mud isn’t stopping the horses like it’s bogging down the tractors, so take your pick this weekend. Earth Day or the rodeo? Granola or spurs? Everybody’s waiting to see what you decide, and they’re all going to judge you for it. ∆

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