Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Out of Sight Out of Mind, or, Dye it All!

I was watching the wonderful but short lived series "Firefly" over the weekend. There were these really horrible monster-like people called Reevers that rode around in menacing space ships spewing dark black ominous smoke from their exhaust.  That smoke was brilliant. Just the visual image of it billowing from the ship as it chased its prey screamed danger and anyone with half a brain would run like hell.

It got me thinking. I used to smoke. Like everyone else, I knew the health risks. I was aware there are over 30 known carcinogenic compounds in one cigarette. And that smoking causes lung cancer and emphysema. But I smoked anyway. Why? Because I couldn't see any danger. I could read about it but it didn't affect my body in any real time, tangible way.

But what if cigarettes billowed black smoke when you lit one? In fact, what if every nasty, toxic chemical in them billowed black smoke? Do you think people might quit smoking? You bet.

So what if everything in our world that was toxic billowed black smoke?

Oh that is scarely, I mean think about it. There are the obvious culprits, such as cigarettes and pesticides and herbicides and car exhaust. And there are the not so obvious, like outgassing from you new car interior or your pretty new carpet. Or the waves from your cell phone that have been linked to cancer. Do you need to crack the window yet?

Wouldn't it be great to dye every harmful substance a digusting rotten flesh green color? Then, when it rained, you could actually see all the pollution in the rain drops. You could watch the ribbon of putrid green flowing down your street, dump into that pretty little river you fish in, and meander all the way to one of the Great Lakes we know and love so well. Imagine the beautiful blue water of Lake Michigan with seaweed-like strands of putrid green flowing through it. Perhaps the whole lake is green by now. Who knows? We can't see it.

No one could possibly ignore the health of our planet if billowing black smoke and rotten flesh green were everywhere.

Could they?

Oh, but then time would pass and people would become desensitized to the grotesque greens and thick black smoke. The ultra conservatives would say the green yuck and billowing smoke were not caused by pollution at all, silly, but was rather a natural, cyclic event. Nothing to worry about. Babies and children would cry. Dogs would cough. Environmentalists would yell. And time would march on. We would invent a new product that, with one quick application, would recolor everything. Ray-Ban would design some groovy new shades that allowed you to see through that nasty smoke and a whole new market would be created! Jobs jobs jobs! Maybe we could create more smoke to increase sales!Apple would release its new iPhone 6 with a built in respirator and life would be good once again.

Green ain't so bad. Smoke is the new black.

I say we dye it all and see what happens.

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