Save the Wails: Tundra & Lightening -- More ANWR

(Apologies for multiple title puns, but if puns were outlawed only outlaws would have puns.) It looks like the drilling of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) may proceed, despite bizarre wailing against it. In all my days, I don’t think I recall a public issue so black and white clear as this one. The drilling actually sounds like an answer to an environment-oriented prayer; in fact as I was praying the other day, something happened…..come along….


Me: Gracious and Merciful LORD, must we continue to fill our thirst for civilization, and warmth, and for the chance to travel multitudes of cubits, by consuming oceans of this hideous slimy fluid called petroleum, which stains, and even spilleth and poisoneth from time to time?

The LORD is silent.

Me: LORD, I shall not continue on like those miserable depressing Psalms, but please can Thou at least tell me Thou will finally stop our need for the black goo? Or at least canst Thou tell me what a "cubit" is?

The LORD (suddenly manifesting Himself): I shall answer thee for lo, I am merciful and mighty. But VEX ME NOT on this subject with quips about Psalms and cubits stolen from Monty Python and Cosby. And steal thou too not from South Park, or it shall be dealt as harshly unto thee as I dealt at the box office unto Team America: World Police. Nevertheless, hearken unto me: oil in great abundance shall remain very much and very sore needed by your species for many a time to come.

I am silent. And sad.

The LORD: But behold, I have made it wondrous good, or at least wondrous OK. For this loathsome fluid is found only at great but accessible remove, in places where few sane people inhabit or gawk. Beneath the ground, and in the deserts of the Middle East, the jungles of Venezuela, the off-shore continental shelves, and West Texas.

Me: But LORD, our thirst is rampant, ever hardier since the Great Plague of the SUV.

The LORD: I have seen this greater need; still I am steadfast and I promise something new; yes, there shall be more oil in abundance, but –

Me: -- I know Lord, now we shall pay for our gluttony. The evil fluid shall be ours but it shall flood our land in endless defiling rainstorms, gush like sludge through the wonders of Disneyland, spew forth wild in the midst of the Mississippi, and rush like a river of abomination down Main Streets everywhere, or perhaps be found in some crisis-ridden region ---

The LORD: Did thou just interrupt Me? Tell me Thou didn’t interrupt Me. Never interrupt Me!

I am silent.

The LORD: Now, as I was oracling, ye shall have more oil in abundance, but. . . I shall be yet merciful still; I have heard your prayer. For behold, a new ocean of oil to fill the thirst of civilization shall be found, an abundance for heat, light, energy, plastic, and other gracious gifts shall be found. And lo, it shall not ooze on thy homes and habitations; no not at all, to the contrary, it shall be in far off north Alaska, under the ground, but very accessible by modern technology. It shall be retrievable by controlled, affordable, and heavily regulated pumping. The very few people who live there shall have economic abundance and welcome it generally. This blessing shall be in a place called ANWR.

Me: Hallelujah, LORD! Thank you. . . . But I have heard it pronounced An-WAHR.

The LORD: My name is spelled Yahweh, but everyone pronounces it Jehovah. Go figure.

Me: LORD, I have read in the New York Times, Thy handmaid Gale Norton, Interior Secretary, assuring that this thing called tundra shall only be vexed ever more lightly than before with newer equipment, this to assuage great fear and consternation. People are gravely vexed by this ANWR. I hear that caribou shall be affected, and I knew not there was coffee in Alaska.

The LORD is silent for a time, and still a time again.

The LORD: Thou don’t get out much, dost thou? Caribou is one of my many animal creatures. Their herds may be affected; but they continue to multiply and exist all over, even at ANWR.

Me: But there is much consternation and many wails still about the thing called tundra. It shall be scarred! Is the tundra not a precious creature or item like Thy sacred Seraphim, or Thy sacred Ark, or the Holy Mountain in or near Alaska where Jor-El spoke to Superman? Or is it like the winged serpent Thou had Moses raise in the desert, or----

The LORD: Tundra is freezing cold treeless grassy plain.

Me: Cold. . . grassy. . . plain?

The LORD: Cold grassy treeless plain. Usually frozen hard grassy ground. All over my Earth’s Arctic regions is this endless tundra. “Rolling, treeless plain in Siberia and arctic North America.” Cubits and cubits and cubits of it.

Me: "Cubits and cub---" truly, Thou art now doing Cosby.

The LORD is very silent.

Me: Forgive me, Lord. But do I get this straight? They wish to stop a huge sea of necessary energy which keep houses warm, jobs flowing, and gasoline cheaper and which will keep ambulances taking children to hospitals, and make plastic products which administer sterile vaccines to the vulnerable, yea even to sick pets?

The LORD: That's a 10-4, good buddy.

Me: They wish to stop what will more affordably power electric grids and will allow us to synthesize polymers that make civilization possible, and thereby make it more possible to feed and transport America’s pets as well as people; they wish to stop all this so that some holes won’t be punctured in an endless cold grassy plain, and wild caribou *might* breed better?

The LORD: That's about right.

Me: To stop production from a frigid area of the world that just about nobody even visits, even trees, except every once in a while Superman and the ghost of Marlon Brando? Oil located in a remote part of the world that is not under hostile or foreign control. . .?! Where better on Earth could usable oil be found?

The LORD: Riiiggght. . .

Me: . . . A-ha! Cosby!...

The LORD: . . .But in fairness, they are worried that birds may not migrate in the same pattern.

I am silent for a time, and yet again a time.

Me (muttering): I am getting this? Tundra is cold . . . grassy. . .plain. . .Tundra is frigid ground that may become, what? . . . Scarred?. God put the loathsome but necessary oily evil of civilization in one of the most remotely located places on earth possible, uninhabited by trees, and barely inhabited by man or beast, yet still inside America and accessible; and there is actually anger AGAINST getting it from there?

The LORD: Testify, testify. . . .

Me: There are fervent outraged protests about exploiting this near-miraculous positioning of the retrievable accursed slimy goo under safely far off barren but American land in a time of rising prices and international tensions...?

The LORD and I are both silent for a time.

The LORD: As I remarked to Jonah when he sulked about Me not nuking Nineveh: “And shall I not spare Nineveh which there are more than a hundred twenty thousand persons . . .and many animals?”

Me: Wow, a sop to PETA in the Bible. Truly Thou art bi-partisan!

The LORD: Verily, but My beloved species is sorely ill-functioning.

Me: Hast Thou tried re-booting?

The LORD: Heard of Noah?

I am silent.

The LORD: OK, I AM doing Cosby.

Me: John Kerry opposeth ANWR drilling, canst thou not smite him with Thy oil of wrath?

The LORD: Where wast thou in November? Thou truly dost not get out much.

Me: LORD, a final moment -- whilst I have Thee on the line, so to speak, canst thou not address my other burning questions: what of mankind grotesquely tampering with nature…?

The LORD is silent.

Me: . . .what of affordable health care for the poor?...

The LORD is silent.

Me: . . . what of social issues like homosexuality or pornography?…

The LORD is silent.

Me: Please LORD, what of justice, and fairness,….

The LORD is still silent.

Me: . . . of the problems of race, of greed –

The LORD: Sorry, gotta go; the Michael Jackson trial is coming on now on E!

Me: But LORD, please … these must be addressed.

The LORD: Fret not, my son. All the issues you mentioned are addressed there.

Posted by Matthew Hogan at March 17, 2005 11:01 PM