Responses to Lobsters, Tsunamis, and Global Warming
I don’t want to unnecessarily upset anyone, but get out! Get out, now! Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t ask any stupid questions, such as “Why”! If you don’t follow these instructions exactly, you’re going to die!
Come to think of it, even if you do follow them, you’re probably going to die, eventually. That fact makes the situation appear sort of hopeless, and I wouldn’t even bother finishing this posting, except I need the money for gas to escape impending doom.
Now that I’ve caused panic in the streets, looting in the liquor stores and a sudden decision by the governor to take another vacation in Jamaica, I probably should explain that I based my sober and measured assessment of the situation not on any actual facts, but rather on pure speculation. To tell the truth, I’m not aware of any dire circumstances (other than the usual crappy economy) or potential threats (other than layoffs, shutdowns, bankruptcies and defaults) bearing down on Maine that would justify abandoning everything and fleeing like Manny Ramirez after failing a drug test.
That doesn’t mean it’s safe to just sit there, staring at your computer screen with a vacant expression on your face (yes, I can see you – ugly shirt, by the way).
The federal government has determined Maine needs to be evacuated. To that end, the feds have sent us $30,000 to pay for a bunch of signs telling us where to go.
Hmmm, I probably could have phrased that differently.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (motto: Administering The Oceans And The Atmosphere About As Well As The Federal Reserve Administers The Economy) has determined that the state needs to prepare for a tsunami.
Tsunami is the Japanese word sophisticated people use when going into a sushi bar and ordering a tidal wave. Such an occurrence is unlikely in Maine (the tidal wave, I mean, not somebody going in a the sushi bar), with the last record of such an event happening in … well, uh … never. But we do have hurricanes and coastal storms that can cause flooding. And a prestigious group of architects has determined that by the end of the century, some parts of Portland, South Portland and other communities with valuable ocean frontage will be underwater, due to global warming. That’s going to raise hell with property values. Not to mention the cost of sending scuba divers to do the assessments.
So, the feds are convinced we need signs pointing us toward safe evacuation routes.
It’s not that I’m ungrateful for this gift, but I can’t quite shake my skepticism about its usefulness. Several years ago, some bureaucrat decided similar signs ought to be posted along Route 9 in Saco and Old Orchard Beach, directing summer tourists and locals to safe spots in the event the area flooded. This might have been helpful if the signs hadn’t pointed both ways. Apparently, it never occurred to the originators of this idea that if you could drive in any direction to escape the rising water, signs were sort of redundant.
I fear the new program will be equally unhelpful. Unless all the signs direct us to climb Mount Katahdin. Because, in general, Mainers manage these sorts of situations with calmness and common sense. I recall occasions in the 1970s when storm surges forced seawater into the old Holy Mackerel, a much-missed watering hole on Portland’s waterfront. In those days, there were no federal projects designed to herd the patrons to safety, so they just climbed on top of the bar and kept drinking until the tide went out.
If only all disasters could be dealt with so discretely.
Take, for instance, the problem of eating steamed lobsters in public.
For real Mainers, this is no problem at all. They haven’t been able to afford lobsters in fancy restaurants since the recession hit. And anyway, they prefer to feast on the things at home, where they can dress in old clothes – or better yet, no clothes at all – and make as much of a mess as necessary. Then, they hose down the house and themselves, thereby taking care of not only cleaning up after the meal, but also housecleaning and the weekly bath.
If you can lather up the dog in the process, that’s another chore completed with minimal effort.
But back to eating lobsters. People from away and people trying to impress people from away still go to restaurants and order lobster. Because people F.A. and people T.T.I.P.F.A. are often unfamiliar with how to eat the crustaceans, they end up covering their expensive leisure clothing with lobster broth, butter, and assorted gunk. This can be great fun to watch.
Now, however, there’s a device designed to take all the enjoyment out of observing flatlanders inadvertently covering themselves in a thin coating of lobster pancreas.
This week, a former New Hampshire woman came to Maine to show off a platter that captures the juices that drain out of a steamed lobster so that they don’t end up as a permanent souvenir on shirt fronts of that glorious trip to Vacationland. The University of Maine’s Lobster Institute (motto: Educating The Next Generation Of Lobsters So They Can Find Their Way Out Of Those Nasty Traps) owns a piece of the action on this invention. Institute director Bob Bayer told the Associated Press, “With this product, I can enjoy a lobster and not have to change my pants when I’m done eating.”
Apparently, Bayer is unaware of recent advances in the technology of adult diapers.
If I were as tasteless as my critics claim, there’d be a joke right here about evacuation warnings. Something like, “Attention: Don’t Sit In Any Chair Bob Bayer Has Been Using While Eating Lobsters.”
But I’m not, so there isn’t.
See, Al Diamon can be as refined as any other tourist. Congratulate him on his fine manners by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.