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In The Weeds: Who You Calling Addict, A-hole?

July 6, 2010
Beavis and Butthead

"Can you believe Americans use so much cheap energy?" "No. Americans suck. Except for us."

While sipping my morning coffee last week and minding my own business, Tom Brokaw essentially reached through the television screen and bitch slapped me.  Old man marble mouth took a break from retirement to blame me (and you) for the BP oil spill.  I know.  I, too, was like “Tuh huh?”

It all started when Matt Lauer sat down to interview Tom about the heartbreaking gusher in the Gulf that just won’t stop. (Gawd, someone please make it stop).  But yeah, a talking head was interviewing a talking head.  They totally taught us to not do that in journalism school.  Anyways, Mister Junior Multi-Millionaire said to Mister Senior Multi-Millionaire, “On that live camera, we are seeing something else, we are seeing our appetite for oil.  And do you think at the end of all this, do you think Americans are going to take away the proper message?”  For his part Brokaw responded that he hoped “young people who are coming of age” and entering public service and the corporate world will view the spill as a “defining moment” and warned if they didn’t make the needed changes “we’re gonna have these kinds of ecological disasters in waves coming year after year.”

Puh-leeze.  Tom Brokaw is just the latest in a string of carbon Bigfoots calling me an oil addict.  I contemplated this mashed-potato-mouth’s comments as I pumped half a tank of gas into the smallest car in which I could reasonably fit four people.  As I see it, I need oil in the same way I need oxygen, food and sleep.  I’d save a lot of time and money without them, but it’s really not up to me.  Unless you want me on the welfare check, I gotta get to work.  And pardon me for not living somewhere as small and connected as Europe, but I happened to be born in a place that offers no trains, no buses, no trams and not even horses.  America’s real big, mmmkay? I didn’t settle it. I just work here.

Tom Brokaw house

Tom Brokaw's Poundride, NY abode.

I’m sure Brokaw understands, because his home in rural New York shelters only himself and a wife and is in excess of 10,000 square feet.  My house would likely fit in his guest room.  I must only drive 20 minutes to my job, but Brokaw has to drive at least 90 minutes from Pound Ridge, NY to Manhattan.  Or he takes a helicopter.  Or he sleeps in his city penthouse.  Of course, when he’s feeling really crowded, he can always take off in a private jet (rented, not owned…that would be irresponsible) to his 5,000-acre ranch in Montana.

If Brokaw is truly interested in having a defining moment, I’d recommend we trade homes for a week.  There is no more effective “defining moment” than hopping around while waiting to use the one bathroom in a 1,200 square foot house.  But hey, it’s a 1,200 square foot “ranch” home.  So we do have the ranch thing in common.

Matt Lauer's House

Matt Lauer's Southampton estate.

As an aside, all this blaming of the masses by the entitled few reminds me of serving.  No matter what goes wrong in any restaurant, it’s always the servers fault.  The tables are overbooked and the host stand is surrounded by angry masses?  Servers aren’t turning fast enough.  Steaks are overcooked and sent back to the chef?  Servers aren’t properly explaining temperatures.  It’s a slow Tuesday night? Servers aren’t making an extra effort to be friendly and get repeat business.  I often wonder when servers will realize that their very existence is causing problems for restaurant managers and the rest of the dining public?  Sheesh.

To be honest, I’m really just living off coal, electricity and oil to annoy Brokaw and the other addiction hypocrites counselors.  I’ll switch to solar and wind when I’ve made my point.  It’s really that easy, right?  I’m putting a bunch of pinwheels and pink flamingos with spinning legs up in my yard, and then I’m going to simply go off grid   I’m also saving garbage for my car’s flux capacitor.

I can’t prove it, but I’d be willing to guess that the richer you are, the larger your carbon footprint.  If you can afford multiple ovens, a bathroom for each bedroom and a then some, pool parties for hundreds of guest, large acres of manicured lawns and an interior lighting designer (y’know…more than just the one bulb in the center of each room), then you’re probably sucking down some serious oil.  So please, before you ask if we huddled masses are going to get the “proper” message, kindly downsize to a family Prius, one bathroom and a sensible ranch.  My June gas bill was $24.  How much was yours, Mr. Brokaw?

My place. Den of addiction.


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6 Responses to “ In The Weeds: Who You Calling Addict, A-hole? ”

  1. Shannon on July 6, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Great piece, Charity. This whole thing has always bugged me. Politicians are notorious for taking chartered planes, etc and living in gigantic homes (Al Gore) and then lecturing the little people. Hypocrites.

  2. David on July 6, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    CJ, I think you missed the big target. For most of his career Mr Brokaw worked as the calming voice of NBC’s parent company, General Electric. The GE responsible for the 4th largest number of superfund sites of any company. The GE responsible for the nuclear bombs we will eventually dispose of one way or another. The GE responsible for the incredibly inefficient energy production plants that feed the incredibly inefficient electrical grid they helped develop to feed the incredibly inefficient appliances they use to bring good things to life.

    I hear for his next project he is going to address our shrinking civil liberties. It will be sponsored by the Cheney Foundation.

  3. Dad on July 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Wow…never saw this coming!! You make me prouder by the minute and yes my carbon footprint while not up to Tom’s and Matt’s standards does exceed yours.
    Very well done

  4. Mr. Smarty Pants on July 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    This post actually came up in a conversation between myself & Cornelius Funk (aka, “Mr Frothy”) last night. We both agreed it was top-shelf. I’m with pops on this one, very well done!

  5. FrothyGirlzCJ on July 8, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Thanks ya’ll! My car’s gas light just came on…again. I never fill up before the light comes on. That’s how much I DON’T want to buy gas. But if I just ditch the car and start walking on the highway, I’d get a stern talking to by the po po. So law enforcement actually enforces my addiction.

  6. Jesus McGrimba on July 10, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I’d put solar panels on my roof – if I could only afford it.

    I’d drive an electric car, or convert my hybrid to a full-on plug-in – if I could only afford it.

    Funny how those who really want to do the right things by our environment are prevented by those who dominate our economy. Also funny is how talking heads with fat wallets, like messrs. Brokaw and Lauer, who preach to the masses to do the right thing fail to do so themselves.

    Those look like nice houses. I don’t see any solar panels. Or compost bins. Or hybrids in the driveway.