The Truth, Mainly - 03/26/2007

My global warming nightmare
by Leon Satterfield

If you're as much a sensitive flower as I am, I've got some advice for you:

Don't read about global warming just before you go to bed. It'll give you the fantods while you're still awake and nightmares after you go to sleep.

How do I know? Let me tell you.

One night just last week I read the following on my e-mail:

•Global warming has already melted 38,000 square miles of sea ice. That's about the size of Alaska. The Independent UK website quoted a University of Colorado glaciologist named Mark Serreze saying this: "When the ice thins to a vulnerable state, the bottom will drop out and we may quickly move into a new seasonally ice-free state of the Arctic….There is some evidence that we may have reached that tipping point, and the impacts will not be confined to the Arctic region."

•The same website reports that "Rising temperatures between 1981 and 2002 caused a loss in production of wheat, corn, and barley that amounted in effect to some 40 million tons a year."

•The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tells us that "the combined global land and ocean surface temperature from December through February" this year "was at its highest since records began in 1880." And the "ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1995."

•But what really gave me the fantods is what the Reuters website reminded us of about our President: "Bush opposes mandatory greenhouse gas cuts and withdrew the country from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming…."

So that's what I was thinking about as I went to bed, and I suppose that's what goosed me into my nightmare about our President and global warming. It's one of those recurring nightmares where you know what's going to happen but you can't do anything about it.

Mine always starts with a hellaciously loud noise in front of our house. I go to the window and see that Air Force One has just landed on our street. The President gets out of the plane and rings our doorbell.

"Mr. President?" I always say. "Is it really you?"

He spreads all ten of his fingers and puts them on his chest, a sign that he really means what he's about to say.

"You betcha," he always says. "I just wanted to let you in on my solution to global warming so you can rest more easily. I've ordered all the bombers in the Air Force to drop 500-pound blocks of ice all over the globe. Will that cool off global warming or what?"

"Makes sense to me, Mr. President," I say, "but I hope they don't drop one on our house. Our roof isn't very sturdy."

"But that's not all," he says. "We're requiring that on every day the temperature gets above 70 degrees, all the world's car-owners will have to drive around with their air-conditiors going full blast and all their windows wide open while they holler 'Take that, global warming!'"

"Good idea, Mr. President," I always say.

"And you know what else?" he says. "Anyone who sweats without a license will be required to take their refrigerators and freezers into their front yards, hook them up to extension cords, open the refrigerator doors and the freezer lids until the cold air coming out forces the temperatures to drop into the high sixties."

"Wow dowdy," I always say. "If anything will defeat global warming, that surely will. Is there anything else?"

"We're just beginning," he always says. "We're requiring that anyone with a window air conditioner must install it backwards so that the cool air is being blown outside."

"Holy Moly, Mr. President," I say, "That's a great idea. Gives me cold chills."

"But wait," he says. "Here's the piece de resistance."

"Tell me, tell me," I say. "I can't resist pieces de resistance."

"Well," he says, squinching up his eyes to show he's not kidding, "we've done a lot of research on this and we've found that the so-called global warming is most noticeable in the months of June, July, and August."

"Hey," I say. "I think you're on to something."

"And do you know how I'm going to deal with that?" he says. "I'm going to exercise my executive infallibility and issue a Presidential Edict that abolishes the months of June, July, and August and re-assigns their days to the cooler months. So we'll just have nine months instead of twelve, but we'll add about ten days to each of the cooler months and we won't have to change the length of the year. Whaddya think?"

"Sheer genius," I always say. "I couldn't have thought of it in a thousand years."

And that's when I always wake up, sweating profusely. I don't know how much longer I can take it.


Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail address is:

©Copyright Lincoln Journal Star