Oilpacalypse ’10: Sorry, guys, I guess I should direct my concerns to whoever OWNS THE EXPLODING RIG

You know who would have never let a massive, apocalyptic Gulf oil spill happen? This guy.

GateHouse — When my brother was very young, he would frequently pee directly into a garbage can in our basement playroom rather than risk the long and perilous journey to the bathroom, which was all the way upstairs, like nine steps or something (in his defense, it’s not like you could pause the E.T. game on the Atari).

My parents, being sharp people (though aided by an Anonymous Tipster who may or may not have been trying to score more Pitfall time), would usually address the issue by asking Dave directly what he knew about the objectionable fragrance radiating from the garbage can. And every single time he was subjected to these intense investigations, each time he gazed into the face of parental wrath and irrefutable and dribbling evidence, he would provide the same singular, unvarying response: “No, Mom,” and then he’d conclude his presentation by casting suspicion upon the dog.

The massive oil spill currently begloppening (or threatening to begloppen) up the entire Gulf Coast, at least to my untrained eyes, seemed at first awful but not apocalyptic, mostly because that is what I was being told by some combination of BP, which owned the exploded rig, and the federal government, each of whom spent the first few days post-disaster gradually poking around online for each other’s phone numbers. The government passed the first days of the mess — which began with the explosion of a massive BP rig — by largely deferring to BP, asking for updates from BP, and deciding that they pretty much were OK with whatever BP said, which, surprisingly, was that BP had everything under control. It is as if my parents went upstairs, poured some coffee, looked at each other and sighed, “Maybe there’s something to this dog thing?” (Note: there wasn’t, as to successfully hit the garbage can Cutty would’ve had to basically get out a ladder, travel three steps up and then whizz diagonally).




What effect will the oil spill have on Gulf wildlife? To start with, this is a picture of a bluefin tuna.

Now, I’m not arguing for increased federal oversight of my brother’s childhood urinary decisions, but actually, maybe I am. Because for days BP has reminded everyone that the exploded rig was actually owned by Transocean, which also owns the absolutely factual “blowout preventer,” the object that broke in the first place. (If you’ve ever been kicking around investing in blowout preventer preventers, now is probably the time.) But otherwise they’re on the case, according to what will likely go down as the best quote of the year, from Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry of the Coast Guard to the New York Times: “BP, from Day 1, has attempted to be very responsive and be a very responsible spiller.” That is AWESOME; it’s like saying Dave intended, from the moment he ventured into the corner, to at least try to keep most of his pee in the can.

In any event, it is obviously a monstrous mess for the Gulf Coast, which was recently named one of America’s Best New Places To Raise A Family For The Four Or Five Years Until Something Extremely Terrible Happens That Everyone Will Pretend Not To Have Had The Remotest Idea About. (On the plus side, it’s not like Louisiana has any coastal wetlands left to ruin.) And it’s apparently not close to over. “To be frank, the offer of help from all quarters is welcome,” said BP spokesman David Nicholas, or in layman’s terms OH GOD WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.

So, apparently letting a massive oil company self-regulate its own environmental disaster might not be the way to go, OK, lesson learned. We’re all new here. But someone is going to have to scrub up this slickery schmutz, so while vast groups of disproportionately powerful adults simultaneously spot-forget all of their jobs and responsibilities, I’m announcing my initiative to gather a group of scientists, marine specialists, isolated island doctors, aspiring god-players, horror villains and Charlie Crist, to have them invent and breed a new brand of synthetic oil-eating fish. (Oh stop it: If we can genetically engineer corn to be nine times its normal-Earth size; if we can flood cows with enough McGwire Juice to make the delicious meatness virtually burst forth out of their skin, we can magic up one stupid fish.)

Oh, sure, you’re saying, because you hate the idea of unregulated evil geniuses indiscriminately engineering mutant nightmare-creatures and then impulsively dumping that untested wildlife into a major and troubled ecosystem, hippie, what will control the oil-eating fish? Um, hello, how about a little thing called Oil-Eating Fish-Eating Dolphins. It’s called American ingenuity people, it’s what makes this country great.

Because if we’ve learned anything in the past week, it’s that goodness and human decency will, against all odds, always win out over greed and very large sums of money, and by “if we’ve learned anything” I mean “we will all perish from eating super-slippery fish or as a direct result of financial ruin from a future prison twerp named Fab.” Meanwhile, advisers to President Obama have noted that, bowing to intense pressure from the multinational fishery lobby Big Shrimp (the most ironic lobby ever), they’ll temporarily suspend all future offshore drilling decisions, which kind of makes sense, because it’s not like my parents spent a lot of time installing new garbage cans in the basement.


About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

12 responses to “Oilpacalypse ’10: Sorry, guys, I guess I should direct my concerns to whoever OWNS THE EXPLODING RIG

  • Cribbster

    Daniel Plainview would have been a good asset, yes. Ben Affleck also. Affleck would have intuitively understood how much pressure the blowout preventer could withstand, and Bruce Willis would have begrudgingly backed that assessment.


  • Robin

    won’t the oil eating fish die after it eats all the oil? see, problem solved. 🙂


  • Thomas Stazyk

    “Responsible spiller?” I love it. Is that anything like a compassionate serial killer?


  • Petra

    Time to invest in the company that produces oil-eating bacteria/algae. Maybe golf balls would help too, or was that ping-pong balls… I bet Mythbusters did an episode on it. Give BP their number.

    Smart move to have the press conference with women giving the bad news – then subconsciously we associate the horrible oil spill with something that happened in the kitchen. “Oops, ol’ B.P. spilled some oil again, but nothing a dish rag and a little soap and water couldn’t clear up…”


    • Jeff Vrabel

      Ha! Surely you’re not suggesting that subconscious, stage-managed PR displays have anything to with this. They are scrubbing the sticky death off of baby dolphin eggs because that’s what their ethics demand! (note: I am not sure how dolphins reproduce)


  • Bubafettt

    THIS JUST IN: We only need less-toxic-oil-eating fish!


  • hold card

    Such a disgusting and sad nightmare this is. Bravo to you for caring enough to keep shining light on this underestimated world problem.


  • Tony Hayward’s Yacht Rock, or, Everybody Look At Me ‘Cause I’m Sailing On A Boat « jeffvrabel.com I humorist and music writer

    […] Oilpacalypse ’10: Sorry, guys, I guess I should direct my concerns to whoever OWNS THE EXPLODI… . Anyway, Hayward, who, to be fair, was likely exhausted by his weeks of miserable failure, took a breather last Saturday to watch his 52-foot yacht, which cost $700,000 and bears the actual name of “Bob,” participate in a rich-person race off the Isle of Wight, which is in England, which the grad students in the audience may recognize as being nowhere remotely near the Gulf of Mexico. Upon learning this, a good number of people, and by that I mean those born with a soul, went a little nuts. (For their part, President Obama and Vice-President Biden chose to appeal to the searing rage of the nation by simply spending part of the weekend golfing, because no one in the world apparently realizes how they look to everyone else in the world.) . But BP spokespeople, of whom there are still a few, if you can believe it, said it was the first day off for Hayward since the explosion, which brings to mind a question: Let’s say, hypothetically, that a pump exploded in your basement, filling in with, just pulling a number out here, six feet of fetid, Cocoa Pebbles milk-colored water. Let’s also say that water was bubbling, smelled like a very elderly egg-based appetizer and was also rising at the rate of one foot per six hours. Let’s assume further that parts of that water was on fire, and your dogs were underwater, along with all of your food, everyone in your book club. Estimating conservatively, how many days off would you take to attend the symphony? .. . […]


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