Wednesday, October 6, 2010

19. Collapses

I almost missed him, being deep in thought with a deadline looming. I was imagining scenarios when he stopped to ask the time. I told him and then couldn’t help staring. Since they built the President William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library in my neighborhood, it is not unusual to see someone famous, or near famous strolling about. “Aren’t you someone?” I asked.

“Could be,” he replied. “Who did you have in mind?”

I thought, then the book cover appeared in my head.

:You’re the author,” I said. “You wrote the book Collapse. Jared Diamond. Right?”

“I did pretty well,” he laughed. “Had you fooled.”

Shit! It was C.W.

“What in the world?”

He enjoyed my discomfiture for a moment and then led me to a bench. “Did you enjoy my book?”

“I enjoyed his book. Why are you he?”

“Went back in time doing research,” he said.

He had been “enphasing,” as he calls it—a process by which he places himself so mentally deep in a time that he is able to visit it.

“Why Mr. Diamond?”

“To answer a question he asked in his book. It involves a matter of behavior among your species in which I am particularly interested.”

“And that is?”

“It involves Contacura++. You remember that, don’t you?”

“I think it means Literally, the act of sitting on a baby’s face, or a foolish course of action.”

“Precisely. The kind your species is famous for.”

I winced. “So what have we done now?”

“Remember the Easter Islanders?”

“Oh yes. They exhausted the timber resources on their planet with no conservation measures so that the species died out. And they left those famous giant statues as their only legacy.”

“Well, Contacura++ was their legacy as well.”

“Oh yes.”

“Remember the haunting question I asked in the book?”

“You mean that Mr. Diamond asked?”

“If you must.”

“I think he wondered what was said when the last tree was cut, spelling society’s collapse”.

“Yes. He suggested maybe: ‘Jobs, not trees’ or ‘We don’t have proof that there aren’t palms somewhere else on Easter, we need more research, your proposed ban on logging is premature and driven by fear-mongering.’”

“So you went back to verify?”

“Yep. You want to guess what was said just before they cut the last tree?”

“It’s my property and I can do what I want to on it?”


“We can’t do anything that might hurt the economy?”

“Wrong again.”

These summbitches are ugly and dumb. - C.W.
“Okay, I give up.”

“There was this big meeting and the head man spoke. It took me awhile to master their language but I think I got it right.”

“And what did he say?”

“Well he first said: ‘Facts are stupid things.’ Everyone winced. Then someone said it was the Village Council’s duty to save the society from ruin. That’s when the chief made his final pronouncement.”

“And he said?”

“Government is not the solution. Government is the problem.”

“And they cut the tree down.”

“Without another word.”

No comments:

Post a Comment