By Rich Trzupek
Are you A. A. Gabriel?
Yes. I’ve verified your appointment, but before I send you in to see the Almighty, I need to make up your name-tags.
Name tags? I thought He was All-Knowing.
Postcards assure us that they are ready to serve, you pinheads, not Him. We’ve found they help put visitors at ease. Your name and affiliation?
John Muir, famous American naturalist, generally recognized as the original publicist for the natural beauty of the Western United States.
Teddy Roosevelt, also a conservationist of no small reputation, yet universally acknowledged as a rugged individualist, with an appreciation for the need for industrial might in a modern society.
And the nature of your business?
We’re here to petition His Magnificence for additional energy resources for our growing country. But we’d like them in such a fashion that they can be developed with the minimum disruption to the wonderful land He’s given us. I’ve brought along John to add credibility to my sincerity in that regard.
Any questions before I send you in? John?
Well, yeah, a couple of technical ones, but I don’t know if you can answer them.
Lookit Pinhead, you don’t make Archangel with a third grade education. Shoot.
Well do you think future generations could get by on the power of the wind?
Minimal reliability and too little energy content for large-scale use. Tell me, Bozo, when you look out at a natural wonder like El Capitan, what do you want in the foreground – endless stands of aspens or a forest of metal pipes with three-vaned propellers on them? Sheesh – I should put you to work cleaning the squished bugs and dead condors off the props for asking that question. What else?
How about the limitless energy of the sun?
Better call, Einstein. But in general way too diffuse – you want to try to power a subway system with solar power? Good luck. Eventually you guys might figure out how to use solar to generate hydrogen from cleaved water, but given the superficiality of your increasingly decadent society, it’ll take a while – maybe you’ll want to bring it up on the next Jerry Springer show. And finally?
Unhh- I thought fossil fuel deposits all originated eons ago. How’s God going to deal with things now?
Try not to strain your brain on this one – He’s God – He’s outside of time. For you guys time happens. For Him, what is, is. Just trust us on this one.
Okay, you guys can go in now – try not to make asses of yourselves.
Your Lordship, You’ve blessed our country with incredible natural beauty and an abundance of resources, but to support our expanding nation, we’re here to petition You for additional convenient sources of energy. From the standpoint of maximum ease of use, we’d like them to be fossil fuel sources, but we’d also ask that they interfere minimally with the beauty of the land You’ve given us.
A tall order, but they don’t call me God for nothing. You guys are aware that I’ve already loaded up your homeland with great stores of such substances? But let’s see what else can be done.
How about a couple of more oil fields? Teddy?
Well, how about moving a few of them offshore – I guess we’d like the minimum disruption of our land mass.
East Coast? West Coast? Gulf Coast?
How about the Gulf Coast first off. The Southerners don’t have much in the way of resources, I expect they’ll work them responsibly.
One more, East or West Coast?
The East Coast is heavily populated from Boston all the way down to Charleston. Maybe the Pacific Coast would be better.
Teddy! Oil spilling all over my majestic Pacific palisades? Please!
John, don’t get overly dramatic. It’s only oil. If you’re careful, you can get it out without making a mess. And yeah, if it spills, it’s pretty ugly, but for crying out loud, it goes away over a reasonable time frame. What do you think happened to all the oil in all the warships we’ve sunk since the steamship came along?
Okay, it’s California! As I recall, almost nobody lived there in my Presidency. They’ll probably never even need that energy.
Okay. I’ll give you one final major deposit. Let’s say about 10 billion barrels worth. Where do you want it? John?
Let’s see. The Great Plains?
The Ohio, Mississippi or Tennessee valley?
More in Ohio and Pennsylvania?
The southern shores of Lake Michigan?
Well, from my experience as a Bull Mooser, I can see a major Democratic Party political machine coming to power there. They’d just make a hash of it.
Central Florida? No, that’d interfere with the theme park industry. You guys probably wouldn’t approve of theme parks, but rest assured, the mass of the populace will.
Let’s see. The foothills of the Rockies?
Nope, too spectacular.
The foothills of the Sierras?
Yeeeeeks! Way too spectacular!!!!
Hey guys, we’re running out of land mass here. You’re not leaving me much to work with. Now wait a minute. I’ve got an idea. How about the most isolated area you’ve got? How about Alaska?
John, what’s the reason for the pained look??
Well your All-Beneficent, I’ve seen Alaska. Crystal clear air. Pristine lakes. Noble moose and caribou standing in front of incredible snow-capped mountains. Don’t put oil there.
Yeesh, John, what’ve you been doing – watching Dan Rather? Not that Alaska. Alaska’s the biggest territory you’ve got. It’s not all magnificent vistas, just like your beloved California isn’t all Yosemite. Ever seen the Mojave? Ever been to Bakersfield?
I’m talking the Alaska above the Arctic Circle. Desolate, unbelievably cold, barren tundra in the winter. Evil bug-infested marsh in the “summer”. I don’t forsake any of My creation, but if anything ever approached God-forsaken, this part would be right up there. Nobody would want to go there for fun, and only the most desperate of beasts is likely to make any use of it. Teddy?
But it is an untouched reserve of Your original creation. How much of it would we have to put at risk?
Well, let’s see, if I do a quick back-of-a-Seraphim’s-wing’s calculation, we’ve got 10 billion barrels, and a depth of so many feet. Oh, I figure a land area equivalent to two or three times that of New York’s Central Park.
You can do that? 10 billion barrels?
Modern drilling technology, efficient use of the area’s geology – piece of cake. Now I’m going to have to deal with a related matter.
Ummhh, Your Magnificence, might we ask what?
Well, ultimately I’d like to see all this business of fossil fuel moot, so I’m also bestowing on mankind the gift of nuclear power – clean, cheap, virtually limitless power. But, before you can you use it, I have an annoying complication to deal with.
And that would be?
You guys are familiar with My commandments? You know the one “Thou shalt have no strange gods before Me”? Well, if you people are ever going to make use of magnificent gifts like nuclear power, you’re going to have to get past a bunch of irresponsible earth-worshippers who have no clue about where their comfortable lifestyle comes from.
Gabriel, why don’t you let these fellows have a look at my file on Greenpeace?