Lava Is A Many Splendored Thing
Gov. Paul LePage gave his first State of the State speech on Jan. 24, and I have to admit I was disappointed with his performance. LePage devoted all his time to discussing the serious problems that confront Maine and what has to be done to deal with them.
Not a word about the troubles Maine doesn’t have.
Florida has an infestation of ball pythons. And presidential candidates.
This state has only a profusion of bad basketball players on the Maine Red Claws roster and a quirky visit from Ron Paul, who hardly qualifies as a serious candidate for president, although he might work out as a point guard.
LePage should have emphasized that stuff. Some business that doesn’t want ball pythons hanging around its waiting room crushing potential clients and swallowing them whole might have been inspired to move to Maine. Possibly, that business would have some employees who, unlike the average Red Claw, could shoot a three once in a while.
Hawaii is another example of a state with serious disadvantages Maine doesn’t have. It has volcanoes, and what thriving industry wants to locate next to a hill that randomly decides to shoot off rocks, fire, soot, lava and nasty pieces of what appear to be Newt Gingrich’s morals? Instead, they’d welcome a chance to move to magma-free Maine, where the only thing that erupts unexpectedly is the governor.
Uh oh. I’ve just learned that our fair state may have lost that advantage over Hawaii. Bethel’s annual Winterfest has announced it’s planning to feature a “Fire and Ice” volcano. In the past, this event has generated publicity by constructing such harmless attractions as the world’s largest snow sculpture that vaguely resembled Olympia Snowe and an enormous ice phallus.
The former offended members of the Tea Party and the latter offended those who are prudish about public displays of sexual organs. But the volcano – said to be capable of destroying in a single eruption the entire assets of Apple and General Motors combined – should offend everyone concerned about the state’s economy. Once word gets out the lava is flowing through western Maine like beer flows at Super Bowl parties, those industries that were lured here are going to start thinking that having their customers devoured by ball pythons isn’t all that big a problem compared to having them end up encased in lava, where they’ll be preserved for thousands of years until some twenty-fifth century archeologist chips them loose and puts them in a museum exhibit called “The Year That Winterfest Went Way Too Far In Its Desperate Attempts To Attract Attention.”
But it may be just as well Gov. LePage didn’t try to paint Maine as some paradise free of the evil afflictions that beset other states. Because it seems increasingly likely a lot of those afflictions will be arriving here in the near future.
For instance, the spotted wing drosophila has been spotted (well, of course) in this state. The SWD (looks like an acronym for a venereal disease, doesn’t it) is an insect that feeds on only one thing:
Which means that after the Bethel volcano buries us all in business unfriendly layers of geological refuse, we’ll be devoured by drosophila, possibly while still alive, but preserved in a state of suspended animation. So much for awakening in the twenty-fifth century to discover that Newt Gingrich VIII (a direct descendent of the current Newt’s affair with the woman who would eventually become his sixth wife) is president.
Please disregard all that. I’ve been informed by entomologists that drosophilans do not eat lava. They eat fruit, because, as it turns out, they’re fruit flies. Asian fruit flies. Not like out good old American fruit flies that form clouds around decaying bananas. These little boogers prefer their fruit while it’s still ripening. Which means they’ll be really pleased when they find out about Maine’s blueberry crop.
According to a story in the Maine Sunday Telegram, these flies are “highly fecund,” which is a polite way of saying they’re horny all the time. Sort of like Newt, only with a better excuse.
In the past, Maine might have escaped the widespread infestation of these bugs that is likely to hit us this spring, because our winter’s weren’t conducive to insect sex. But that’s no longer the case. As global warming progresses, the state is experiencing climate change that can only be characterized through this terrifying sentence:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has redrawn its color-coded maps of growing zones to move the mid-coast of Maine and areas in southern York County from zone 5b to zone 6a.
Not zone 6a! Anything but zone 6a! Because as those of us with long memories can recall, it was in zone 6a that …
Oh, wait, that was a Stephen King book. I don’t actually have a clue what the agriculture department’s zone 6a means, except that apparently you can grow plants that need warmer weather. Of course, as soon as you do that, they get eaten by spotted wing drosophila, so what’s the point? You might as well die in a lava flow as have to endure that.
Or you could be killed in a fiery airplane crash caused by … well, um … as unlikely as it seems … oysters.
In Trenton, a guy who wants to grow oysters in a local cove has found his plans delayed because he doesn’t have a permit from the Federal Aviation Administration. At first, I thought it might be because the noise of the planes at a nearby airport frightens the oysters, causing them to shoot into the air, penetrating the fuselages of passing planes. But it turns out that was just one of my paranoid fantasies. The real problem is oyster beds attract birds. Birds fly into aircraft causing crashes. The crashes cause cracks in the earth that release underground pressure. Before long there’s a volcano growing at the end of the runway. The hot lava warms the air, making it hospitable for spotted wing drosophila, which devour all the available fruit. That prompts calls for federal disaster aid. That leads to the presidential candidates jumping in planes to survey the damage from the air. That scares the oysters, who shoot into the skies, bringing down the candidates’ jets and eliminating most of the contenders for president. In fact, the only one left is Ron Paul, who had given up campaigning to work out with the Maine Red Claws (speaking of disaster areas). He’d be moving into the White House right now if his libertarian leanings hadn’t caused him to ignore government warnings (“The feds are always trying to tell us what to do”) and to stray into a lava field never to be seen again.
Fortunately, the newly volcanic Maine has a booming economy.
Lava lamps just came back into fashion.
Al Diamon likes his oysters raw and his drosophila fried. Recipes for either can be emailed to email@example.com.