Slick Trick

Days ago representatives from the companies responsible for the Deepwater Horizon appeared before Congress to state they are, in fact, not responsible for the (now very) Deepwater Horizon. Their oil platform had been above the water, and this one is indisputably below it. Obviously it's somebody else's. It was a case of mistaken identity, a printer's error or, you know, something. Anyway, BP, Halliburton and Transocean collectively remembered that this was definitely not their pumping station and not their problem right after it turned into an underwater grease volcano.

But then who is to blame? If not the owner, operator or financier then who is at fault for what promises to be the greatest environmental disaster since Michael Brown? And if such a person could be found, wouldn't it be only fair for the three once-but-no-longer-responsible-parties to reward him for letting them slink nobly away, redirecting the focus on himself due to his desperate need for any kind of attention, be it good, bad or the kind that gets one convicted of crimes against the planet? Yes, it would.

I can no longer remain silent. Investigations will soon bring to light the real bad actor in this tragedy. I believe it is better to come forward with the truth now than continue protecting the genuine culprit, regardless of his lack of mal intent or my affection for him.

It was my dog.

I was as shocked as anyone. Probably more so, because of my familiarity with what I thought were the physical limitations of a fourteen year old impure-bred's physique, but apparently Jean-Pierre's got some surprises left in him. Even now, watching this seventy-pound lump of brown and white canid sprawled across the couch, farting in his sleep (he just can't help ruining the planet!) I find it nearly impossible to accept him as sole initiator of the massive environmental and economic devastation that is already impacting the Gulf states. Yet the facts are inescapable.

This past April, Jean-Pierre, the kids, the wife and I took our spring vacation in a rented shore cottage, enjoying the affordable pleasures of America's third coast (or fourth if you count the Great Lakes, but they're fresh water so I don't think you should). On the 22nd instant, my sons Zaphod and Ray-Ray were in the afternoon session of an argument over a spectacularly alluring bent stick. My far too beautiful wife, who promises one day to reveal to me her name, was tossing a ball into the feculent surf for the dog to retrieve. I skipped stones.

For nearly an hour my thirty-, forty- and fifty-hop record-breakers went ignored by my self-absorbed clan. Finally I'd had enough. How long must a man's achievements go unapplauded by those whose good time he's paying for? "Hey, get a load of this!" I shrilled at them, before hurling a perfectly formed three-ounce biscuit of quartz across the laminar brine. Only the dog noticed.

Taking my rock for his ball, he blasted off after it, and when at last it sank (following what had to be over a hundred skips), J.-P. dove down in pursuit. The mother of my children, her one true love now unseen beneath the waves, threw herself to the sand and beseeched heaven for his immediate return.

"There, there, wife," I soothed, "he'll be restored to us a nonce." "Stop talking like that, you idiot" was her grief-stricken response. With all the sympathy they could muster, the boys asked if we could replace Jean-Pierre with an Aldabra tortoise. Then, as the wife keened louder and I calculated an eBay recoupage of the virtually unused micro-fiber buckwheat-filled $300 dog-bed we'd just bought for this trip, what appeared to be a black seal came into view.

Swimming frantically with a distinctly non-pinniped stroke, we quickly realized who the oil-sodden grotesquerie paddling to shore was. Wife, a life-long aquaphobe, suddenly channeled Gertrude Ederle and beat sand for the water. She had Jean-Pierre safely landed before I could even offer to hold her watch.

As the boys began eagerly ruining our towels in their attempt to de-oleate the dog, I casually picked up what he'd dropped at my wife's feet, hoping to recover a really swell skipping stone.

Needless to say I was disappointed. The object for which J.-P. had risked the slender remains of his life was a flimsy metallic portion of some sub-marine component. It was imprinted with the then cryptic phrase "...OIL WELL BLOW-OUT PREV..." and the less cryptic warning "DO NOT REMOVE!" Looking out toward the horizon we witnessed the vast skin of unctuous fluid spreading steadily across the gulf. Wife and I exchanged a glance. I let her say it. "Bad dog."