When good dental floss goes bad…Garbage, the rotten kind…A legitimate successor…

I was a little nonplussed to realize, the other morning, that my dental floss has an expiration date on it. It appeared that it would be no good after January, which meant it was almost expired when I bought it. I wondered whether the artificial mint flavor on the string went bad after awhile or the string itself becomes compromised, breaking apart easily with the ravages of time and leaving little bits of minty thread lodged in the recesses of the mouth causing irritation, then an abscess, then an infection, which leads to the removal of the whole jaw and a life of mashed foods.  

I threw it out just to be on the safe side. 

These are the days of frivolous lawsuits. These are the days of liability. These are the days of dangerous pieces of old thread. Better to put an expiration date on everything, I suppose. The company that produces the floss is sending a very clear message: 

“If you can’t use a small spool of dental floss within a reasonable amount of time then you are beyond help as a modern human. Your gums will bleed. Your teeth will rot and fall out. Pyorrhea will set in and you will be shunned. Your breath will kill plant life. Of course dental floss doesn’t go bad, we at Simple String Technologies realize that. But if you can’t get your shit together for forty-five seconds a day to run some thread between your teeth then you deserve that rotten sewer behind your lips. There are more germs in that food-hole than the bedspread at a pay-by-the-hour motel. We wish you a scurvy Christmas and a halitosis New Year.”

There were some other interesting facts on the plastic casing of the dental floss besides the expiration date. I had three yards of it at the get-go, or 2.7 meters, which meant that I would’ve had less if I had been in Europe. Good to be an American in America using American standards of measurement. I pondered that fact for a moment and realized I am ripe for a job in the field of climate science or to be precise, climate science denial. My first order of business would be to blame global warming on the Celsius scale. 

“Feel how warm it is at 43 degrees Celsius? I’m melting here. In America, under our proper Fahrenheit system, 43 degrees is properly cold! Take that you proper British bastards.”  

Consider, really, that we are the only species that produces garbage. And not the good, Shirley Manson kind of Garbage, or even the corrupt, brainless, reality-television kind of garbage, but the real toxic kind that stinks and putrefies and blights. We can make radioactive waste. Either one of those words is bad enough, but we’ve found a way to unite them. Even rats are shocked by it. This fact alone should be enough of a reason for the legitimacy of the Environmental Protection Agency, Richard Nixon’s contribution to the environment other than funny masks with big noses.  We pollute. Let’s keep it in check. Seems reasonable, right? 

Well, come on down, John Beale, or as he’s known around Washington, the E.P.A.’s chief climate expert, or as he’s known around the world now, the jerk who defrauded the agency out of a million dollars in pay for doing absolutely nothing. Well, not nothing. According to Mr. Beale, he spent most of his time riding his bike and reading books, which leaves a very tiny carbon footprint. Pay scale high. Carbon output low. A fine model for future living.   

When Texas Governor Rick Perry finally settles on that third government agency he would eliminate, and if it happens to be the E.P.A., because by now he has had enough time to really weigh his decision, then in light of Mr. Beale’s mendacity, most will say, “By gum, it’s about time we closed that waste of time and money,” and nobody will care, and big industry will have a big carbon party and wake up with a big, polluted hangover.  

Even though one of the major concerns of the E.P.A. is clean air, somehow they didn’t bother testing the bullshit mist surrounding Mr. Beale for something like ten years, allowing the scientist to claim that he was undercover for the C.I.A. on clandestine missions in faraway places, instead of somewhere in Virginia tooling around on his ten-speed and finding out what Harry Potter has been up to. Clever, really, because the C.I.A. is never supposed to confirm or deny the employment of any spy. I’ve decided to start working for the C.I.A. myself. Now just have to get a job where the bosses are dumb enough to believe it and satisfied to fork over a paycheck for zero output. 

As to the problem of Mr. Beale’s successor, I believe I can suggest a fitting candidate.  Might we nominate Thamsanqa Jantjie, the sign-language fraudster from the Nelson Mandela tribute ceremony. He will be named the head of the E.P.A. He will keep a straight face. He will grip himself with both hands and shudder when the temperature, due to carbon emissions, drops dangerously low. He will dump water on his head and fan his brow when, again due to carbon emissions, it becomes unbearably hot. When the temperature reaches the 120’s, he will simulate cracking an egg on the sidewalk, then simulate eating that egg to indicate that it is so hot that one can fry an egg on the sidewalk. He will grip his throat when there is too much lead in the drinking water. He will hold his nose when radioactive waste washes up along the coasts. 

Happy New Year! 

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