08 August 2008

Drill Now!

The view from the garden

Like so many Americans, I am eager to set aside partisan politics in order to find quick fixes to difficult problems. That’s why I was so pleased to hear Senator John McCain’s new campaign slogan, “Drill here! Drill now!” It is the Republican’s assertion that increased offshore drilling would result in the immediate rise in production and reduction of prices at the gas pump. This flies in the face of the facts, as well as reason, logic, common sense, and the analysis and testimony of people who actually know anything about the subject, but it plays very well among voters like me, who know nothing, and Senator McCain is increasingly adamant on the point. I admire his tenacity. Like a remarkable percentage of Americans (two-thirds, in a recent poll), I find myself agreeing with the Senator. The experts, bah! What do they know?

Rather than wait for the do-nothing Congress to debate, rather than side with Democrats who, according to Senator McCain’s spokesmen, want Americans to pay more and to suffer, I decided to take action on my own. Though I’m sure the Senator really means “in the ocean,” if one defines “offshore” more simply as “not on American soil,” one can’t do better than France. I am already offshore. Thus I recognized a unique opportunity to contribute to American political and economic discourse by testing the Senator’s assertion. I determined to drill here — in Beynes — and to drill now.

Unfortunately, location was the easy part. I don’t personally possess any oil-drilling equipment. I meant to bring some when I moved to this country, but the lousy airline told me I was exceeding the weight allowance for my checked baggage. You know the feeling — we’ve all been there — standing at the check-in desk at JFK and sorting through your bag, removing your 25,000 feet of drill pipe and your spare cable, your drill mud and your derrick girders, while the attendant glares at you and the people waiting behind you begin to fume. Some arrogant New Yorker actually had the nerve to say, “I bet this guy is from Texas.” “You bet I am, buddy — wanna make something of it?” I replied. But my flight was leaving, and there was no time to brawl. I had to leave all my drilling equipment, every last bit, right there at the counter, and even at the time, I knew I’d regret it. I haven’t seen it since.

There will be oil:
With any luck, I will shortly look just like this guy.

However, the house at Beynes boasts a tool closet, filled with all kinds of gadgets and hardware accumulated as they are in any old house, particularly one that used to be part of a working farm, as this one was. Surely I’d find what I needed — and I did, a battery-powered hand-held perceuse with half a dozen changeable bits.

I cleared an oil patch in the garden and set to work. Regrettably, my output thus far has not been significant. The drill battery requires frequent recharging, and though I gave myself a head start by drilling in a pre-existing hole (abandoned by a hedgehog), I have yet to reach a depth greater than about 84 cm., or indeed to strike any oil. It’s been arduous and expensive, too, necessitating emergency medical treatment after I encountered a hostile native, Bernard, who walloped me when he saw what I was doing. But the true American spirit won’t back down — and certainly not to a Frenchman! I will not cease until I strike oil. Not James Dean, not Daniel Day Lewis himself could match my determination. My stitches will be removed in two weeks.

And I am pleased to note that gas prices in the United States have begun to drop already. I will write this very day to Senator McCain, reporting my success and urging him not to relent in his campaign. Reality-based policies are clearly a thing of the past, and ignoring facts and experts has led to most of the signature achievements of the current administration, from tax cuts to disaster relief, from the war in Iraq to enhanced interrogation methods. There is every reason now to believe that President McCain would enjoy comparable success. My offshore drilling is just the beginning.

In other news, the candidate threatens to hold his breath
until we vote for him.