Saturday, May 1, 2010


A huge oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is slip-sliding towards the coastline of the southern United States after an off-shore drilling platform exploded and sank this week.

Recriminations have begun, but the oil slick doesn't seem to mind as it edges towards the shores of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, threatening wildlife and various fishing industries.

The disaster, which looks to be the biggest of its kind in U.S. history, comes in a week when the administration in Washington announced -- but has now put on temporary hold -- that off-shore drilling would be expanded. Today's disaster will eventually be forgotten and drilling will go forward under rules that will promise that accidents like the one in the Gulf of Mexico won't occur again.

Forgetting and ignoring and balancing risks against rewards -- what an ingenious capacity.

I guess everyone feels the regret and remorse that accompanies the explosion of their own off-shore oil rigs. All that building, all that risk assessment, all that expensive effort in their own lives and suddenly ... BOOM! And I imagine that everyone has a public relations shill as well -- some voice in a blue suit and with immaculate finger nails who will spin the disaster and help them forget, forgive, or make lemonade out of lemons... and move forward with more drilling.

Yes it is "human."

But I wonder if it really works -- really sets a scene in which things do not, by their very nature, go BOOM! Money, successes, relationships, good times and bad ... BOOM!

Religions, of course, can capitalize on the BOOM aspects of life, but religions too go BOOM, so a confected goodness is hardly an answer ... it's just another version of a guy in a blue suit with immaculate finger nails.

For those who are honestly tired of watching the oil slicks creep onto their shores, watching the wildlife flapping and flopping helplessly, watching things come apart in yet another BOOM, I think there is a better mousetrap.

That mousetrap requires a seldom-used capacity to pay attention and take responsibility. But just because it is seldom-used doesn't mean it is not available -- this BOOM-stopper.

If BOOM is the nature of all things, then it would behoove us to investigate and embrace our BOOMs, not hire some PR firm to paper things over.

Attention and responsibility -- there's no point in praising them. But there is something to be said for exercising them.

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