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Despite oil spill, I'll be at the beach

Gee, not hearing much from the "drill, baby, drill" corner these days, are we?

Even the president, my guy, seems to be hastily backpedaling from his recent flip-flop on the issue of offshore drilling during apparent horse-trading over global warming legislation.

Sorry, fellow Dems, but, as Tony Soprano would say, "It is what it is." President Barack Obama said during the campaign he would retain the ban on drilling, and then, admitting the decision was a painful one, said he was going to open up drilling on about 500,000 square miles of U.S. coastal waters.

He just thought that was painful. Now he knows real pain. Must feel like Charlie Crist did after the hugging picture.

A little disclosure here, before my conservative friends in the Grunt 'n' Groan Society at the big table in my favorite tavern call my attention to it with appropriate guffaws: I took a moderate stand during some recent discussions on the issue.

It had been a long time since the last well blowout, and I figured (sigh!) there were technological advances that made old concerns less important, and, like everyone else, I am tired of being held up at the pump by oil companies and oil speculators. And that (last admission of the day) is, in part, because I drive a gas-guzzling van, although I am trying to save money for something smaller and less thirsty.

When I was a kid, just about everyone who lived along Florida's east coast (didn't see much of the west then) kept a container of mineral spirits, a rubber mat and a bag of cotton balls or rags next to the entrance to their home. Proper etiquette, when entering, was to stop, remove your shoes as if entering some religious structures and then dab the blobs of brownish-black crude oil off your feet before entering barefooted.

From what I can find out, that isn't really a medically recommended use of mineral spirits. I've heard of people using everything from acetone to mayonnaise, but I still miss the smell of the jug by the door, and I've probably done worse damage to my body with other chemicals in my time.

And it looks like it's time to get out the jugs again — and, if you own Procter & Gamble stock, smile. P&G makes Dawn, the stuff environmentalists use to clean seabirds.

It looks (at this writing) as if much of Florida's coastline could still be tainted by the spill. The Panhandle is a pretty much a given. Tourism is severely threatened. The fishing, shrimping, crabbing, and oyster and clam farming industries are in serious peril.

I, personally, am planning to show support by spending more time at the beach this summer (my annual trip to Colorado has been canceled for personal reasons). I figure the folks at the beaches are going to need the money, prices will probably be great and you can actually enjoy the beach without swimming.

I hardly ever visit the beach when in Key West, and I just spent a week at Casey Key, where water temperatures were keeping everyone but Canadians out of the water, and didn't get in past my ankles.

But I can't ignore or forget that the well has been pumping 210,000 gallons of crude a day into the gulf that laps at our shores. And I am trying (like, I'll bet, every resident of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi) not to let the word "Katrina" and all that it implies about the functioning of our disaster preparedness infrastructure go through my head.

I'm trying not to be Chicken Little, but if you were a gulf shrimp and looking upward … you might agree that the sky just might be falling.

Despite oil spill, I'll be at the beach 05/08/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 10, 2010 9:00am]
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