Tom Purcell, 12/10/2007 [Archive]

Bickering to Save the Earth

Bickering to Save the Earth

By Tom Purcell

Blanche and John Bickerson, two fictional characters who finally divorced after their radio show was canceled in 1951, discussed getting back together to save the environment.

"I don't know why we're even talking about this, Blanche. Getting back together is a terrible idea."

"But we have to, John. Michigan State University found recently that divorced people, because they no longer share one household but require two, use 61 percent more resources than married people."

"Be honest, Blanche. You want to get back together to use more of MY resources."

"You used to be so considerate, John. But ever since you married me, you have no sympathy at all."

"When I married you, I got everybody's sympathy. Look, Blanche, maybe we should take it slow. Why don't we fly to the Bahamas?"

"But what about our carbon footprint, John? It would be selfish of us to burn more fossil fuel just so we can go to an exotic location and patch things up."

"All right, Blanche. Why don't we go out for a nice dinner somewhere -- get a couple of steaks and talk things over?"

"You know better than that, John! Cow flatulence produces methane, a greenhouse gas. And so many trees have to be felled to clear land for grazing. Eating steak is one of the worst environmental sins!"

"Goodness gracious, Blanche. Then how about some fish?"

"Fish are bad for the environment, too. Fossil fuels must be burned to power the boats that catch the fish. Then the fish have to be trucked all the way across the country, which requires even more fossil fuel."

"I'll tell you what I'll do, Blanche. I'll go down to the lake and catch a couple of fish, then grill them up on the barbecue."

"We can't barbecue, John! Every time a person barbecues, he emits 50 to 100 grams of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That's why progressive countries, such as Belgium, have issued a barbecue tax."

"OK, Blanche, let's stay in tonight and have peanut butter sandwiches in front of the fireplace."

"Fireplace, John! Don't you know some parts of the country are considering various bans on wood-burning fireplaces? At the very least, governments should mandate pollution controls on them. How dare we pump soot, smoke and toxic fine particles into the air to enjoy a little romance."

"OK, Blanche. How about I light a couple of candles to get the mood right?"

"Every candle we burn will produce 15 grams of carbon dioxide, John. Haven't you heard of the Green Hanukkah campaign? A group of Israeli environmentalists is encouraging Jews across the globe to light one less candle on their menorah this year. If they're going to sacrifice so should we."

"Look, Blanche, if we do decide to get back together, maybe we should start a family."

"Children, John! Children are needy creatures that demand the Earth's precious resources to be wasted. Our children would cause even more greenhouse gases to be pumped into our fragile ecosystem."

"For Pete's sake, Blanche. Look, it's true the Earth has warmed roughly one degree in the last 100 years. It's possible human behavior has contributed in some way to that increase. It's also possible that it's a natural cycle -- that humans have virtually nothing to do with it."

"Oh, John!"

"Whatever the case, we all need to keep our head about us, Blanche. The hysteria and fear-mongering has got way out of hand. That is no way to address any challenge, but because some politicians, advocacy groups and media members see profit in emotion and fear, suddenly EVERYTHING causes global warming."

"Oh, John."

"Blanche, we have to live our lives. If we get back together, shouldn't we do so because we love and need each other -- not because it is supposedly good for the environment?"

"You'd better say you're sorry for that, John."

"Okay, Blanche, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

"You are not."

"I am, too, Blanche. I'm the sorriest man who was ever born."

Tom Purcell is a humor columnist nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons. For comments to Tom, please email him at

RESTRICTIONS: 'Tom Purcell's column may not be reprinted in general circulation print media in Pennsylvania's Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties. It may appear only in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and its sister publications."

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