Trial Balloon

Trial Balloon: May 3, 2010 Archive

A Tricky Business

Posted at 6:05 AM on May 3, 2010 by Dale Connelly (30 Comments)

It was a beautiful weekend for yard work and I took advantage of it - mowing, raking, digging, dragging things around and cleaning stuff. With each busy little step I noticed another new job that should be tackled and completed right away. That's what you get when you own property in springtime - mission creep. This rampant multiplication of tasks is enough to make a person feel overwhelmed - like there's more work to do than can possibly be done. Heavens, my life is hard. Woe is me!

But wait.

But at least it wasn't my Sunday afternoon job to find a way to shut off a mammoth oil geyser spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico one mile beneath the surface. When it comes to difficult tasks, this has everything you could want in an impossible job - it's violent, oily, out of reach, costly, harmful to innocent people and wildlife, and the world is watching.

One can only imagine the conversation going on behind the scenes. If this were a disaster movie (it may be someday), there would be a struggle underway between the decent but cautious engineers, some callous and slow witted bureaucrats, a group of quick-on-the trigger military men, and one brilliant yet unconventional scientist / adventurer / daredevil who has an out-of-this world never-been-tried totally wacky plan that makes absolutely no sense ... but it just might work!

The scientist has a sexy sidekick and a few sympathizers, of course, but for the first two thirds of the movie he has been thoroughly discredited. His ideas are laughed at! But when the other, more customary solutions fail and the President can only shrug, a military solution becomes inevitable. An enormous nuclear bomb will be detonated at the mouth of the geyser, burying the opening underneath tons of up heaved and resettled ocean floor. The leak will (probably) stop and the Gulf of Mexico will become an uninhabitable radioactive pool for 200,000 lifetimes, but after that things should get back to something approximately normal.

Of course this crazy course of action serves another, darker purpose - the Generals want to rid the troublesome region of uncooperative governments! Those careless fools! What are they doing?

Now our hero becomes humankind's last chance! The only way to avert an even larger disaster is for him to put his plan in motion and solve the problem before the military can pull the trigger. He leaps into action, doing something frantic and reckless that involves a deep sea pressure suit he designed in his garage (it's never been tested at this depth!), an underwater cork, a special talent for communicating telepathically with sea creatures, and many rolls of duct tape. But these are minor details.

All we need now is a title, a tag line, some casting decisions, and a production schedule!

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