Yesterday, during Armistice/Veterans/End of WWI aka Nazi Prequel Appreciation Day, I spent the time appreciating the sacrifices of brave soldiers by applying primer to a bookcase. You could say I’m a hero in my own way. Much like a veteran, I wasn’t given (i.e. gave myself) general protective gear. In this case, that means, I inhaled primer fumes for about nine hours.
I know that nine hours seems like a long time, but this was an Ikea extra-large bookshelf (not to brag) that has a lot of nooks and crannies, way more nooks and crannies than an English Muffin (if you get that reference, you are specifically my age and know about the late-80’s commercials encouraging people to buy english muffins and know the phrase “they make my mouth water”). All those angles and vast spans have resulted in my inhaling a landfill’s worth of dangerous fumes…possibly hallucinogenic. I don’t think so because it would have been way more fun a task, but then again, I let my new friend the dwarf-Sasquatch ghost-write this for me.
Huffing all those fumes made me think about platypuses barfing rainbows on waltzing kittens, but after the hallucinations passed I thought about all of the people who make a living, who are paid to inhale dangerous things things all day. The people working in coal mines, house painters, pretty much anyone at any type of factory, probably cow farmers (those bovine toots are lethal–and yes, Bovine Toots is my drag queen name), and pretty much anyone who sits in any type of traffic. We have manufactured a gauntlet for our lungs.
It used to be out of ignorance. Doctors would prescribe cigarettes, my home is still lined with asbestos (Which we were told not to remove but to treat like a baby just put down for a nap, “please, don’t disturb it.”), and mercury was a cure-all. It makes me wonder what we’re doing to ourselves now that future generations will look at horrified. “They banned filament bulbs and surrounded themselves with compact fluorescents which we all know now in the year 2135 in our bio-domes on Mars that compact fluorescents caused ADHD. Can you believe it, or my unnecessary exposition?”
It’s part of what baffles me about climate change denial. They’re like people who took up smoking in the last 10 years, or people who paint without a protective mask, they know the risks but steadfastly deny their personal wellness. Even if all the scientists not paid by oil companies were wrong, nobody denies the existence of smog and that it may be a bad thing to live in that grimy haze. So why not try to eliminate or minimize that? I know the answer is, “money” but wouldn’t creating innovative technology and the exploration of emerging alternatives lead to additional jobs, and new economic opportunities with less risk?
If I learned anything from my misguided primer-huffing braincell holocaust, it’s that we as a species need to take better accountability for our own well-being. But who knows, that may be propaganda from the dreadlocked unicorn that’s eating all my cereal right now. I’m fine. I think.