Friday, June 11, 2010

The Slimy Limey

I had a horrible dream last night. I dreamed I had gone to hell and my punishment was to watch Katie Couric read the news. Man, was I relieved to wake up. I mean, I could probably handle devils with pitch forks. But watching Katie Couric? No way, Jose! And what sin could I commit to justify such a miserable fate anyway?

So in my nightmare Couric comes on my TV and flashes that I’m-A-Cougar-and-I-Know-Something-You-Don’t-Know grin she always seems to have on her face. A Cougar is a woman who only goes out with men half her age. Katie Couric is a Cougar. And she flashes that Cougar grin and says: “Guess what I’m going to rant about tonight, folks?”

Well, I knew what it was going to be. It was my dream, after all. That damn oil spill again. That’s how I knew I was in hell. Katie Couric was bad enough, but Katie Couric mumbling about that oil spill – well, just that had to be hell. So I talked back to the TV: “It’s going to be BP again.”

“That’s right,” Couric said. “Bull Poop! Bull Poop! Bull Poop!” The I’m-A-Cougar grin got even wider.

Bull Poop? I thought to myself. They’re calling BP “Bull Poop”? Now this could be interesting. Maybe this dream is not a nightmare after all. Maybe I am really not in hell, even though Couric is on my TV. I fought the urge to change channels.

“BP stock has gone down 40% in value,” Couric said. “Bull Poop stock is schlock.”

This is obviously not hell, I said to myself. Bull Poop’s stock going to hell is my idea of heaven.

Couric continued: “The British are experiencing a wave of anti-American sentiment because of that. And here to talk about it, I have the man who presides over Bull Poop all over the world – Mr. Tony Wayward.”

Tony Wayward is just a Mr.? I thought to myself. I thought when the British screwed up they got knighted or something. It seemed to me anyone who screwed up as royally as Wayward does should be made a member of the royal family. I yelled at the TV screen. Couric ignored me.

“I want my life back, Katie,” Wayward said. There was a pleading tone in his voice as he said it. I thought I saw a tear of self-pity form under his left eye. Somehow I did not feel the same pity.

“I’ll bet you do, Mr. Wayward,” Couric said. “We all here are just shocked that Americans have inconvenienced you because of this little incident.”

“Inconvenienced?” Wayward said. “I’ve hardly been to the pub for a pint more than three times a week since this started.”

Only three times a week?” Couric asked.

“Well, OK, maybe four,” Wayward said. “But it’s still tough. I want my life back.”

“I hope it has not turned you against Americans,” Couric said. “We know you British are a drinking lot.”

“Gotta have me pints, Katie,” said Wayward. “Hardly have enough time to throw as many darts as I would like to as well with this little annoyance distracting me the way it is. But no, I’m not sore at the American public. In fact, I’m glad to be here. I want to tell the American public that the explosion in Beaumont or wherever it is should never have happened.”

“Beaumont?”

“Yes, you know. In Texas. The BP refinery that blew up because of gross incompetence on my part and negligence on my part and gross mismanagement on my part, killing a bunch of our employees that we don’t give a rat’s ass about anyway.”

“That’s the wrong disaster, Mr. Wayward.”

“Eh?”

“Yes. That’s the wrong disaster altogether. Our viewers are not interested in that BP oil refinery in Texas blowing up and killing a lot of people anymore and BP responding with arrogant indifference the way you did. We’re talking about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. You’re not Bull Pooping me, are you?”

“No, Katie, no, indeed. BP is a company. BP is not something we do to people. We never BP anybody.”

“Well, I’d say,” Couric said. “To listen to the governor of Louisiana, you’d think you BP everybody. He calls you ‘The Slimy Limey.’”

“It’s just hard to keep all the disasters BP is responsible for straight when you’re the VP of BP. BP has been responsible for so many disasters, you know.”

“But I thought you were the BP of BP.”

“I like the way VP of BP rolls of my tongue better.”

“I see. Well, Mr. Wayward, while we are on the subject of disasters, I did a show on abortions the other night. Your mother was my guest. She said you were a disaster.”

In my dream I jumped up and started talking to the TV again. “Now that’s a show I would like to see.” But apparently I missed that dream. Nightmares are that way, you know. The nightmare I really wanted to see was always the night before and I slept right through it. Of course I was sleeping through this nightmare also, so, as Ross Perot would say, "What the hey?" Anyway, Couric ignored me. She does that even when I am dreaming.

“Katie, I want to tell the American people I am deeply sorry.”

Well, now, I thought to myself, that makes up for millions of gallons of krud pouring into the Gulf of Mexico while BP’s executives count their gold doubloons. All is forgiven if he is deeply sorry. But what was that I heard coming from the TV when he said that? Was that a laugh track?

“You’re not laughing at me, are you, Katie?” Wayward said. He must have heard it, too.

“No, Lord Wayward.” Apparently Katie canonized him herself. “That was supposed to be on our comedy show. I don’t know how it got on the news. We use laugh tracks to fool people into thinking comedies we show on our network are funny.”

“When they’re not funny at all.”

“Of course not. Have you seen the crap CBS plays in prime time? I’d rather be chugging pints of bitters in the local pub than watching that shit.”

“So would I. I want my life back. People holding my company responsible for all the disasters we cause are interfering with my life. Anyway, I am deeply sorry that I am responsible for spilling millions of gallons of krud into the Gulf of Mexico.”

(Laugh track distinctly heard playing again.)

“And … and I want to say I won’t do it again. I did it this time and I did it the last time but I won’t do it again.”

“You bet your smelly ass you won’t do it again, you limey rotter,” I said to the TV. But I could not hear myself. They played that laugh track again and it drowned me out. Dreams are like that, you know.

“So what happened, Lord Wayward?” Couric asked.

“Well, when you do something like deepwater drilling you know an accident is going to happen. That is just the nature of things. It’s just a matter of time.”

“Sure.”

“So it is just good engineering practice to have a contingency plan for when the accident does happen. Then your response team can swing into action and control the damage.”

“So that‘s what BP did, right?”

“No, of course not. I said that’s good engineering practice. I didn’t say it is what BP does. BP does not use good engineering practices. If we did we would not have refineries blowing up, drilling platforms blowing up, people getting killed needlessly, environmental disasters in the Gulf, and so forth the way we do.”

“I see.”

“Here at BP, that is.”

“Yes.”

“We don’t even pay attention to government mandated safety practices. That’s the reason all those bureaucrats had to resign. We have a cozy relationship with the government regulatory agencies. Good thing we don’t have a cozy relationship with our employees or we would never get anything done.”

“Indeed.”

“So when anything does happen, we have no contingency plan, no idea in hell what to do or who to assign to the job, and all we do is run around like headless chickens. That is how I got to be the top dog in the company.”

“Sounds like a plan to me.”

“It’s the BP way. Whenever anyone asks me what I am doing, I just shrug my shoulders, French style” He demonstrated how he did it. Then he demonstrated it again.

“That must be why you seem to have stooped shoulders, Lord Wayward.”

“It is. I have been shrugging my shoulders so much I seem to have developed a permanent stoop. I am thinking about going on medical disability.”

“I notice President Obama seems to have developed that same stoop,” Couric said.

“He does. He has mastered the BP style. We’re thinking about offering him a seat on the Board.”

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