An inconvenient party guest
(A casual little cocktail party, the kind you might go to. AL GORE enters, looks around the room, and makes his way to the food table.)GUEST (to other GUEST): So three days after the warranty expires I’m taking it to the shop, and the guy’s telling me it’s gonna be …AL (extending hand): Hi, how are you? I’m Al.GUEST: What’s up, Al? I’m Jim. This is Sammy.SAMMY: Hey.AL: Kinda hot in here, isn’t it?JIM: Uh. Not really…AL: Well, given the rate at which the mean planetary temperature has risen over the past ten years, you’d think it would be pretty hot in here.SAMMY: I’m pretty sure they have the air conditioner on. Maybe if you took that jacket off you’d be more comfortable. Why are you wearing a suit, anyway?AL: Air conditioning uses an inordinate amount of electricity, which currently is produced by highly polluting methods. Did you know that if every person turned off their air conditioning and substituted a simple, hand-cranked fan, the ravaging effects of global warming would be reduced by .03 percent?JIM: Hand-cranked fan? AL: As you see on this flip chart, the United States uses the majority of air conditioning on the planet …SAMMY: You brought a flip chart?AL: … and therefore we have the moral imperative to nurture the environment. Say, do you mind switching places? I want to be closer to the spinach dip.JIM: Sure … so, who are you friends with here, again?AL: OK, let’s say that this pile of potato chips represents the remaining glaciers on the planet.JIM: Hey, excuse me a minute, I need to go to the bathroom.SAMMY: Yeah. Me, too. Nice meeting you, though.AL: Make sure you share a flush. Overflushing has contributed to our dwindling lakes and rivers by 45 percent. Here, I have a chart about that in here somewhere. (Begins sifting through flip chart pages.)JIM: That’s cool. I believe you.(AL stands alone at food table. He breaks a tortilla chip in half, smoothes the surface of the guacamole bowl and begins drawing a graph in it. KIM walks up.)KIM: Hi, I’m Kim. Have we met? You look really familiar.AL: Well, you might have voted for me.KIM: (Plunging chip into guacamole graph) No, that’s not it. It’ll come to me. Is that your flip chart?AL: Yes it is.KIM: Cool. I used to bring an overhead projector to parties.AL: Really? KIM: No. It was a joke.AL: Well, I appreciate a joke as much as the next guy, Kim, but I tell you what, there is some seriously unfunny stuff going on right now on our Earth.KIM: “Project Runway”?AL: Kim, let’s imagine that this single crab roll represents all the harmful carbon emissions through 1950. KIM: OK …AL: (begins stacking appetizers using spinach dip as mortar) Now, let’s say that these cocktail weenies represent the emissions since then. You can see that, as they are stacked higher and higher, the problem becomes more serious. In fact, if I can just climb on this thing …KIM: You brought a flipchart AND a hydraulic lift?AL: … Once our weenies are stacked to the ceiling, it will be impossible to sustain life on Earth. Let’s say that these falling ceiling particles represent the ozone layer. Clearly if we keep stacking our weenies at the rate we have, our children, and our children’s children, will not be able …KIM: Interesting. Excuse me.(KIM leaves as HOST storms over.)HOST: Will you come down here please!?(AL untangles hydraulic lift from chandelier and slowly lowers himself.)HOST: Why did you bring this contraption into my house? Look at what you did to my ceiling! Why have you stacked all those weenies up like that? Do I even know you?AL: Hi, I’m Al. Let’s say that your anger represents the sun’s rays as they enter our atmosphere, and that your scratched and dented ceiling and ruined chandelier represents our government’s consistent refusal to address the problem of global warming. If you could get the lights, I’d like to show a few slides which clearly illustrate the dangerous direction in which …HOST: I’m calling the cops.
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I’m asking for a gift. It’s not a demand. It is the meekest of requests. It’s found in just one place and can’t be bought. I am thinking only of myself here. If you guessed…