This is a story I wrote many winters ago for a now defunct e-zine/mailing list named Explosive Cargo. The story below was written and published in 1996. I'm presenting it here because I found it in amongst some old files today, and it never hurts to air out the old jottings.The Iced Tea Effect
by David Bogen We are gathered here today with a single purpose in our minds. We are gathered with a single, all-consuming thought burrowing ever deeper into our collective psyche. We are gathered here to take action. We are gathered here because we just don't have anywhere else to go, it is raining outside, our wallets are running on empty, and the only clean clothes we own are gaudy Hawaiian shirts. We are gathered here because we are concerned about (big, giant, gi-hugic kettle drum roll here)...the ICED TEA EFFECT!!!
While this phenomenon has yet to make front page news, it is as big a danger to life, liberty, and the pursuit of cool video games, as nuclear war, mandatory gym class, and video game rating systems. However, unlike many of life's looming disasters, the Iced Tea Effect, is one hundred percent preventable. The easy, and often overlooked solution to the Iced Tea Effect, is (another big, giant, gi-hugic drum roll here, except on steel drums this time)...KILLING WHALES!!!
Now, before I get megatons of e-mail, hate mail, mail bombs, junk mail, and mail boxes, please allow me to explain why we are so concerned about this topic. We--those of us gathered here, in this place, at this time, and in gaudy Hawaiian shirts--are prepared to construct an elaborate, convoluted, and completely opaque chain of reasoning to support our ideas. Those of you who are government workers should have no problems staying with me, since most of government work seems to revolve around elaborate, convoluted, and completely opaque chains of command, as well as reasoning.
The beginning of the story (See, this isn't so hard. It's just like a television flashback. Did you notice the wavy lines at the beginning of the paragraph? Those were flashback lines...), starts with the 1950's. Fortunately for us, absolutely nothing happened before 1950 of any note, so we can safely begin there. Some misguided historian types will probably try to convince you that things like "The Crusades", "The Fall of Rome", "The Reign of the Mongol Hordes", and "The Industrial Revolution" actually occurred before 1950, but these are obvious and easily dismissed lies. Simply ask one of these self-styled "historians" to produce a single episode of any televised sitcom from any given time period before 1950 and the lack of hard evidence to support their claims will become apparent.
So, it is the 1950's, the world is starting fresh, and it smells just like a new car. So, to get rid of the New Car Scent that permeated throughout the world, concerned citizens banded together to form grassroots action groups called "Mega-Huge Industrial Chemical Concerns." These heroes of the olfactory realm decided to make bunches these things called "chemicals" to try and get rid of the new-car smell. (Notice that their efforts were not entirely successful, even today. Any new car still has this strange odor permeating throughout it. Apparently places like Detroit, Japan, and Germany are breeding grounds for this mutated strain of New Car Scent.) The MHICC's decided that they would try to neutralize the scent by producing tons and tons of smoke and by-products, which they would then vent out giant smokestacks, and into the atmosphere where New Car Scent lives and breeds and cooks little tiny microwave dinners.
The problem with this approach is rather obvious, however. What on earth should the MHICC's be burning? First they tried things like dry wood, wet wood, painted wood, and wood with nails and screws in it. While this did produce varying levels of satisfyingly black smoke, the New Car Scent was merely being overlaid with Campfire Scent. So, it became clear that a new approach was needed, we couldn't just overlay the New Car Scent, we needed to kill it.
Enter the Wonder Chemicals. These chemicals included such all-time classics, as DDT, any member of the chloroflourocarbon family, Yellow #5, and the self-replicating TupperWare. You see--you being those people not dressed in gaudy Hawaiian shirts--these chemicals could serve mankind in many different ways. Most importantly, they were able to rid the world of New Car Scent without simply covering it up. They also served to kill worthless plants like vegetables and fruits, dye candy interesting and bright shades of yellow, and propel other chemicals out of spray cans.
The real bad chemical in all of this was, of course, TupperWare. This particular creation spawned an entire series of "TupperWare Parties" where women would gather and help the TupperWare to spread to every kitchen on the face of the earth. Once entrenched in a kitchen it forced entire families to eat leftovers at least twice a week. But I digress, other than TupperWare, the second worst chemical was obviously DDT. This chemical's name was soon adopted by a professional wrestler (Where have you gone, Jake the Snake?) and turned into a devastating body throw/decapitation/Swedish massage maneuver. However, once again, I digress. Obviously, the worst chemical in the bunch, after TupperWare, DDT, and Yellow #5, Red #2, Chanel #5, and 25 or 6 to 4 (Where have you gone, Chicago?), was the CFC (or Completely Forgotten Chemicals) group.
This was the group on which the blame for ozone depletion was blamed. Scientists claimed that these particular chemicals were being spewed forth into the atmosphere, and though ridding the world of New Car Scent, they were also destroying the substance called Ozone. The CFCs would enter the atmosphere, mercilessly seek out the small, cute, defenseless ozone particles and then consume the ozone in massive chemical orgies in the sky. Then, once the CFCs reached a point at which they could no longer float through the sky, due to their uninhibited consumption of ozone (usually with a professionally-cooked polonaise sauce), these chemicals would fall back to earth, in the form that scientists called, "crud."
Now, we are getting to the heart of the matter, so those of you who are getting antsy in the back of the room, sit down and let me finish, or I'll feed you to some CFCs. The problem with CFCs was not, as you might expect, that they fell back to the earth in the form of crud. It was actually that they were consuming ozone faster than the ozone was reproducing. (You see, ozone has a rather short period of time in which to have Ozone-sex and reproduce, much like many reactionary republicans I know.) So, the ozone is slowly disappearing from our atmosphere, but who cares, right? Well, in and of itself, this isn't an all bad thing. People can't breathe ozone and live, so if we get rid of ozone there is more room in the atmosphere for the stuff was can breathe, right? (The chemicals we can breathe are known scientifically as "Oxygen" and "The Air Found in All Potato Chip Bags.") So, the ozone is going away, but the foreseen side effects are as follows: 1. Melting of the polar ice caps. 2. Rise of talk radio and television.
While the only sure way to kill off talk radio and television is to actually kill each and every talk radio and television host in America (which I'm not willing to just write off as an option), we can do something about the rising levels of the ocean. And this, (for those of you who have stayed with those of us in gaudy Hawaiian shirts through this long rambling escapade in loose sentence construction and even looser logical construction) is the source of the dreaded Iced Tea Effect.
The Iced Tea Effect traces its name, oddly enough, to an effect first observed in Ancient Germany (circa 1951). The Germanic Tribes were busy killing off the Romans, and on the weekends they would take the time off to build Autobahns and efficient train systems. However, before any of this got started, they invented beer and sausage. One day, a Germanic king dropped a bit of sausage in his beer, and before he noticed, the beer overflowed his cup and spilled in his lap. In retaliation, the king killed the man next to him, and got another beer. However, a quick thinking scribe noticed that the sausage had raised the level of the king's beer. So, this scribe dropped a sausage in this own beer to experiment. Sure enough, the level of the beer went up, spilling beer in his lap, so this quick thinking scribe killed the man next to him, and got another beer, as well as a new pair of pants.
So, now that it was officially observed that dropping any object into a body of liquid raises that level of liquid, it became known as the "DrinkinÕ Beer, but Droppin' Sausage in the Beer is a Bad Idea and Will Probably Lead to the Death of the Man Next To You Effect." The Romans got wind of this idea and promptly tried to copyright the idea by simply translating it into Latin and gave it the name "Beerus Sausageus Spillus, Manus Nextus tous Youus Probablyus Dieus Effectus." The name remained the same until the invention of Snapple in the latter part of the Twentieth Century, when it was renamed, in a rather clever marketing ploy, "The Iced Tea Effect."
So, are you with me? No ozone. Polar icecaps melt (due to failure of International Air Conditioning Task Force). Oceans go up. The simple solution to this problem, accelerate the killing of whales. Since we already know that adding a mass or several to a body of liquid or water raises the level of that water or liquid, this solution seems obvious.
The blue whale is the world's largest species of mammal, and many of its whale buddies are no contenders for the featherweight crown, either. So, if we can eliminate the whales from the ocean, it would be just like removing a gonzo amount of sausage from beer, or a similar amount of ice cubes from iced tea. Kill the whales, transport their stinking, rotting carcasses to an airbase for disposal (this is to be done by dropping the rotting, stinking carcasses from a great height on unfriendly nations like Iraq, Libya, New York, and Connecticut), and the problem is solved.
By removing tons and tons and tons and pounds of useless whales from the oceans, the world should enjoy at least a four foot drop in sea level overnight. The other advantages to this solution are obvious as well. First of all, when we call Libya or Iraq a "stinkin' excuse for a nation", BAM! we'll be right on! Second, the Air Force gets to drop something out of their planes (they get antsy when they don't get to drop stuff for a while), and third, those of us in gaudy Hawaiian shirts might actually receive some sort of scientific acclaim for our quick thinking actions.
So, join the movement and don that gaudy Hawaiian shirt. Soon the whales will see it coming and tremble in fear!!! Muahahahahahaha!!!
© Copyright 1996, David Bogen