Monday, October 13, 2008

The State Where Nothing is Allowed

In a state where a number of enjoyable activities are either regulated, limited, or banned, the powers that be have fixed their sights on one of the most insidious activities to ever threaten our quality of life here in Minnesota; backyard campfires! In an article in the Red Star on Sunday the health bolsheviks decided that backyard fires, whether in the small metal commercial firepits or your own homemade fire ring pose far too great of a health risk to be allowed. Read the article, I swear I'm not making it up.

If a small minority of people whine about anything here in Minnesota it seems like it's quickly and efficiently either legislated out of existence or administratively banned. "What about the children?" is a common thread through most of these efforts. We collectively don't seem to mind and in fact actually get nervous if we encounter a more free environment. When the cage is opened we Minnesotan's rarely stroll out through the door. I must have picked up the attitude from my three decades here. I was in New Orleans a number of years ago before I was the prudent, mature, and circumspect individual that I am today. I discovered one morning that I had been brutally overserved in the French Quarter the evening before and was suffering from a bit of an overhang. Cafe DuMonde beignets, quarts of water, and a brisk walk did nothing help matters and I was forced to go to the 'hair of the dog' in the form of a screwdriver at one of the sidewalk drink kiosks. That did the trick and I felt good enough to have another and also purchase a Macanudo cigar. That was a mistake as it triggered a hangover relapse. I stumbled into a Walgreens in my weakened state and picked up a bottle of aspirin. As I reached the checkout I suddenly realized I would need to set down my lit cigar and cocktail in order to pay for the aspirin. I panicked. In the home state I'd likely be arrested for at least three offenses, pay a fine, be put on conditional probation, and sent to a re-education camp. In New Orleans the kind and jovial clerk looked at me and said, "Relax honey. Ya'll are in N'awlins".

The fact that a campfire ban is even being discussed is ridiculous. I've never known, seen, or heard of anyone that was 'sensitive' to campfire smoke, and this includes my sister who suffers from asthma. Being an astute woman, she generally moves to the upwind side of the fire to enjoy it, a novel yet effective method since shortly after fire was first discovered several millenium ago. Or, as one fellow in the article suggested, a person could shut their window, a modern twist on that tried and true upwind theory. Sadly, if they are indeed correct I am doomed. It too late for me. As you can see from the photo in the post, I suffered what is surely a fatal overdose of particulate matter (I'm sure the nerdy guy quoted in the article would know the exact particulate size) while cooking stew over the fire on Saturday. By the time I succumb to this insidious killer, at about age 138 I would guess, I'm sure Minnesota will be safe from radon gas, second hand smoke, trans fatty oil, inexpensive fast food, alcoholic beverages, and several other things we haven't even thought of yet. I feel really bad about my sons however (what about the children!?). I exposed them at a young age to the illicit lure of dancing flames on countless cool, crisp fall nights and I'm sure their sensitive tiny lungs were filled with particulate of 5-8 microns and above. Even worse they are now hopelessly addicted to wood fires and my eldest son even has....gasp!.....a fire pit in his yard. He fuels this health epidemic every weekend by inviting weak minded individuals over to drink beer and talk smart around the flames. I feel like such an uncaring father.

Since its too late for me, I plan to head down to Lake Harriet this evening for the annual harvest moon paddle with several of the usual suspects. After paddling we uncaring, wood smoke addicted louts will head over to the home of the IrishPirate, not far from the homes of the people who unsuspectedly invited the reporter from the Red Star to their bonfire. There we will consume unhealthy adult beverages, eat fat laden hors' de ouvres, and inhale the heady, addictive wood smoke from the backyard blaze. I plan to do physically what I've been accused of many times metaphorically: throw a couple more logs on the fire.


Silbs said...

Another pleasure goes up in flames.

Ranger Bob said...

"What about the children?" is a common thread through most of these efforts.

Innat the damn truth?

A few years ago I was argu...erm, talking with a coworker about the "need" to send a boatload of maintenance workers out to tear down a picturesque old cabin that was slowly moldering into the forest on Otter Island.

"What if a child got into it? There are nails and glass that could hurt them!" she wailed.

I pointed out that a kid who somehow managed to get out to a wilderness island in the middle of Lake Superior to wander around unsupervised was running a lot worse risks than getting cut on a nail.

Ron said...

I'll be there to throw a couple logs on myself ..