You know how sometimes something sort of funny happens? Something sort of funny happened to me this morning.
The canids and I were out traipsing over hill and dale, like we do every morning. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the fish were flapping, the snakes were snaking, etc. I’d found a funky fungus and taken a few photographs for my new, eagerly anticipated series “Mutant Prickly Pear Paddles of the Texas Hill Country.” All in all a delightful pastoral tableau.
But, uh-oh! Out of coffee. Time to wrap up this heartwarming nature crap and get my under-caffeinated ass back to the bunkhouse. Naturally, at this juncture, Bert took off after a deer and was miles away within seconds. Thus were Fran and I obliged to track him over rough terrain with the handy GPS device we had implanted in his brain stem for just such occasions.
We were stumbling through a section of El Rancho Deluxe known as the Oaky Knoll — which knoll, if accuracy had been considered at all when determining the nomenclature, really ought to have been called the Spider Webby and Ankle-Destroying Fatal-Rocky Knoll — when Fran espied a foreign object which oozed forth garish hues and improbability. She ate it immediately.
I pried the thing out of Fran’s throat in the nick of time. It was a blue plastic army man tangled up in ribbon, grass, popped balloons, and a muddy slip of paper upon which some slogan appeared to have been printed. My dog nearly choked to death on a plastic infantryman with a machine gun. The war, I thought, comes home.
But what of this slip of paper?
“! ! ! YOU FOUND ME ! ! !” it announced, helpfully. “Help me continue my adventure.”
There was a Flickr URL, too, but it had been partially digested by Fran. Eventually, however, I was able to determine the identity of the party responsible for showering the Psmith country seat with non-biodegradable trash and nearly killing my dog. This person.
A couple of months ago, balloon releaser/photographer Atxrobledo bid adieu Fran’s nemesis, the blue plastic army man, from trendy downtown Austin. I wondered why. Surely, if s/he was suffering from a surfeit of plastic army men, there are more efficient methods of disposing of them than sending them into the Austin horizon dangling from balloons. I mean, dude. Don’t Mess With Texas.
So I scanned Atxrobledo’s Flickr page, hoping for some insight into this maniac’s brain. And so I found it.
S/he apparently makes no effort to control a compulsion to “release” plastic figurines into the wild by attaching them to balloons and letting the wind take them wherever it may.
The dream goal is to get a map of where balloons have been released and see how far the chain of connections can go.
Jeepers. It’s a message-in-a-bottle-cum-chain-letter type deal. Quaint. But ultimately, I can’t get behind it. Why? Two reasons.
One, this Atxrobledo is just a little too bossy for someone who communicates via balloon with perfect strangers upon whom s/he relies for the fulfillment of her/his dream goal.
[W]henever you can, if you’re awesome, get your own set of a bunch of balloons and figures and let them go from your apartment or wherever. Be sure to take pictures beforehand and geotag where you’re releasing them from (basically try and just replicate what i did with when you released them and from where…) [...] Make sure and make my day by responding.
Look, I’m awesome as hell, but I’m too sure I’ve got time to tie blue plastic army men to balloons, photograph’em, and let’em go “from my apartment or wherever.” Such an enterprise would seriously interfere with my reclining schedule.
And two: whereas the chance of an Earthling with Internet access finding one of these things and chuckling quietly to herself even as she mindlessly obeys cryptic instructions on the slip of paper is exceedingly remote, the chances of birds getting tangled up in’em, or some furry woodland creature ingesting’em and so forth, are quite a bit higher. Who knows how many raccoons or kangaroos are even now suffering debilitating balloon impactions as a result of this project? Do you know that, as we speak, floating in the Pacific Ocean there is a thing known as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and that it is twice the size of Texas? According to the Sierra Club, fur seals in New Zealand “poop shards of yellow and blue” plastic. Is that what we want for the Texas Hill Country? Seals pooping shards?
I think not. I say, stop the madness now!
This wanton littering of the countryside with blue plastic army men via balloon must cease, I tell you! Not for me, not for you, but for the spinster aunts of tomorrow. I hate to imagine that theirs is a future bereft of raccoons and aardvarks merely because some thoughtless urbanite killed’em all off with blue plastic army man balloons in pursuit of some fatuous whim. You want random strangers to do your bidding? Try Facebook.