An Inconvenient Invoice

Dear former Vice President Gore:

Enclosed please find the original copy of a receipt from Sears for the brand new  Craftsman Snow Thrower 71-88790 purchased today. You may remit payment to the return address provided on the envelope. As they say, your prompt attention to this matter is appreciated.

You are probably wondering why a citizen of the Winter Wonderland that is Michigan is invoicing you for an industrial-strength snow thrower. After all, Michigan winters can be notoriously harsh and we have survived our share. But it is mid-January and this is the third or fourth time since Christmas that I have had to dig out my corner lot; shoveling takes a toll on time and energy -- time that could be spent with the family around the hearth, and energy that could be spent on researching more environmentally-friendly products for the home on your fine Internet invention.

Frankly, Mr. Vice President, at one time I owned a snow thrower (though not as sweet as the one I -- or should I say you? -- purchased today; check out the curved blade auger, headlights and starter mitten grip, and six speed forward/two speed backward features!). I used that old thrower all the time, man! Even if just a couple of inches fell I was out there emitting noxious fumes as if there was no tomorrow. Little did I know! But I sold my old snow thrower for ten bucks at a garage sale to a guy looking for parts awhile back. Again, you may be puzzled as to why in the world a resident of Michigan would do something like that but I made do shoveling, secure in the knowledge I would soon be safe to discard even my trusty shovel.

You see, I had picked up a copy of An Inconvenient Truth. Then I made certain to catch your lecture on the Oprah Winfrey Show (I just love Oprah). Like her and her studio audience that day, I was transfixed by your presentation and became convinced that Earth was indeed warming up and that 2008 would be the hottest year in recorded history! Because of your persuasive, methodical, scientifically undeniable arguments, I knew that those harsh winters of years past were gone -- gone forever. I lamented the bygone days and happy times spent sledding, engaging in snowball fights with friends, and the wonderful white Christmases. Obviously, though, those regrets paled when compared to the horrifying threat of global warming.

So you can imagine my surprise last month when we were hit with about six inches of snow just before Christmas, then again around the turn of the year. Right now I am looking out my window at steadily falling snow and a temperature reading of 11 degrees ambient. The wind chill is well below zero. And while I do feel quite guilty about it, I must admit it will be nice to have my (our) new Craftsman plow through all that snow and ice rather than having a sore back over the weekend after chipping away for hours tonight. The thing is, sir, times are tough in Michigan. The economy is in shambles (through no fault of our fantastic governor, mind you), and money is scarce. Feeding off the momentum of the new national mentality regarding such crises, I knew that I needed a bailout of my own when it came to this emergency situation.

At first I thought of invoicing President Bush. There is no doubt that his bullheadedness when it came to Kyoto, his intentional destruction of New Orleans with hurricanes and levy breeching, and his general ineptitude is most responsible for these unpredictable changes in our climate. However, I knew that -- unlike him -- you would be completely up front about the mistakes in your weather forecasting and any inconveniences they may have caused. Because of your recent financial windfall with carbon offsets, your Nobel Prize money, and your profits from book sales and box office receipts, I knew you were in a position to help out a victim of global climate change and that you would really want to do something about it. Heck, I told my neighbor that you might even throw in a few offsets my way to cover the deepening carbon footprint this winter is forcing me to make. I said "If anyone is an honest broker when it comes to global warming, it's Al Gore."

By the way, please be advised that another invoice will follow shortly; when I picked up my new snow thrower there was this really great sale on parkas at Sears and, well, I had given my heaviest winter coat away after the Oprah show and...

Matthew May welcomes comments at
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