The Great Potato
It was quite by accident, while conducting some experiments on the viscosity of gin and other liquids, that Mr. MacGregor and I stumbled across a rather stout treatise concerning a 200-year drought occurring between the 10th and 14th centuries right here in our beloved Western Hemisphere! In his paper entitled, The Only Drops Were Tears of Sorrow, Professor Fleembish insists this 200-year drought was brought on by the process of “natural” global warming.
“What do you know about this business of a 200-year drought?” I asked Mr. MacGregor getting a bit worried but trying to sound nonchalant.
“Year 1 – green. Year 2 – yellow. Years 3 through 200 – brown.” Macgregor answered picking up on my concern and keeping his tone casual.
“But I find the idea of “natural” global warming quite puzzling as you can well imagine.” I said.
“I’m a little embarrassed to admit I don’t imagine well.” Macgregor’s face grew red, then purple and then to a color not even found in the deluxe pack of 64 crayons.
“Well, just do the best you can.” I encouraged and knocked back an experimental sip from one of the larger test tubes to steel myself for the worst (or possibly the best since I wasn’t exactly sure what we were talking about).
* * * * *
MacGregor took a deep breath. “All I know is this 200-year drought or The Great Potato, as it was called by the people who lived here then, had to have been brought about by “natural” global warming because, in those days, ozone hadn’t even been invented yet and hairspray was merely head lice with a job.” MacGregor relayed this information a bit testily, but in a string of words so uncharacteristically long, I secretly decided to surprise him and hang them on next year’s Christmas tree.
“So let me get this straight,” I pulled on both ends of the picture wire I had been fashioning into Roman Numerals for the upcoming Beloved Numerals of the Past Exposition and set it carefully on the table. “Are you saying the earth could suddenly warm up on its own initiative and plunge us into another 200-year drought?”
But Mr. MacGregor didn’t answer. He was in the other room changing into his old Navy uniform. All this talk of drought had made him lonesome for a big drink of sea water. I was trying to talk sense into him when the telephone rang. It was the national weather bureau.
* * * * *
“I’m afraid I have some bad news.” I said. “It seems Professor Fleembish was involved in a deadly dehydration accident this afternoon while trying to recreate the 200-year drought in his laboratory.
Mr. MacGregor nodded solemnly, raised his test tube to mine, and we drank a toast to Professor Fleembish.
“I was getting bored with the whole topic anyway,” he admitted, and we had a good laugh because so was I.