THE IDIOCY OF INCINERATION II

Selmer Bringsjord

The following piece appeared in The Record a while back. It marks the second in a series of pieces I've written in reaction to a proposal to build an incinerator in Green Island, which is just West of Troy and Brunswick. Troy and Brunswick are in Rensselaer County. Copyright Selmer Bringsjord.
Not that long ago, but supposedly long after people had stopped buying snake oil, a bunch of salesmen arrived in the city of Troy with a most interesting pitch: They said that if the denizens of the Collar City would permit them, they'd bring to town a most miraculous and profitable cow named Cash.

"What's so special about your bovine friend?" the Trojans asked.

"Well," the salesmen said, "Cash doesn't eat grass; she eats garbage -- and what's more, she doesn't produce any excrement, only energy that can be used to power your own houses and schools and businesses."

The Trojans were incredulous. "But surely Cash produces some waste products; all animals do."

"Well, you're right," admitted the salesmen, "but Cash's excrements are so small that they're not worth worrying about. Besides, she disperses them harmlessly into the air."

"But then can't they drift onto our lawns?"

"Oh sure. But her airborne manure makes wonderful fertilizer. Think of all the money you'll save not having to buy weed and feed."

"How much garbage does she eat?"

"A lot. In fact, more than Troy produces. We'd have to truck slime in from other parts of the state. She's a very big girl."

"Where would you keep her?"

"Green Island. But don't feel bad. You'd be able to see her colon from Troy. In fact, we figure that if you're on the Hudson, maybe enjoying a bite to eat, you'd have a nice view of her colon at work. Boat traffic on the Hudson is sure to increase."

The Trojans exchanged a few glances amongst themselves. Then they enquired: "What about maintenance? Most animals have to be cared for."

"No problem on that score. Cash is a low-maintenance cow. Every now and then you have to clean out her digestive tract ‘cause it tends to accumulate sh -- uh, ash. We just haul the ash away and throw it in the garbage."

"Cash the garbage eating cow produces garbage?"

"Yeah, but not much."

"Well how often do you have to haul away this ash?"

"Oh, no more than every day."

The Trojans were growing increasingly skeptical. "Has this concept been tried anywhere else?" they asked.

"Lots of places. 'Course though these other cows did come from the same family -- they too were Cash cows -- they were primitive compared to Cash. That's why you shouldn't worry about all the carcinogens her relatives churn out downstate. Cash is next generation: bigger, hungrier, but minimal flatulence."

"Have you polled the Green Islanders about this?"

"Yep. As of now, they want Cash."

"And the Brunswicks?"

"Well, Cash'll reduce the value of their real estate, which we concede is prime. But that's okay: we're telling our employees not to buy in Rensselaer County."