For those of you who are not from the Edmonton area let me fill you in, first, on what the whole hullaballoo is about the teddy bears.
Michael, what's all this we hear about teddy bears in the Edmonton area?
Calm down. Calm down. Let me get to it.
So anyway, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, or its more apt name The Event That Made CNN Forget About Natalee Holloway, local radio station 96 X decided that the best way for Edmonton to help the survivors of the natural disaster would be to start a teddy bear drive. Are you with me so far? Good. After pushing and pushing this thing for a while Edmonton came up with over 1 million teddy bears to donate to the hurricane ravaged city of New Orleans. The problem is, though, according to a column in the Edmonton Journal by one Paula Simons, is that teddy bears aren't really high on the list of priorities for survivors of Hurrican Katrina. In fact, teddy bears are probably the furthest thing from the survivors' minds. In fact, receiving teddy bears as some sort of consolation prize for losing their houses and their livelihoods might just be enough to send them into a murderous frenzy of cannibalism and wanton destruction of public property. In fact, this is the most I've ever used "In fact" to start a sentence. In fact.
So naturally there is a debate going on in the media. It's 96 X radio versus the Edmonton Journal of the newspaper community in an all-out battle to the death over which medium is more pious than the other. Or something like that.
Okay, maybe not.
But what bothers me is that nobody came to me to ask what I thought of the whole teddy bear debate. Nobody came knocking on my door and asked, "Michael, what are your thoughts about all this teddy bear bullshit going on right in your community? The public has a right to know!"
Seriously, you want to know?
Okay, here it is. I'm all for the teddy bears, actually. I don't even think that 1 million teddy bears gathered so far is even nearly enough for the affected area of New Orleans. I think we need hundreds of millions before we've proven that we are innovators.
Did you know that the average teddy bear can absorb roughly twice its body weight in water? That's a fact. So try to estimate how much 1 million teddy bears weigh. It's a pretty impressive mass to be sure. What I think we should be doing with the teddy bears is dropping them en masse right into the heart of the flood. Presto! We have instant absorbtion. Why, with enough teddy bears and B-52 Stratofortresses dropping them as super-absorbent payload over New Orleans we'd have that whole flooding problem licked in no time.
You see? That's why I'm an outsider of sorts. That's why I never get invited to all the cool parties. It's because I sit at home and think about shit like this. I'm an innovator, an inventor.
If you bombed millions and millions of teddy bears on New Orleans you could have everything soaked up and then with a team of bulldozers working around the clock you could have all the soggy plush pushed right into the gulf.
This is why I'm never put in charge of large public projects. If I had had my way, I would have had a teddy bear, pancake mix, and Bounty Quilted Quicker Picker Upper drive for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina because once we get all that water soaked up we can begin to rebuild a great, great city instead of engaging in wars of words in the media.
So the message I'm trying to make, then, is that survivors of this horrible disaster are, by and large, faced with a very daunting task of trying to rebuild their lives. How is nitpicking over what is and what is not suitable to donate in the media really going to help them? Last time I checked when you take time to really start debating something like this, it's basically time that could better be spent actually helping the people who need the help. At this point there are people who are grateful to take whatever they can get.
That'll be $200.00 each, you dirty, dirty people.