Power Plants, Power Trips, and the Powers That Be

More than two years after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan has finally admitted what local fishermen, independent investigators, and everyone else on the planet (save perhaps our friends at FOX news) already knew:  hundreds of tons of heavily contaminated radioactive ground water continue to flow daily into the Pacific Ocean. The extent of the problem cannot even be rated on the IAEA’s International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale because no-one knows how much water is escaping, how contaminated it is or what effect it is having on the sea and marine products.

Start melting the butter.
Catch of the Day for dinner —
melt lots of butter.

What fools!  The inevitable effect it will have on the sea and marine products is patently obvious to Husband, Stepson, Wife of Stepson, Son #1, Son #2, and me. We know from dumping radioactive waste into the Japanese seas.  We spent many years studying this phenomenon.  We can quote in detail from the 28 educational films produced by Toho Co., Ltd. on this very subject.

Godzilla’s origins are as fiercely debated as our own.  He may, like Bigfoot, have been the 8th-day doodle of a whimsical god, made from the rib of something leftover in Loch Ness.  I know better than to suggest that the Creation included any false starts or failures:  The platypus, for instance.  The snake.  The human being.   In any case, it’s safe to say that Godzilla is an enormous, violent, prehistoric sea monster awakened and empowered by nuclear radiation.

In truth, there is nothing safe about Godzilla.  He’ll defend humanity when it suits him, or when he’s trying to impress Mothra’s sexy little groupie twins, or when his pal Rodan needs help, or when upstarts like King Ghidorah and Gigan forget their places.  But he’s likely to turn on mankind and destroy Tokyo again, just for the hell of it.  The Japanese people have bigger things to fear than nuclear waste in the air and water and ground and food.  Godzilla does not like to be awakened.  He will not emerge from the sea like Venus, smiling on the half-shell.

Anybody got a charger?
Anybody got a charger?

We have only ourselves and our cell phones to blame for the Fukushima disaster and the coming Godzilla resurrection.

How much energy does it take to power your smartphone addiction?  The average iPhone uses more energy than a midsize refrigerator, according to research published by Digital Power Group, a tech investment advisory. A midsize refrigerator which qualifies for the EPA’s Energy Star rating uses about 322 kW-h a year, while your iPhone uses about 361 kW-h once you stack up wireless connections, data usage, and battery charging.

Drill, baby, drill.

Godzilla’s signature weapon is his atomic breath, a concentrated stream of blue or red radioactive fire that is unleashed from his jaws while his dorsal fins glow.  I want this super-power.  It would have come in handy, this past week.

So let’s say that I work for a large bank.   I run the loan processing center at one of the branches.  I’m sitting at a table with 8 or 10 other people who all do the same work for the same company at different locations.  We’re meeting to discuss a new IT system.  We go around the table introducing ourselves.

Most of those present are Loan Officers.  They do not say,  “I am a Loan Officer;”  that is more or less a given.  They say, “I run the loan processing center at thus and such.”  This is what I say, too, although I am not a Loan Officer.

I'm counting to ten
I’m counting to ten

The woman beside me is next.  She says, “I, too, run a loan processing center, but I’M a LOAN OFFICER.”  She speaks in boldface capital letters.

This person has long gone out of her way to humiliate me whenever our professional paths cross.  Or to try and humiliate me – such tactics only work if I’m willing to buy into them.  She must resent that a clerk has full access to the same the double-secret important insider information that she does.  She must resent that a clerk has the effrontery to effortlessly fill her banking shoes across town.

She does not need to resent this. She has the master’s degree and the professional salary and the title and the incumbent banker’s glory of it all.  I pose no monstrous threat to the city she’s built.

I'M running this meeting
I’M running this meeting

The facilitator, a woman from the bank’s home office, does no better.  She’s one of those humorless, brittle, thin-lipped, bird-like women who looks down on everyone and everything from a perch of vast superiority.  She has a Rodan (rather than Rodin) sort of look.

“So what I’m seeing here today is that we have Loan Officers, Loan Officers who run Loan Processing Centers, and . . .”  she trails off, and looks at me

“Support staff,” I say.  “I’m support staff, but I do the same job.  I run one of your loan processing centers.”  I hate myself because my cheeks have flushed with what looks like embarrassment.  My job does not embarrass me; if I cared about having a better one, I’d have it.

I breathe deeply and practice Positive Self-Talk:

1.  I’m flushed because I can’t respond in a picturesque or profoundly profane way.  I can’t unleash my atomic breath.

2.  Only pathetically insecure people puff up their sorry egos at the expense of others.

3.  Rude Self-Puffery says more about the Puffer than the Puffee.

Stay Puft
You go, girl!

4. Self-Puffers have to work hard at staying puffed.   She is not an officer and a gentleman.  She is the StayPuft™ Marshmallow Woman.

I’m cured!  But I’ll never be able to face her again without sniggering.  I guess that’s more polite than searing her with my atomic breath.  Or my searing pen.

Audiences respond positively to Godzilla, after all, because he acts out of rage and self-preservation and shows how science and technology and Loan Officers can go wrong.  So, too, with me.

Thanks for visiting!  Missy
Thanks for visiting!

4 thoughts on “Power Plants, Power Trips, and the Powers That Be

  1. Denis

    Missy, always good for a few laughs, and then things to wonder on. The laughs do their job of keeping thoughts light, and feelings positive. Wonder on things are a pain-in-the -ass, ’cause they make me wonder. Now I will be seeing all kinds of weird shit in my mind, as I try to get to sleep, or mowing my lawns. What the Hell, with what you have already suggested, who knows what evilness I can concoct to wonder on ??? Keep it coming, Love. Denis &Linda,

    • This was the perfect compliment, Denis! If I made you laugh and gave you stuff to wonder about, my work here is done. And yet not — now, I need to do it again :-)

  2. Wendy H

    Hilarious! And wow… didn’t realize a smartphone used that much energy. Amazing…

    Stay Puft Marshmallow woman… I can’t stop giggling!!

  3. Mary

    While reading the first paragraph, I was ready for a real downer of a blog. What a fool I am! Some thoughts: Do you really have a dorsal fin? (I think it may be a prerequisite for the atomic breath.)
    I’m afraid you know WAY too much about Godzilla. One of my patients is a little dog named Zilla, and I usually start calling him Zira halfway through the exam. I don’t know why; he’s relatively benign.
    And lastly, snigger on!

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