OKAY, I was already pissed off--difficult as that is to believe--because late last week Channel 8 (Indiana's Own; I liked 'em better when they were the Action News Team, but I'm guessing they ran afoul of some truth in advertising regulation or other) had their fourth-string weather reader, the one who dresses like a dinner-theatre extra from Guys and Dolls, inform an entire market's worth of suburbanites they'd better water those lawns, and be quick about it, before they died. The lawns, they meant.
He read this over the same footage they'd used six weeks ago as they told the same drought-stricken burghers they could safely comply with those pesky No-Water orders since their lawns were only going dormant, not dying.
This is more than just rhetorically annoying, though I would like to point out first that I don't even listen to these maroons about the weather, let alone lawn care, about which I am remarkably indifferent for an avid gardener. The real irritation stems from the fact that the No Water order--always accompanied by the stern warning that The City May Start Fining Violators, And This Time We Mean It--is basically at the service of the (recently privatized) water company's desire not to upgrade its 19th century delivery system in light of our new, post-agrarian living patterns. Instead of increasing capacity as suburbanites flew into the farthest reaches of the county and beyond, they've simply jacked up the pressure at peak times, and every intervening flapper, valve, and gasket blows out, on average, every eighteen months, plus I'm sure they've killed or severely injured numerous devotees of nozzle fun, although the Star doesn't publish statistics.
And while I grant you that people tend to water their lawns like complete idiots, the whole question of individual vs. corporate good citizenship is solved by simply acting like it doesn't exist. No one tells swimming pools or water parks to close. Every golf course I pass is still green. The big lawn care companies are still showing up with their water tanks, the better to achieve the right dilution of Agent Orange so that your dog won't die on contact with the stuff but linger a couple years while guarding your nice, green grass.
And this is, by my count, one of two ecologically responsible stands taken by the locals (Ozone Action Days being the other) without the required Faux Environment Balance (which is distinguishable from regular Faux Balance in that the two sides are not presumed equal, but linked by Our Knowing Sadness: yes, we're concerned about the environment, but we need jobs, too, so the viewer gets to feel good about himself without giving up the M-1 Abrams he tools around town in). If the residents of some one-time farming community try to fend off a new Wal*Mart it's a controversy. If some auto-parts manufacturer in Anderson dumps a half-ton of solvents into the sewers, resulting in a 150-mile fish kill, it's an industrial accident. For that matter, if there's a line of killer storms that looks promising on radar they send off all fourteen staff weather readers in their personal helicopters so the home-bound weather buff can see what the wind in Shelbyville does to an exposed parka.
And so it was that after a second hour spent raking thatch last Sunday, after which I plopped down to watch the Colts game, I came face to virtual face with a local weekend talking hairdo (I had the wrong channel; it was an NFC game for broadcast purposes) who in succession touted a) The Bi-Monthly Anti-Abortion Shout At Passing Cars Fest, which was held under a bridge because it was, like, 97º outside, a matter which failed to daunt the cameraman, who still managed to make the crowd of a dozen protestors look as big as that Saddam-statue-toppling one; and b) the aforementioned "largest Christian pornography site", which, at least, provided some laughs and the impetus to find the correct channel.