Bad environment = bad economy

Intern proves planet always survives,

economy not so much

Surrounded by fire, wind and floods, world leaders are stepping up talk of balancing the economy and the environment. Ordinary people talk about “saving the planet.”

To learn more about the science behind these ideas, Turpin Labs has honoured another intern — Bob — with an opportunity to take the controls of our Time Machine Mark II XL. While we regret the difficulties experienced by our first pilot-intern, whose name I forget, she will always be in our hearts. That said, we have high hopes of recovering Bob because he is protected by a new safety device unique to the Mark II.

We will never rest until Bob and his predecessor are returned safe and sound, while pointing out that both interns did say they had “better things to than fetch coffee”.

Below is Bob’s report. Please note he found spokespeople for both the environment and the planet, something rarely accomplished by today’s lazy reporters. — Bill Turpin, CEO

439 million years ago

Environmental conditions: crazy low sea-levels, humongous sheets of ice destroying  everything in their paths, making it almost impossible for anything to grow.
Economy: down by 100% as 86% of species have been wiped out. Although trilobites are among the survivors, Beloved CEO, they lack the innovation and drive the economy’s needs.
Environmental spokesperson: “It’s all good. We’re working with the Planet to press the reset button and see what happens next. Should be interesting.”
Planet: “I’ve been a planet for four billion years or so. I’m not going anywhere.”
Trilobites: “We don’t see a problem.”

364 million years ago

Environmental conditions: There’s almost no oxygen in oceans and volcanic ash on land is causing outrageous cooling.
Economy: With 74% of species wiped out, the economy has shrunk by 99%. Reefs are taking a beating, completely destroying sales of handmade jewelry on beaches. On the bright side, the slaughter appears to be opening an evolutionary door for human existence.
Environmental spokesperson: “We’re low on oxygen, but so what? We’ll just press the reset button again.”
Planetary spokesman: “I agree completely with the environment. Whatever it does is fine with me. Can’t say I’m sorry to see the trilobites go — not much of a contribution there, really.”
Trilobites: Did not return calls.

251 million years ago

Environmental conditions: Unbelievable global warming, apparently set off by a huge volcano. This is no place to be unless you’re in a time machine.
Economy: Well, 96% of all species have been wiped out, what do YOU think, Bill, er, Beloved CEO?
… [Static. Loss of signal …]
Planetary spokesperson: “I feel good, always do. I see humans are still on timeline. They should more interesting than trilobites. Anyway, time to press the ol’ reset button.”

Between 199 and 214 million years ago

Environmental conditions: Bill, there’s been a helluva an asteroid collision, but not enough to blow up the planet. It’s clear things are looking up for the arrival of dinosaurs, but mammals are losing ground … [Static. Loss of signal.]

65 million years ago

Environmental conditions: This is the big one, Beloved CEO, the one everybody loves to read about. Volcanoes, asteroids, climate change. It’s obvious that after a 135 million year reign, dinosaurs are on the way out, along with 76% of all life on Earth.
Economy: Prospects are not as bad as you might think. With dinosaurs off the board, this is a big, big break for humans and sharks. If humans step up like we know they can, we should be rocking the economy in 65 million years or so.
Environmental spokesperson: “Whoa! Did you SEE the explosion when that asteroid hit? Hoo-WEE! … What? No .. no worries .. we’re good here, man.”
Planetary spokesperson: “I gotta admit, we felt that one. Still, we held together and we’re in top shape again. Just orbiting and spinning. Love it.”
Dinosaur spokesperson: “We’ve banned marijuana-smoking in public places, so we don’t expect any further problems.”


Environmental conditions: So-called scientists think we have climate change again, that humans are causing it and that it’s too late to stop it. However, we don’t have consensus. Also, some believe non-human species are becoming extinct at 100 to 1,000 times the normal rate. But really, Bill, can you really take a number like that seriously? And humans are doing great!
Economy: Fantastic! Just fantastic! We haven’t seen an economy like this for 65 million years. Coral reefs are under pressure again, but beach sales of jewelry are through the roof!
Environmental spokesperson: “No question we’re running hot. How are YOU doing, that’s the real question. I mean, your kind are done like dinner. You can’t SEE that?”
Planetary spokesperson: “We see another big-time extinction coming on, but we’re optimistic that intelligent life will finally emerge in the next 50 million years or so.”
Human spokesperson: “Halifax has banned public smoking of tobacco and marijuana. That should tale care of any problems.”

… [Static. Loss of signal …  ]

Anyway, Beloved Leader, this much is clear: you can do anything you want to the environment and it will always be there. But you can’t say the same for the economy. You mess with the environment, you mess with the economy.

Gotta go. Two big destroyer-class time machines have shown up. The “Exxon Memory Hole” and the “Trump Narcissistic Liar.” They’re turning my way. Infallible Leader, did you ever install those shields you talked about? I mean, because if you forgot …

[Loss of signal.]



Photo from the future shows an NSLC weed store, not a mock-up of a washroom at the heavily-subsidized CFL stadium to be built in Middle Musquodoboit.

Hack to the Future: we check out the Halifax

legal pot scene as it will be in July 2019

The Turpin Labs time-travel division has completed its work, allowing us to REPORT EVENTS BEFORE THEY HAPPEN! The machine is not perfect, but we had an unpaid intern who was willing to test it. Here is her report.

I am reporting to you from Halifax one year in the future. Weed is legal. You can get it at the liquor store (even though a federal report warned against that), the cops have trained up as DREs (relax older men, it stands for Drug Recognition Experts), Halifax is spending a million dollars a year to harass outdoor smokers of any kind and to protect citizens from the smell of perfectly legal pot plants growing in back yards. Here is my account.

I stop by the Joe Howe St. liquor store to check out its weed outlet, as requested. I’m nervous because booze almost destroyed my life and I haven’t been to a liquor store in five years. I find the weed section right away–it’s in the back, sporting a public washroom-style storefront. The windows are mostly frosted, but a large sign above the area says “CANNABIS”.

I walk to the store-within-a-store, my heart thumping because I can see bottles of wine and whiskey floating past in my peripheral vision. I can almost taste the smoky scotch arranged row on row. Inside, I make the buy hastily. It’s something called “Relax”, pulled from a drawer by a stern, dues-paying union clerk in a starched blue shirt.

I again walk through the booze section of the store as I make my way toward the parking lot. My hand is wet as it clutches my government-approved stash. I’m cool with the weed, of course, but the sight of all that alcohol makes me sweat. My mind goes blank. When I reach my car, I discover a bottle of Ballantine’s in my hand. I lock it in the trunk, my last bulwark against falling off the wagon.

As I sit in the car craving a drink, I consider taking a toke from my new stash to calm down, but I know DRE cops are on the prowl. Too risky.

I make it home sober. I find my husband arguing with a Halifax bylaw enforcement officer, recognizable from camouflage jackboots and fatigues that make him hard to spot in parks. For sidewalk work, he has another outfit disguised as bricks and concrete.

“We don’t grow weed here,” my hubby says. “And besides, it’s legal to grow four plants.”

“Yes, but the city says the odour of the plant is a nuisance, so you can’t grow it outside. Your neighbour says he can smell four pot plants in your yard. That’s a $10,000 fine. Who should I believe, him or a pot-head?”

I jump in: “The odour is the bloody privet hedge. It’s flowering. Not everybody likes the smell.”

I turn to my husband: “I kept asking you to cut the thing back. I told you some neo-puritan pissant would think it was weed!”

The bylaw trooper’s radio makes that “bleep” noise your hear on cop shows.

“All units! All units! A pot-head and two ‘bacco-heads have been spotted smoking by the breakwater at Point Pleasant Park. Witnesses say a child is in the area.”

“Holy spliff! That could be $6,000 in fines,” the odour-patrolman says. “You two are off the hook this time, but remember, I’ll be sniffing around.” He taps his nose and then points menacingly at us before sprinting to his car.

Suddenly I notice it’s time to pick up the kids at school. I hit the road. The cops pull me over on the Bedford Highway. Why? I was driving under the speed limit.

“Nobody obeys the speed limit on Bedford Highway,” the burly one says. “Only stoners drive that carefully. We’re trained to spot that kind of thing because there’s really no reliable scientific test for weed impairment.”

“Yeah,” says the skinny one. “We used to bust pot-smokers. Now we’re DREs!”

Then he sees my NSLC weed on the console. He “seizes” it for evidence.

“Hey, you want some popcorn?” he says, shoving a bag of buttery, freshly popped corn under my nose. The smell is too much. I grab a mouthful.

“So, you’ve got the munchies,” says the big cop. “That’s strike two.”

“What’s your name?” I ask him indignantly so I can file a complaint.

He looks me right in the eye with a perfectly straight face. “Officer Lionel Longfart,” he says in a monotone

I can’t help laughing.

“Right,” says the other cop. “You’ve got the giggles. Strike three.”

They cuff me and throw me into their car, but let me phone my husband so he can pick up the kids.

At the station they take blood, urine and saliva samples. They take me into a dark room to look at my pupils. If they’re too big or too small or don’t react quickly enough, that’s bad. They also look up my nose for white powder.

Outside I see the small cop putting on rubber gloves.

“Gotta do a muscle tone test on your neck,” he says. “If they’re rigid, you’re stoned.”

“Of course they’re tense after all this crap,” I say, consciously trying to relax my neck. “But I’m good if they’re relaxed, right?”

“Nope. That can be a bad sign, too.”

Two hours later, I’m free to go. I take a long pull from the scotch in the trunk. Five years of sobriety shot to hell and no weed. I call my “illegal” dealer “from “the street”.

“Sure,” she says. “I’m just about to pick up Cassandra at her ballet class. I can drop it off on the way.”

Attention Turpin Labs: please beam me back to the present ASAP. Legal pot is not safe.


Further reading: