Vegetative States

Elwin Hemphill writes, in the Chronicle Herald, about "Twenty-five-foot-tall Hogweeds with grotesque faces and legs and feet converging on Halifax from the Annapolis Valley." OK, so far the story sounds sensible. But look at what comes next. Elwin expects us to believe that "the evil scientist from Acadia University" develops these malicious weeds whereas "a brilliant Dalhousie botanist... develops the herbicide to kill the Hogweeds".

Come on Elwin! Everyone knows that the scientists from Acadia U. are the ones wearing white lab coats.

So, do you want to know the true story?

It was a dark and dreary day on the fog-bound peninsular of Halifax. The sewage system had broken down, again. Mayor Peter Jelly-legs was up to his neck in fermenting poop. The word went out, up the effluent-coated conduits of political power, "Please, save me Double-D Dextrous-man". Premier Double-D dispatched a limousine full of snivel servants to pluck poor Peter from his polluted predicament. It took the whole afternoon for them to towel Peter off, after which they sent out for pizza and then stayed up late into the night working on overtime forms.

The next day Double-D Dextrous-man was fuming. Peter had landed the whole Province in a rightwinged pickling barrel, and here he was, a hopeless lefty without even a public servant to whine with --- flush with cash from yesterdays escapade, they had all decided to throw a sickie.

So what does a Premier do when the chips are down? Well, he takes a S-L-O-W lunch at the most exclusive joint in town. The taxpayers can afford it, after all. More to the point, the journalist can't afford it and old Double-D figured it would be prudent to steer clear of Journo's on this particular day.

As luck would have it, Dr Strange-gene, from the Dalhousie Department of Dubious Science, was also having a S-L-O-W lunch. You see, Dr Strange-gene was celebrating his brand spanking new $26M Grant which had been awarded to him by the Government of Canada as part of their program to pay for flying pigs. Double-D and Dr Strange-gene may seem like an unlikely dynamic-duo but they were the only S-L-O-W patrons that day so they struck up a fateful conversation.

If Double-D had the problem then Dr Strange-gene had the solution.
"You see, what we do is this. We call it biosolids. Then, here's the best bit, we say it makes great fertillizer and sell it to those bumpkins down The Valley!"
Double-D was a bit skeptical at first.
"Look, those folks down The Valley aren't total fools. Remember, they elected me! Eventually, they're sure to figure out that this biosolid stuff is really just dressed up sh_t."
"No problems, my good Double-D Dextrous-man" Dr Strange-gene quickly reassured. "We will genetically alter the stuff. One sniff, and the user will be hooked. It'll be the biggest thing since cocaine."
Double-D was delighted! The very next day he sent Dr Strange-gene a truck load of cash and 10 public servants to help screw in the broken light bulb at Dr Strange-gene's undergound laboratory. Then Double-D phoned up his favourite lefty columnist, Ralph Sure-fix, to do a few stories for the Comical Herald and ratchet up the marketing campaign.

Haligonians all enjoyed swimming in the harbour that summer. Why not, the sh_t had all been trucked to The Valley. Farmers down The Valley were high as kites --- and profits doubled, too. Most townsfolk at Wolfville were delighted because the Mayor had developed "green thumbs!" Of course there was always that troublesome bunch of malcontents at Wolfville Watch. As always, they grumbled that something "Just didn't smell right..."

The harvest that year was bountiful. Farmers actually made a profit! Double-D celebrated by instituting a "wind fall" tax and made speeches about the glorious achievements of Dr Strange-gene and his cloned-cohort at the Dalhousie Department of Dubious Science. Oh what wonders the future would bring!

Meanwhile, back in The Valley, Mayor Instead looked at his thumbs and cried "Wolfville will have a Green Revolution"! Almost everyone was happy --- except for those troublemakers at Wolfville Watch. Some Wolfville Watchers whispered that "thumbs weren't the only thing green about the Mayor of Wolfville". Indeed, Mayor Instead was exhibiting an hysterical aversion to herbicides. Strangely, this aversion was shared by most other politicians and legislation was passed to ban all pesticides from the fair Province of Nova Scotia.

Mutterings at Wolfville Watch were being totally ignored until, one day, in early spring, a Councilor went down to Clock Park and planted himself... Many of the Townsfolk thought this was not only a very good idea but also "quite normal". A couple of the Professors at Acadia U. Department of Biology found the whole thing a bit odd, even interesting. They took a few samples from the Councilor Tree and ran genetic tests. It seemed that the Councilor Tree had a preponderance of plant DNA. How could that be? They collected more DNA samples and ran tests late into the night (without overtime). Low and behold they discovered which strands of DNA cause otherwise normal people to manifest as politicians. What's more, it seems that DNA was very like a mutation found when plants were fed biosolids.

There was general rejoicing as more and more politicians took to planting themselves in Clock Park. Truly, this was the greenest solution to carbon emissions! Citizens of Nova Scotia are well-accustomed to vegetative politicians. So, for a few short weeks, The Valley was idyllic.

Then joy turned to panic. It seems that this trans-genic stuff could go both ways. Twenty-five-foot-tall Hogweeds had acquired the political gene and were converging on Town Halls and Province House! As though Doubly-Dextrous and Instead-man weren't enough, now they were being joined by some serious vegetables...

The people were beside themselves, something had to be done. But what? An old-timer crop-duster suggested "herbicides". He was immediately set-upon by a swarm of bureaucrats and frog-marched to jail for violating Town bylaws.

Now, I know that you all want to have that happy ending. You know, the ending where one of our finest returns from the Alberta Tar Sands with a litre of Roundup to rid us of Hogweeds and politicians for ever and ever. I'm sorry, it isn't going to happen. You see, our politicians were photosynthesizing so contentedly that they clean forgot to ask Ottawa for our annual Transfer Payment! Without that reminder, the rest of the Canada simply forgot that we even existed...