I've come up with a foolproof plan for getting rich: I'm going to have myself declared a Super Fund site.
It'll take me a few years, government bureaucracy being what it is. But it's worth it. The government pays big bucks to clean those things
up. So, I'll be rich and healthier. What a deal.
They Called Howard Hughes Crazy, Too
I sense some skepticism on your part. So, let me explain.
I got the idea from a story I saw on CNN a few weeks ago about a family who had themselves tested for chemical contamination. The parents were badly
polluted. But, surprisingly, even the kids were full of toxic stuff. So, I must be a walking Love Canal.
And with all the recalls of toys and dog food and other stuff from China I must have consumed some bad things before they got around to telling me to
send it back.
Actually, the stuff coming out of China these days is child's play -- there were toys involved -- compared to the stuff we were exposed to when I
was a kid.
Breathing Lead, Playing With Mercury, Chewing Tar
People painted their houses with lead paint back then. There was lead in the dishes we ate from and the glasses we drank from. And gasoline had lead
in it, so we all went around breathing lead fumes. Itz supozed to make yoo stoopid. But I wuzn't afeckted.
We used to break open thermometers so we could play with the mercury inside of them. Our parents didn't mind. I think they may have shown us how
to do it.
Mercury's fun. It rolls around in your hands and is impossible to grab. Kids don't get to play with mercury any more. I realize they're
safer as a result. But it's still too bad. Every kid should get to play with mercury at least once.
And I don't think there was a boy alive -- at least where I grew up -- who didn't chew tar occasionally. We'd get it from the road crews
paving the streets in the neighborhood. Or we'd find fresh pieces of it on the side of newly paved streets. It was black and shiny and didn't
have much of a taste. We didn't swallow it. I probably wouldn't be here to tell you about it if we had. But it was cool to chew. And the
adults didn't mind. I think they probably showed us how to do that, too. If a kid stuck a piece of tar in their mouth today -- assuming they could
find any -- they'd be surrounded by a hazmat team in funny suits within about 30 seconds. And their parents would sue somebody for a zillion dollars.
There is one potential flaw in my plan: They might decide to recall me instead of declaring me a Super Fund site. I'm not sure exactly what that
looks like. But I don't think being recalled would be a good thing.1
As the chart shows, recalls are bad for your reputation. I'm not sure my reputation can stand too many more hits. And the cost of a recall in
terms of money, time, loss of reputation and potential legal hassles is a good reminder that getting it right the first time is important -- even if it
costs a little more to do that.
1Yahoo!News, 10/20/2007 - 11/19/2007.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jerry Brown committed journalism for 20 years, but received a full pardon. He's been practicing
public relations for more than 20 years and plans to keep practicing until he gets it right -- which he hopes takes a long time because he likes what he
does. He specializes in strategy and message development, media relations and media training and writing (news releases, annual reporters, collateral,
etc.). He also writes the Monday Morning Media Minute, a free weekly media tip distributed by e-mail.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org / 303-781-8787.
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