By Bill Steigerwald
“Al Gore, star witness”
U.S. CAPITOL BUILDING
At the entrance of the U.S. Capitol Building Grandpa showed a security guard the invitation from Senator Al Franken inviting him to attend the Endangered Species hearings.
“Sorry about the temperature, folks,” the guard apologized as he escorted the three bears to the back of a hearing room crammed with shivering humans and lots of television cameras. “For some mysterious reason our heating system broke down early this morning.”
“We’ll be fine, thanks,” Grandpa said. “We’re from up north. We’re kind of used to the cold.”
In the front of the room were 15 United States senators in wool scarves, mittens and matching dark suits. Barbara Boxer was chairing the meeting. Star witness Albert Arnold “Al” Gore was droning on about what had to be done to stop the coming climate apocalypse.
“We are facing a planetary crisis of unprecedented scope,” Gore droned. “The United States government must immediately outlaw coal and make possession of incandescent light bulbs a capital crime or polar ice caps will melt and sea levels will rise 75 feet.”
“Madame Chair,” blurted Senator James Inhofe, “Mr. Gore is so full of ….”
“Shut up, Jim.” Senator Boxer snarled. “We know what Big Oil thinks. Go on, Al, tell us about the threat to the polar bear.”
“The very existence of the species is imperiled by anthropogenic global climate change,” Gore droned. “Our computer climate models tell us the Arctic sea ice will be entirely gone in 7.3 years and polar bears will become extinct in 11 years, 10 months, 14 days, 11 hours and 32 minutes.”
“What can the Senate do to avoid that awful tragedy?” Senator Boxer agonized.
“It’s very simple,” Al Gore droned. “We must have the political will to force every American family to reduce its carbon footprint by 50 percent within six months. Or they can purchase $10,000 worth of carbon credits from Al Gore Global Enterprises Inc. I call my idea the ‘Carbon Choice Act.’”
“Al, would your conglomerate – excuse me, nonprofit — provide those carbon credits to every American?”
“Yes, it would,” Al Gore droned. “For a commission of only 20 percent.”
“Bless you, Al. Bless you.”
“Well,” Gore droned modestly, “we do what we can to save our fragile planet. You know I just wrote another book, ‘Our Choice,’ that spells out everything we must do to reverse global warming. Tipper dries our wash outside on the line and recently she sold two of our family jets to Oprah.”
“You two!” gushed Senator Boxer. “You’re green role models for us all! Now, in addition to immediately placing the polar bear on the Endangered Species list, tell us, please, what else can the Senate do to help you save the Earth?”
“I’d love to take three hours to answer that, Barb,” Al Gore droned, looking down at his Blackberry. “But my pilot just texted me and my Gulfstream G450 is ready to go.”
“Going home to your Tennessee mansion for the weekend?”
“No. Tipper and I are jetting over to Paris and back for a quiet dinner. While I’m there, I have to pick up my third Jerry Lewis Genius Prize from the French National Film Academy.”
“Another well-deserved honor for “An Inconvenient Truth,” your breathtakingly simple explanation of global warming?” Senator Boxer asked with admiring twinkles in both eyes.
“Yes,” Al Gore droned humbly. “For Best Recycling of Hollywood Special-Effects in a Science Documentary.”
As Al Gore’s private helicopter lifted off from the Capitol Building’s West Lawn, Senator Al Franken finally spoke the words Grandpa had traveled 2,000 miles to hear.
“Madam Chairwoman,” he said, “I’d like to call our final expert — Mr. G.P. Bear. He’s an Inuit from East Greenland and he has much to teach us about polar bears. I bet he can even give us some tips on how to cope with this strange cold spell we’re having, ha, ha, ha.”