Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dystopia: [dis-toh-pi-a], n. a future in which loafers have no pennies

Dear Friends,

   I spent most of my early years in the icy shadow of the magnificent Quincy Mine, a defunct copper mine outside of Hancock, Michigan. The Quincy Mine closed its doors in 1945, but trust me, Honey, there are still plenty of copper deposits left in "Old Reliable." All it would take is someone, someone like you who already has a flashlight taped to his or her head, to ride the Quincy hoist elevator to the floor of the deepest shaft and pluck the loose copper nuggets off its sweet, fertile ore bed. 
   Wait…did you hear that? If I am not mistaken, that is the sound of coppertunity knocking.
   The Hard Taco song for July is called "The Quincy Steam Hoist." This song celebrates the Yooper’s dream, in which there are two saunas in every basement and the streets are once again paved with amygdaloid lower-grade strataform copper orebodies.*
Getting Down to Brass Tacks

   Rather, get down to this alarming fact: Without copper, there would be no brass tacks, which are a 70/30 copper/zinc alloy. Like fossil fuels or Vitamin Water, copper is a finite resource. We now have synthetic copper substitutes for most electrical applications, but musical science has not yet found a way to make a timpani without native copper. The popularity of the timpani is increasing at unsustainable rates in both India and China. Within 25 years, the earth's copper supply will be all but depleted, and within two generations there will be no more songs that go BAHM BOHM BAHM BOHM bubbita bubbita bubbita bubbita BOHM!
   If you think that a future without timpani music is grim/chilling, try to visualize a world without pennies. The U.S. one cent piece is only 2.5% copper, but this modest proportion is crucial to maintain the weight and the yaw of the coin. Those of us who wear penny loafers depend on a perfectly balanced penny with consistent yaw, parity, and drag. A penny with less than 2.5% copper, when inserted into the slit of one's Weejuns, disrupts the equilibrium, causing one to tumble about on the deck of one's pleasure boat.
   I pray every night that, before our copper surplus is gone, a hero will arise with a system of counterweighted argyles, chinos, and tennis sweaters that can compensate for penniless loafers. If they don't, I fear that our grandchildren will inherit a bleak tomorrow in which dreary closets are stocked with miserable brogues and tassel loafers.

With warmest regards,

*  Most Yoopers just dream of having roads that are paved, period.