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My name is Bill, and I am politically ignorant

I was walking across Massachusetts Ave. toward the student center when a guy grabbed me by the arm. It was 4:30 pm.

"Hey," he began, "did you know that the sexual habits of the Mexican spotted platypus are being threatened?"

"No," I answered with the requisite shocked expression.

"Come here. I'd like to show you some photographs."

He hustled me over to a little booth. The wind was beginning to blow a little colder, but I didn't notice. The fate of the sexual habits of the Mexican spotted platypus already weighed heavily on my mind.

The man sat me down on one side of the little booth, while he hustled around to the other. I felt like Charlie Brown asking Lucy for psychiatric advice. "Just look at these pictures!" the man exclaimed.

"But those are pictures of aborted fetuses," I pointed out.

"Sorry," he apologized while flipping through the three-ring binder. "Wrong cause. Here, look at these pictures!"

I looked down to see some startling pictures of a very horny-looking Mexican spotted platypus attempting to mate with a rather confused penguin. I was aghast, and also somewhat ashamed. I had no idea that Mexico even had a breed of spotted platypuses, let alone penguins.

"Do you know what's happening here?" he asked me.

I hung my head in ignorant shame. I didn't know. I felt like I should be going to a self-help group: Politically Incorrect Anonymous. My name is Bill Jackson, and I have been Politically Incorrect and Ignorant.

"It's Exxon!"

I looked around, expecting to see an Exxon oil truck behind me. Certainly that couldn't have had anything to do with the poor deprived platypuses.

"Exxon?" I asked.

"Of course! Exxon is dumping crude oil into the waters off Alaska!"

"What connection does that have to the poor pent-up platypuses?"

He shook his head and rolled his eyes. It must be so obvious, I thought to myself, that this poor man can't even bring himself to insult my intelligence by telling me. "Mexico and Alaska share a body of water, you know."

Yeah, that much I knew. So I suppose the oil is somehow getting down to Mexico and killing the female platypuses, leaving the male platypuses so horny that they'll jump anything that moves, right? I was already patting myself on the back for figuring this much out when he interrupted me.

"Not quite. Actually, it's not killing the platypuses at all. Let me explain the mating habits of the Mexican spotted platypus to you," he began. He brought out more pictures and a recent issue of Platypus Illustrated. Luckily, it was the swimsuit issue, so I had already seen it. "You see," he continued, "the male platypus gets very excited when he sees a female platypus covered in oil. It's a major platypus fetish."

I was looking at the centerfold of Platypus Illustrated, and indeed, the sexy little duck-billed mammal was covered in oil.

"So every year, when it's time for mating, the female platypuses find some oil to roll around in so they can get their mates' minds away from the centerfold."

The problem was now becoming clearer.

"But with Exxon dumping oil into the water, the penguins that are in Mexico are becoming coated in oil."

What are penguins doing in Mexico?

"I didn't say they were very bright penguins, did I?" He shook his head.

"OK, so the male platypuses get all turned on by the oil-covered but extremely stupid penguins and go after them instead of going after the female platypuses?"

"Now you've got it. Actually, though, the male platypuses are quite virile and attack both the penguins and the female platypuses."

"Fine, fine. Just tell me, where do I sign up to help? What can I do?"

"OK, great, I'm glad to see you're willing to help. What we're going to do is conduct two major boycotts."

"Exxon and Platypus Illustrated, right?"

"No, no. We're going to boycott Federal Express and ABC's Twin Peaks."

"Why? Those two have nothing to do with the platypus problem." I really didn't understand how boycotting those two fine groups would help our frustrated platypus friends.

"You don't understand." No kidding I didn't. My head was spinning and I was feeling queasy. He was getting harder and harder to follow. "Federal Express buys Exxon gas to make their deliveries. So if we boycott Federal Express, they'll stop buying Exxon gas. In turn, Exxon will stop dumping oil, and the female platypuses will once again be able to vie for the attentions of their mates without unnecessary competition from the stupid penguins."

"I understand now. But why do you want to boycott Twin Peaks?"

"Because it sucks."

So now I understood. I felt glad that I had been enlightened to the problems of our wonderful little Mexican spotted platypus neighbors to the south. I signed up for all the protests and boycott movements I could fit into my schedule. I now know that, even in the corporate 1990s, the movement could still make a difference.

"By the way," I asked before leaving the booth, "what real harm does it do when the male platypuses try to mate with the penguins?"

"Oh, none," he answered rather facetiously, "as long as you're happy with a world full of goofy-looking, cross-bred, stupid penguins."

I'm sure as hell not happy with that.


After the drugs wear off, Tech columnist Bill Jackson '93 will be surprised to find out that he wrote this.

"Did you know that the sexual habits of the Mexican spotted platypus are being threatened?"

"No," I answered with the requisite shocked expression.