Silver Lining in the Gulf

June 10, 2010

I’m sick to death of all this whingeing, whining and handwringing about the British Petroleum (BP) disaster in the Gulf. So some shrimp and crabs get slimed. Big deal. We can import plenty more from China at a cheaper price than the domestic brands. (The Chinese versions are probably polluted too, but no one in China will own up to it because, if they did, they might wind up in jail.) If Americans really cared about rotten-tasting sea food, Red Lobster would have been out of business years ago. Once, years ago, after a night of too-much beer and Jameson, I was shanghaied by some friends to a fast-food outlet called Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips. (Treacher, a once reputable British stage actor had at this point descended from tragedy to farce, serving as TV sidekick to the talentless, ever-oleaginous Merv Griffin.) My repast at Arthur Treacher’s, which tasted like deep-fried blubber—or what I imagine deep-fried blubber tastes like—left me ill for several weeks and inflicted damage to my digestive system that still lingers. (Thank God, the antibodies from the beer and Jameson’s helped fight off some of the worst side effects.) It took weeks before the oily aftertaste finally left my mouth, and it is only now I realize that Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips was, in fact, a subsidiary of BP, a pioneering experiment by clever British oilmen in plumbing the American appetite for deep-fried soaked-in-petroleum sea food. Though Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips has largely disappeared (thanks to competitors who offer even worse food at a lower price), be prepared to see BP undertake a dramatic revival of its sea food-serving subsidiary. In fact, if I might venture a suggestion, BP should blow up all its rigs in the Gulf and fill the whole damn place with oil. That way, they can turn the Gulf into one gigantic refinery, providing Americans with what we value most—above clean water, clean air and some stupid hurricane-ravaged wetlands: cheap, plentiful gasoline. We can all drive down to New Orleans, which will be great for the still-struggling economy of that post-Katrina town, fill up on two-cents-per-gallon gas and pig out at the all-you-can-eat sea food buffet at Arthur Treacher’s. See ya in the Big Easy!


  1. A friend of Rich’s used to refer to “Red Lobster” as “Dead Lobster.” ‘Nuff said.

  2. A friend of Rich’s (now, sadly, deceased)used to sardonically refer to “Red Lobster” as “Dead Lobster.” ‘Nuff said.

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