The Second Responder's Tale
(a satire on population and environment)
This is a satire concerning the very much out of date injunction to "be fruitful and multiply".
This will probably offend a lot of readers. The purpose is to make readers think about human over-population and human destruction of ecosystems on our one and only planet.
I am writing this a year after the devastating "Camp Fire" in Paradise, California, a fire which turned "Paradise" into an "Inferno", killing many people and many animals and destroying their homes. Many burn-injured animals were rescued by the "second responders" survior searchers, given first aid by veterinarians and vet techs, and transported to vet clinics and to the UC Davis VMTH.
I am nowhere near as gifted a writer as Swift was, but I invite all readers to contemplate his "A Modest Proposal"
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This is the true story as told by a Second Responder to the "Camp Fire" of 2018 in Paradise , California.
You can be sure it is really truely true because Miriam the Responder told it to Maria the First Aid worker, over-heard by Maria's son whom everyone called "Hey You", who told it to Paula the Transport Driver, who told it to me, Pam, who now writes it down for you to read.
I, Miriam, am part of the Second Response Team that goes into disaster areas to look for survivors, human or animal, and bring them out to the First Aid Station, where they are triaged , given first aid, then sent on to an appropriate facility for futher treatment. This is my story of a very strange event that happened to me while I was working at the "Camp Fire" that devestated the area around Paradise, California in 2018.
I'd been working for four days , finding a few human survivors and many burn-injured animals. I was pretty tired at this point, almost ready to report myself to the Aid Station for a rest break, when I found a small bear cub with badly burnt feet. I was carrying the cub through a totally burnt out area when I saw a brightly burning bush, a bush that seemed to burn without being consumned. I stopped for a moment, to catch my breath and watch to see if I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing, not hallucinating from sheer fatique.
Suddenly an authoritatiive woman's voice came out of nowhere. It said "Keep on thy boots onto thy feet , for the land which thou standeth on, though Holy land, is still burning hot." I looked around. No one was there. The voice continued "I am She, thy Goddess and I have an important message for all my human children"
I replied "Oh Goddess, non sum dignis. I am unworthy to be thy messenger" and She replied "So were all the others : what can you expect of male humans ? They don't listen very well."
She continued "Enough with the multiplying already ! That was appropriate back when you humans were very few, really a minor species , when half your children died before reaching puberty, and your adults mostly died by age 30. Then you had to multiply a lot just to maintain your numbers. But as your numbers increased, the multiplying should have decreased"
"What's worse, you have ignored the equally important other part of that command. I enjoined you humans to replentish the earth and to exercise stewardship over the earth and the plants and animals I allowed to evolve. But by your over-multiplying and by replacing the concept of 'dominion' with 'domination' you humans are destroying the earth and all its other inhabitants"
"I know I promised not to send another Great Flood, while threatening to send the Fire next time. But these fires are not My fires. These fires are your fires, your doing. It was not My angels who have driving the inhabitants out of Paradise. It was human ineptitude on the part of your public utility. Likewise the floods are not My floods, they are your floods. Likewise the hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis. And need I mention Chernobyl and Fukujima ?"
"Your species still has a tiny margin of time in which to reverse course. Reduce your birth rate to far below your death rate and start being diligent caretakers of your environment and all its other inhabitants."
"I have spoken."
The Voice fell silent, and the bush suddenly ceased burning.
I resumed my journey down to the Aid Station, where I handed the bear cub to the veterinary team, then handed myself to one of the Aid workers whose name was Maria. She plugged me into IV fluids and placed me on a cot to rest.
But I couldn't rest before I told her my story.
Maria's son, a lad who was helping all workers as best he could, responding all day to calls of "Hey You" or "Hey-soos", overheard the Responder's story.return to top of page
He told it as best he could to Paula, the Transport driver , as she was driving him and a load of rescued animals down the mountain. The animals were going to UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, and the boy to his grandmother Anna so he could be ready for school the next day.
And later on Paula told it to me and I wrote it down.
Now you are reading it.