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Thanks, oil god: An open letter to BP executive Tony Hayward

Dear Tony Hayward, C.E.O. (Chief Environmental Obstacle) British Petroleum,

I am writing to let you know of a few observations I made regarding your reputation, while on a recent (and illuminating) scuba dive in the Gulf of Mexico.

I realize that these have been a stressful past couple months for you and your family, considering all the unfounded personal criticism that you've taken. The people resent you, the press mocks you, and the president himself said that, were you his employee, he would have sacked you long ago.

Were I in your position, I would have done much more to unwind and get some semblance of my life back than watch the yacht races -- much more.

The people may hold their grievances, but isn't it the creatures that live in the sea themselves -- the sea you've made your impact on -- that should have the final say? Yes, it is -- and the fish worship you. Just look at them!

They lie on their backs, motionless and silent, in meek reverence for all the power you hold over them. On earth, you may be a pariah, but to the ocean creatures, you're a god. A terrible god, yes -- one who demands great sacrifice from his oppressed subjects -- but a god no less.

And well you should be. From turning the marvelous underwater currents into murky pollution to coating the seabirds' wings so they can no longer fly and now must adjust, you have established yourself as the most important force in the lives of every creature in the sea. And all in less than 100 days!

So as you stand on the beachhead bluffs and survey the horizon, look closely and see all the changes you have wrought, all the creatures whose lives you've ruined for good. See this and be proud.

Perhaps someday, if you look hard enough and when it's not too bright out, you will spot the Great White Whale himself, Moby Dick, landed solemnly on some Florida Beach after a pilgrimage to pay grim homage to the power who made the ancient sea such a different, vastly miserable place to live.

The Octopus will come out of his Garden and concede that he no longer has any reason to leave prey in hazy dark clouds, with all the oil in the ocean already, and Jaws the Shark will admit that his power to kill is embarrassing compared to the death you've wrought. Someday, I expect, Poseidon will bow to you and hand you his trident with sadness and all the pretty mermaids will report to your service with tears on their faces.

Only then, when the ocean coughs up its very storybook myths and dark mystery for your glory and twisted satisfaction, can you be certain that your influence has permeated the infinite deep to its core. And when that day comes, Mr. Hayward, you will know your place is secure in the annals of the ocean's history.

Some sea creatures may cry that the new God of the Seas is not a kind one, is a terrible one in fact, who fills their days with darkness and their gills with tar-balls, but that's their issue. You're in control now. You have the power; forget the responsibility.



Nathan Kitzmann is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.