TALKING POLITICS

I used to babysit for this kid named Archie. He's 10. He lives in San Francisco. One night a month or two after Trump's election, his neighbor came over and joined us for a pizza dinner. The conversation quickly turned to politics.

 

FRIEND

And right now, we have way too much carbon dioxide because we’re burning fossil fuels, using too much gas, like a ton of other stuff, and deforestation, ‘cause plants and trees take in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen and that’s better for us. But now there’s way too much carbon dioxide in the air. And that can make a lot of bad stuff in our air.

 

ARCHIE

So that means we have to kill trees

 

FRIEND

Wrong.

 

COURTNEY

We need more trees.

 

FRIEND

We need more trees.

 

ARCHIE

I know, but, like, if you have more trees and then they take in all the carbon dioxide and put out the oxygen, then the sun rays will hit us.

 

FRIEND

Mm, no.

 

ARCHIE

Oh.

 

COURTNEY

But, good line of thinking. Like, I see where you’re coming from. But there’s no — they don’t do it that fast. They don’t turn it into—

 

FRIEND

They don’t just go [swift sound]. So like right now, well, scientists count carbon dioxide in parts per minute — I mean, parts per million, so it’s like, it’s a lot. And before it was around like, 300 — in like 2000 it was around like 350 and now it’s like 400. Which is really bad.

 

ARCHIE

You know, we either need to stick a bottle up cows’ butts and sheeps’ mouths or just put a cork in it. Because cow farts and sheep burps cause global warming.

 

FRIEND

We need to get rid of cows.

 

COURTNEY

Yeah, cow farts are a huge problem.

 

FRIEND

Also, yeah, cows breathe out like ten times more carbon dioxide than humans do.

 

ARCHIE

Then we don’t get cheese.

 

COURTNEY

Which would be a travesty. As we can all attest to.

 

FRIEND

Well, we’d just have less cheese. We’d still have cheese.

 

ARCHIE

If you kill all the cows in the universe, you won’t have cheese.

 

COURTNEY

So what do you propose?

 

FRIEND

Convert everything to electricity.

 

COURTNEY

What do you mean everything?

 

FRIEND

Like, cars, transportation, uh, make less toys, kill factories, plant way more trees, no more cutting down trees — and paper doesn’t really affect that that much because you don’t actually use that many trees for paper—

 

ARCHIE

I always thought it was recycle a piece of paper, save a whole tree.

 

FRIEND

—get rid of a lot more cows. Get rid of a lot more cows.

 

ARCHIE

What if someone, like, smuggled a cow—

 

FRIEND

And actually, there’s been like a lot of new stuff for, in like science, about new ways to provide energy. Like, there’s a lot of plants that people are testing, to figure out.

 

ARCHIE

What if we put cows in a containment cell and used their burps and farts… and turned them into electricity? Then global warming stops, we don’t have to get rid of cows, so we can still get cheese, and then we don’t have to waste any fossil fuels.

 

COURTNEY

But what about the animal cruelty part of it?

 

[silence]

 

FRIEND

[softly]

Who cares?

 

ARCHIE

Hah, yeah.

 

COURTNEY

What?!

 

ARCHIE

No one cares about cows anymore.

 

COURTNEY

Man, you guys are the worst.

 

FRIEND

I don’t care about cows. They’re bad.

 

[ARCHIE laughs]

 

COURTNEY

What do you mean they’re bad?

 

FRIEND

For the environment.

 

COURTNEY

But, like, they’re bad because we engineered them to be bad. We mass produced this animal, we genetically engineered them—

 

FRIEND

We made more cows. Which was a bad idea.

 

COURTNEY

Yeah. That’s what I mean. When I say that we made cows, I mean that we genetically engineered them to make them as cheap for us to eat as possible.

 

ARCHIE

Why don’t you just make chickens.

 

FRIEND

And then the demand keeps increasing, since it’s cheaper. And then blehh, bluhh, bluhh-bluh-bluh more cows—

 

COURTNEY

But it’s not the cow’s fault.

 

FRIEND

Mm! It’s ours!

 

COURTNEY

Yeah!

 

FRIEND

But people are just dumb!

 

COURTNEY

Well, duh.

 

ARCHIE

And then we have to get rid of cows!

 

COURTNEY

So, you have all these good ideas about, like, what we can do. Whose job is it to implement those ideas?

 

FRIEND

The president’s. Which is not good.

 

ARCHIE

That’s not gonna happen in four years.

 

COURTNEY

So what do we do in the meantime?

 

FRIEND

Plant trees. Protest.

 

COURTNEY

Have you been to a protest?

 

ARCHIE

I have.

 

FRIEND

Yeah.

 

COURTNEY

Which ones did you guys go to?

 

FRIEND

I just went to one.

 

COURTNEY

Which one did you go to?

 

ARCHIE

Women’s march.

 

FRIEND

I just went to a random march on the street.

 

COURTNEY

You didn’t know what they were protesting?

 

FRIEND

I knew what they were protesting, I didn’t know what it was called.

 

COURTNEY

What were they protesting?

 

FRIEND

Against Trump. And the environment.

 

COURTNEY

Okay.

 

FRIEND

There were these laws that Obama made preventing these chemicals being released into the air and Trump just — he doesn’t have any original ideas. He just takes away stuff that other presidents have done.

 

COURTNEY

Yeah.

 

ARCHIE

And he uses the government’s scientists, he’s like, okay, I need to find a way to do something bad

 

FRIEND

I don’t think he does that.

 

COURTNEY

Though, sometimes it does feel like it.

 

ARCHIE

And then, the scientist comes up with it and then Trump goes out and he’s like, I’ve figured out a way to do this! Or, like, something. He steals people’s ideas.

 

COURTNEY

Well, that is the job of the president.

 

ARCHIE

To steal someone’s ideas?

 

COURTNEY

They’re just supposed to steal the good ideas.

 

FRIEND

Not the bad ideas. I mean, we can do a lot as just, like, normal people. But we can’t force other people to do the stuff. And that’s why we need a good leader who cares about the environment.

 

COURTNEY

Yep. I agree.

 

ARCHIE

I’m Trump.

 

[does a Trump impersonation]

 

COURTNEY

Not a bad impersonation.

 

FRIEND

I mean, there were, like, ten million great leaders before.

 

[silence]

 

I mean, think about it. In the ancient world, the only thing that was bad with leaders is if they were cruel—

 

COURTNEY

Many of them were.

 

FRIEND

Some of them in the ancient world.

 

COURTNEY

Yeah.

 

FRIEND

A lot of them.

 

COURTNEY

I feel like in order to be a leader in the ancient world you had to be cruel.

 

FRIEND

Yeah.

 

ARCHIE

Yeah.

 

FRIEND

But they were just doing what was right. And actually right. And then if you come back to America, there was George Washington and stuff. Abraham Lincoln.

 

ARCHIE

Did you see Steph Curry at Hamilton?

 

FRIEND

Yep.

 

ARCHIE

You ask for his autograph?

 

FRIEND

Nope.

 

COURTNEY

At the Hamilton?

 

FRIEND

No, you know the play, Hamilton?

 

COURTNEY

I haven’t seen it, but I know it. Yes.

 

FRIEND

So, I went to it—

 

ARCHIE

We’re going next week.

 

COURTNEY

Cool.

 

FRIEND

—and Steph Curry was there.

 

COURTNEY

That’s cool.

 

ARCHIE

[makes gagging sound]

 

COURTNEY

Mm.

 

ARCHIE

[whispers]

Do you like pizza?

 

COURTNEY

You just spit in my face.

 

ARCHIE

Do [spits] you [spits] like [spits] peeth-zahh [spits]?

 

[spinning in circles]

 

Man, now I’ve got vertigo.

 

COURTNEY

Don’t puke.

 

ARCHIE

You eat too many calories, and the only way to get it off, to burn your calories, is literally get set on fire. Then you know you have obesities.

 

COURTNEY

Mm, did you get enough to eat?

 

FRIEND

Yeah.