Ask Dr. Babooner – Bad Job Edition

Dear Dr. Babooner,

When I was younger I imagined living off the grid in a perfectly balanced lifestyle that combined meaningful environmentally-sensitive work with sustainable practices at home that left no footprint on our fragile planet with regard to carbon generation or over-use of any other precious resources.

I saw myself living on sunlight and good intentions, and dying as compost.

But in reality I work in California’s Central Valley, drilling deep wells to reach the receding water table. I’m on the job 12 hours a day because demand has gone through the roof, even though there is no roof where I work and everything we do is directed into the ground.

But you get the idea. The job is dusty and hot and it can be dangerous if you’re not paying attention because you’re bored, which I am most of the time.

My employer does things on the cheap and charges top dollar. He tells me not to speak to the customers at all, ever, about anything. I think he’s worried that they’ll find out six months ago I was working a barista at Starbucks. I don’t know why this is a problem. The equipment in that job was noisy and complicated too!

Our customers get emotional because they’re spending tons of money on a bet and their entire livelihood is at stake. Last week this one guy sat in a lawn chair and watched us the whole time, drinking beer after beer and complaining about the government. The deeper we went without a strike the more morose he became, and the more beer he drank. Needless to say, he sprouted a gusher long before we did.

At least he went behind a tree.

People tell me I should be happy to have a well-paying, in-demand job, but I can’t help but think this is all a fruitless effort to continue a kind of agriculture that, if this drought continues, is destined to become, well … fruitless.

Dr. Babooner, I’d like to lecture these farmers about conservation of resources and finding ways to not over exploit the preciously small amount of water that’s available to us, but my boss tells me if I say one word about any of that he’ll fire me and bring in drillers from North Dakota who don’t care about the environment, they’re just looking for a way to get out of the Bakken oil fields before winter hits.

Conflictedly,
Bored, Always Drilling Activist Seeks Sustainability

I told B.A.D.A.S.S. she (or he) should just be quiet and take the money. If California’s drought goes on much longer, the central valley will run dry one with you or without you. And arid-land farmers are usually not open to lectures from the crew they’re paying to dig expensive holes. Keep your earnings and use them to save the world later on, although given your high ideals you probably shouldn’t ask too many questions about what the bank is doing with your savings.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

27 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Babooner – Bad Job Edition”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    No one is on the blog today–at the fair I would guess.

    Dear BA–

    Sorry about that idealism thing gone wrong. You should have seen the world my generation was going to create in the 60’s. Sunshine, Flowers, lots of sex, LSD. That took a wrong turn, also–which created a fun song, “First I was a Hippie, Then I was a Stockbroker, Now I am a Hippie Again.”

    What to say. You live in a place in which lack of water, even in a rainy year, leaves large populations to be unsustainable. Arizona is even more screwed, although no one discusses it there. THey just close their eyes and build more houses, and pretend it is not a problem.

    California is indeed, a stunningly beautiful place. But it has its limits of population and farm production. And then there is the movie industry which creates its own joys and problems which the neighbors must live with.

    Add up the factors and figure it out. Take the money or find something else. Frankly, if you want to live in CA, I would contact tim on this blog and work on an invention of some kind that desalinates water reliably.

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        1. Teenager and I have pretty much quit eating fresh strawberries most of the year. In June we pick and freeze (and eat strawberries at every meal for a couple of weeks. Last year we almost made it to June on our frozen berries. The strawberries are so glorious here in June that it doesn’t hurt that much to forgo them in the winter.

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      1. Those strawberries you find in the grocery store in December aren’t worth your hard-earned money, Dale. They are flavorless. Come to think of it, the ones in the grocery store any time of the year are pretty bad. Get ’em at the farmers’ market in season, or grow your own.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I weeded our strawberry beds last weekend, and now I see a myriad of runners spreading out on the bare, weed free ground. The constant rain we have had today is just the thing to keep the soil soft. I couldn’t freeze many berries this year since my dad ate them as fast as we picked them.

          Liked by 3 people

  2. I find it ironic that as I type this the area in which I live is in a flood watch. The grain farmers here would gladly give the Central Valley all the precip that is falling this weekend. We have had drought out here and the farmers have been quite responsible doing no-till farming practices, water conservation, etc. Bakken drillers probably wouldn’t be interested in water wells. The stores here are getting winter clothes and equipment to keep the roustabouts warm, Maybe BADASS needs to move out of California, along with millions of other people and admit that there is a limit to how much we can use and abuse limited resources.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never understood how or why we allow anyone and everyone to take the natural resources of the planet and claim them use them and abuse them with no thought or consequence in regard to anything but profit and bottom line
    Bp Carnegie Minnesota farmers who drill a well to plug their irrigation system into or badass that are all just concerned about today and the almighty dollar. Gas oil water air soil minerals mountain tops ocean floors. Can’t be replaces once we’ve toasted it.

    Ready for a depressing weekend dr baboon badass is a pawn and if he didn’t drill the Bakker oil field refugees would but ….

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  4. Yikes, that’s a really sobering article, Dr. Babooner. These two sentences are particularly disturbing:

    Asked if he worries about butting up against an upper limit to the region’s groundwater, Arthur said that “it might be a problem for the next generation.” (See “Epic California Drought and Groundwater: Where Do We Go From Here?”)

    He added that he also worries how long people can afford to keep paying for his services. The Central Valley “feeds the world,” he said, providing about half of the U.S.’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables. But it needs water to do so. (See “California Report Warns of Worsening Economic Impacts of Drought.”)

    I say everyone should just stick their head in the sand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I say everybody should learn to eat and preserve what grows around here and doesn’t take a lot of deep drilling for water and oil to produce.

      By gum, it was good enough for my immigrant ancestors, it should be good enough for us.

      And yeah Dale, those December strawberries and equally awful tomatoes? why?

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      1. listened to a show on being today with mpr wonderful christine tippet lady and the guest was talking about growing food so its nutritious vs making more pounds of crappy tomatoes per plant per season. you can get great tasiting highly good for you but it costs more

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You could follow the advice I got several years ago when I was concerned about the activities of my cell phone provider (the alternatives at the time weren’t much better): go ahead and work with company X, but give what you can to non-profits and organizations that work against what I felt were the most egregious activities company X was supporting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the real message in this song is that B.A.D.A.S.S. should dump the drilling job and go back to being a self-respecting barrista, or something else that doesn’t rot the soul.

      I am reminded of Henry David Thoreau who wrote about the young man who went to work in the city so he could afford to be a poet.

      By the time he had accumulated what he felt were sufficient funds, he was no longer fit to be a poet.

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  6. Many folks who consult Dr Babooner want to have things both ways. In this case a person with a somewhat developed ecological conscience wants to go on exploiting the natural world but feels guilty about it. Well, that’s a start. You are living a hypocrisy, but at least it bothers you. Your conflict will be resolved by moving off the fence and taking a side, either the side of exploitation or the side of ecological health. I can only suggest you try to resolve the conflict through education . . . in other words, learn more about the science behind this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi all. I’m not sure I have much to say to BADASS – he/she already knows what to do, but is looking to someone else to absolve the moral conundrum.

    Anyway, Teenager and I had a GLORIOUS day at the Fair. And imagine my delight to look up over the bunny hutches to see a fellow baboon – tim!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. group of 8 flexing at one point to ten. it was a glorious day at the fair. i think we should start warming up teengers new name. or will she like bubby stay teenager for the next 20 years. that would be kind of fun. my daughter (14 year old) really really really wants a bunny. i cant imagine the dogs not being manic unti it was dead. anyone with bunny experience?
      fun seeing you and janai

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      1. Funny you should mention Teenager’s future name… I actually have been thinking out it. I believe in January she will either become the Young Adult or the Daughter. Leaving toward YA, since it’s in keeping with her earlier names.

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  8. Evening-
    A friend of mine who bought a house last year talked about getting connected to city water because his well in the backyard was only 15′ deep.
    I told him the story of the man who got his septic system repaired only to have his well dry up. (You might have to think about that for a minute).

    Jumping back a day, I haven’t been to the State Fair since I was in 4H and won a trip there. And I had to work in the 4H kitchen helping serve breakfast. Phooey.
    Milking those mornings and listening to ‘Where’s Eric’ was always a challenge as I had to be sure I was at the radio for those segments. Sorry cows: some of you were over milked…

    Ben

    Liked by 2 people

  9. As was indicated in the link provided by Dale, excessive exploitation of resources can have a negative impact on the world that will make life very difficult for future generations. It is good that BADASS is questioning what she is doing. I think we should all be questioning what we are doing if we want a world that is livable for future generations.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. OT – Sat outside tonight, on our front stoop, and watched the most amazing electrical storm. Clouds, illuminated from behind with bolts of lightning, flashes of brilliant light that outlined the clouds, and never a rumble of thunder. We watched for a good 45 minutes; truly an amazing display. Daisy didn’t much care for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I watched it over the downtown St. Paul skyline. The “1st” on the First National Bank Building would sporadically light up in red, then a squiggle of lightning would flash over it for a millisecond, or the cloud formation would stand out against the flickering illumination when the lightning was behind the clouds. No sound except the singing of the tree toads.

      Tell Daisy she has no eye for the beauty of the natural world.

      Liked by 2 people

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