The big topic in Florida is…. no, not the imbecilic fixation on college football’s draft: don’t embarrass us! Lord have mercy, that’s not just sports, its amateur sports. Football, no less. Puh-leeeeeze.
No, the real story is water, and the fact that in a place where 60 inches of rain falls per year, we’re running out. If you read yesterday’s rather breathlessly and shoddily written lead story on the Miami Hurled, you know that Miami-Dade is actually in better shape water-wise than the rest of the state, which confronts impending disaster. Nevertheless , we got ourselves a world-class drought.
On Sunday I caught up with “Merkin,” a builder who used to post comments regularly on this blog, but who more or less stopped because much of what he read here disgusted him. That issue aside, Merkin knows something about providing water to South Florida’s population.
“I’ve been preaching this since 1975,” he says. “South Florida is no longer a natural environment. When it was, you couldn’t live here. Now millions make this their home. Miami is a major American city. Water is a commodity like electricity, chicken, and gasoline. Deal with it.”
I’m already lost. Does gasoline fall from the sky like rain? How about chicken legs?
“No, shit for brains. What I mean is, forget the fact that we got a lot of rain. The issue now is how to manage the water, including the rain. And the answer is, Build More.”
Build more what? Clouds?
“You’re as dumb as you look, and that’s sayin’ something. Here it is in a nutshell. Most water consumed by Floridians ends up on their goddam front lawns. Nobody needs a front lawn. But everybody needs a place to live, unless you’re a pervert and sleep under an interstate. So the answer is, build more houses. Build more, and build ’em closer together. In South Florida, we need more cement, more asphalt, and less useless front lawns. That preserves water.”
Pave paradise and….
“…put up a parking lot. Absolutely correct, sir. And the proof is, look at Dade, where the population is most dense, and the lawns are the smallest per household. There’s a statewide drought but here we’re above average for the year — you know why? We don’t waste it watering the crabgrass.”
So, the enemy is grass, is that it? Flowers, trees, things that grow.
“Fuckin A. Pave the parks. Criminalize sprinkling. Save the water for agriculture, washing your armpits, and mixing with Scotch. Clean your windshields, and watch how traffic improves. Drink water, eat less. That’s what’s important, and when you got a commodity is short supply, you need to prioritize.”
Right. And this perverted view of nature has nothing to do with the fact that you build houses for a living right?
“The state of Florida decided half a century ago that nature has nothing to do with living here. Nature is the enemy. That’s why we got air conditioners, interstates, and oceanfront condominiums planted on sand. Get with the program, or get the hell out. I-95 runs both ways.”
See you in hell. Say, how’s business these days?
“You know me: every day is an opportunity. That’s the Merkin way.”