24 Apr 2012, 00:05
The Tank often finds replaying vignettes from our youth gets us through the more depressing aspects of covering the inevitable climatic cataclysm that threatens to turn our fragile civilisation into a scorched apocalypse populated only by gun-toting hordes of psychopathic survivalists. The time we missed the football and spent a whole day avoiding the score only to find out it was postponed, is a favourite. Or that week we went to clown college. And not forgetting, of course, the strange episode where we lost all our money playing poker and our Dad, Tom Bosley, had to go get it back.
And so what if most of our cherished memories are in fact from TV shows? After all, TV is simply the perfect means of experiencing a rich and full life without ever having to do the hard bit of actually living it.
And now it seems a US Congressman has invoked the same displacement technique to liven up what could otherwise be a rather dry piece of recycling legislation requiring anyone who imports bulk amounts of recyclable containers into California to report where they came from.
Yawnsville, right? Wrong! For Democrat Richard "Flash" Gordon has included reference to a pair of 1996 Seinfeld episodes where Kramer and Newman plan to smuggle a mail truck full of bottles and cans from New York, where they would get ¢5 for each item, to Michigan, where they could claim double the amount.
"If I could, I would name it the Newman-Kramer Deterrence Act of 2012," Gordon told news agency Bloomberg. "I'm not sure, candidly, that that was my initial intent. I was just kind of having fun and it was a good laugh in the office. But if it does bring some attention to what is an issue, hey, great."
Amazingly, people have actually been attempting Kramer-esque arbitrages. Bloomberg reports that in Maine last year, three people were indicted for allegedly cashing in 100,000 out-of-state bottles and cans worth more than $10,000.
And five years ago, the state of Michigan announced the successful conclusion of "Operation Can Scam", snaring Ohio smugglers who diddled Michigan taxpayers out of "hundreds of thousands of dollars". Apparently such scams cost the state a mind-boggling $13m a year.
So there's a warning for you. Next time you're bringing an out of state bottle into California - stop! Recycle your memories instead.
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