To indulge in random acts of intellectual kindness
So let me offer a comforting hypothesis to an orphan element left out in the cold by the atmospherically obsessed. Could the observation that what goes around comes around have a chemical sequel?
None dare equate the lavish expansion of the Montreal Protocol with bureaucratic turf building, but the Canadian cowboys have been corralling bromine atoms with comic zeal, slapping a ban on Halon aircraft fire extinguishers even as TSA was declaring lobsters and toothpaste too flammable to fly on commercial flights. Yet few ask,as the regulatory web expands itself, what on Earth has become of all the bromine taken out of circulation?
It's an element whose neurological effects are manifestly paradoxical. Once valued for its sedative power in Tory circles -- Evelyn Waugh was a celebrated addict of Bromo Seltzer and worse, the smelly halogen became an object of high liberal anxiety once ozone became a cause. But lately, it has gone under the cultural radar.
Where ever has it gone, in an age when each sea worn shard of blue Bromo Seltzer glass is treasured like an uncultured pearl of orient, and loaded halon fire extinguishers are passed down as heirlooms from one generation of yacht owner to the next? Even ethyl bromide is gone, superannuated as its namesake leaded gasoline, and no more a source of political controversy than the addition of fluorine to our vital bodily fluids, or the abstraction of boric acid and apricot pit elixirs from our medicine chests.
With so many elements gone, and Premo Levi out of print, what will restore the polemic balance of nature to its vigorous Space Age state, when you could start a bar fight by chucking a dart at any square on the Periodic Chart?
The answer is in the air. As conservative radio subsides into the winter doldrums, and editorial pages prepare to turn a new leaf leftward for the election year, the pouring forth of liberal bromides is on the rise like maple sap in February. Before long Hillary Clinton will sound as much like Elanor Roosevelt as Bill Moyers does already.
It is just as well. The first four years of any democratic administration are something best slept through, and with the bromide concentration of the airwaves ascending like a lullaby, the nation should snooze soundly through the first few hundred fireside chats. People in Iowa and New Hampshire are already nodding.