Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Butterfly Menace

As we all know, strong winds and hurricanes are caused by a butterfly in India beating its wings at such a rate as to cause a mini vortex immediately above which, in turn, creates a larger vortex, and so on down the line. This steadily growing series of vortices eventually produces a massive low-pressure area which subsequently crosses from the sub-continent and arrives in either Europe or America, depending on the direction of the jet streams. Catastrophic damage often results. During those gales last November, for example, half of my garden fence blew down and quite a few roof tiles came off.

Well fuck that. Now it’s payback time.

The problem here lies in identifying exactly which butterfly did this, however. Simply studying the satellite photographs on the Internet and tracking the weather system back to its point of origin is a bit imprecise. Were I to take an Air India flight to, say, Assam, on the strength of my suspicions, I might arrive to discover that there’s actually more than one butterfly living there. And even if there isn’t, the butterfly I found might plausibly argue that, while he is in Assam now, he wasn’t last November when the initial mini-vortex was kicked off, because, back then, he was still a caterpillar in New Delhi.

Perhaps a better idea, therefore, would be to mount some sort of pre-emptive strike, as the Israelis are predicted to be planning vis-à-vis the Iranian nuclear threat, before the butterflies are in a position to unleash their carnage. Where, exactly? Cabbage patches, of course. It’s a well-known fact that, pre-metamorphosis, butterflies spend their lives as caterpillars, munching holes through cabbage leaves. So if we carefully target every Indian cabbage using a “smart” bomb, we’ll eliminate the butterfly menace before it starts.

There is, I suppose, a risk with this that Iranians and butterflies could then form some sort of defensive alliance, as the Iranians have with hizbu'llah. As a result, we might go into supermarkets and greengrocers and find Iranians chewing holes in our cabbages to show solidarity with their butterfly brethren. Iranians, however, don’t generally go into a pupa stage and emerge with wings a couple of weeks later, so their potential for causing storms and hurricanes would be limited.

Then again, I suppose a chadoor-clad Iranian woman looks sufficiently like a pupa that, if you force-fed her enough cabbage and hung her up under a tree for a month, something winged, untoward and anti-Western could well result. A Muslim fundamentalist death’s head moth, perhaps.

1 comment:

Ron Broxted said...

Butterflies are beautiful.It is a passing beauty but in a world where this commodity is in short supply we must leave the schmetterling alone.