Thoughts at the Beach: Colonoscopy Trucks, Drinking Water, Talking Cars & Water Skiing Naked


I was out on the beach in Sagaponack last Friday, lying on a blanket, watching the seagulls and the surfers and the joggers dancing along the line of the surf, and I got some ideas that I would like to share. I get my best ideas on the beach.

The seas are rising. It’s not enough for anyone to notice it just yet, but with global warming it’s an inch here and an inch there, and the next thing you know we’ve got real problems with flooding and so forth and so on. The cause of this is the ice melting up in the Arctic and down in Antarctica. The ice melts into water. The water rises. This is not rocket science.

My idea is simple. There are 7 billion people on this earth. If each and every one of us would drink five big 12-ounce glasses of cold water every day, once when we wake up, once at each meal and once just before we all go to bed, I believe—and I have done the math here with a stick in the sand—that this would get rid of more than enough water to stop the rise in the sea level.

And it has to be ice water. Have you any idea what kind of heat 7 billion people whose body temperature is 98.6 Fahrenheit give off? Bring that temperature down. And let us all, all cool the earth.

I do think there might be a communication problem in getting everybody to do this. Many third world people don’t have TVs, cell phones, social media or radios. But the effort should be made. If we don’t get 7 billion but just 4, the size of the glass of water would have to increase to 16 ounces instead of 12. I don’t kid myself into thinking that people are going to agree to drink more than five glasses a day. I’m no fool.

My next two ideas involve stories I have been reading in The New York Times today.
One story is about how medical costs are soaring way out of sight here in America because of the cost of colonoscopies. You would be surprised—I was surprised—at how often and how many people have colonoscopies. In the United States, the average cost (not including fees for sedation or a hospital stay) is much higher than in other countries around the world. In Switzerland, for example, the average cost for a colonoscopy is $655. In America? With other attendant fees, $6,485. Why?

According to the article, America not only has the charge for the doctor doing the colonoscopy, but unlike in other countries where the doctor does it in his office with a little IV drip that has something that makes you sleepy, here in America people have been led to believe you need to have the procedure done in a hospital ($2,900 facility fee) and with a full-scale anesthesiologist ($2,400 fee) present.

What a rip-off! Then there are certain doctors who want you to have one every year instead of every five years, and people go along with it. Why not? Insurance pays for it, right?

But how do you stop this runaway train? There’s only one way. Bring on the competition. We should have mobile colonoscopy trucks. Let them drive around the country, giving colonoscopies for $80 or $100 right in the back. They just pull you over. Bing, bang, it’s all over. You’ve had your colonoscopy.

The trucks could be like the trucks they have in Ghostbusters. They could have big signs on the side, and the equipment on the roof. Just a pack with a long metal rod up there, no big deal. We’ve already got a precedent for this in those unmarked mobile morning-after-pill cars you see driving around with those inside looking for young women in need.

The other article in The Times is about Google’s driverless car project. You just tell it where to go, then leave the driving to the car.

In case you haven’t noticed, there are already certain model cars on the market, a few anyway, that park themselves. You pull up next to an empty parking space and press a button. It goes forward and back, forward and back, forward and back, and then you’re parked. Lexus makes one. You can get the feature on a Toyota Prius. But they don’t sell. Why? Because people are terrified. Who wants to give up control to some invisible computer chip you can’t see? They believe the car being parked will bang into one of the other cars. With driving a car to get you where you want to go, it would be even worse. Now you’re asking people to risk their LIVES!

But I have a solution. What’s needed in your car is somebody like that girl Siri who’s on your iPhone, somebody you can trust. Somebody you can talk to. It could be a voice that comes out of your car radio speaker. But it should be a man, not a woman. And it should be nasty.

“I think you might hit the car in the back.”

“Who’s doing this, you or me?”

“You, of course.”

Or in the case of a car which is driving itself, it could get really, really nasty.

“Pass this car, pass this car. It’s holding us up. Pass it. Pass it.”

“Shut up.”

“You can do it. There’s nobody coming the other way.”

“You want to get out here? You want me to open the door and push you out?”

My next idea is about towplanes. So we’ve got these towplanes that appear in the west and fly very slowly down the beach to the east, with the advertisement on the sign trailing along behind. SAT NITE 10 PM BLOWOUT BOARDY BARN they say. Or ELISE I LOVE YOU.

Why do they always come out from the west, heading east? I think I know. There’s the Spadaro Airport and the Brookhaven Airport and the Francis S. Gabreski Airport out there to the west, where they tie the sign on, but there’s no adequate airport of similar size to the east.

Now here’s one coming back from the east. And his sign is with the letters backwards. Nobody can read them backwards, because it’s the same sign coming the other way. What a waste of gas this is, and a waste of time—45 minutes east you’re okay, and 45 minutes the other way it’s gibberish. There’s got to be a solution for this.

I’ve given it some thought. You could have two banners sewn together with the second one having the words the other way. Like YOU LOVE I ELISE? No, that won’t work. Also, it might be too heavy to tow. I’m just saying, here.

Now it’s warming up and there’s all these people swimming, splashing around, diving into the waves out there. I’m remembering the Polar Bear Plunge. It’s preposterous. They go down to Coopers Beach in Southampton in December, or down to the beach by Long Wharf in Sag Harbor, and they strip down and run into the ocean and then run back out. Very exhilarating, very fun, very nice. Just for the hell of it and, with the publicity, to help the towns get a little more business in the wintertime.

We should do something like this in the summertime. I propose waterskiing in the ocean naked. Call it Buff Tow. It could be done. It would be a great advertisement for this area. And the laws against nudity don’t apply when you’re offshore.

I can just see them out there now. They’re just a group of bobbing heads in the water, with swirls of ski tow ropes tied to speedboats. Then the speedboats rush off, the ropes play out and then, wham, they rise up and, uh, there they go!

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