My friend Roger called me a few days ago obviously quite excited. He asked if we could get together as soon as possible. He mentioned that he had a great idea that could make a lot of money for us. Although retired, the idea of a lot of money still has its appeal. But I told him I was not interested in any pyramid scheme or pie in the sky investment.
“No. No.” he assured me. “This is a chance to take advantage of two current situations which could lead us to big profits.”
Well, I was going out to get gas and run a few errands, so I agreed to stop by his house.
When I got there he was very excited and could hardly wait to share his ideas and I could hardly wait to hear them.
Okay, tell me how we’re both going to become millionaires, I said as I arrived.
“The two situations are these. First the need to dispose of thousands of barrels of oil a day. Number two is the proclivity of the Collier County commissioners to use our tax money trying to attract new industries here.”
I understand the oil problem and I do think the commissioners are being rather liberal with our tax money, especially after the cuts in services over the past couple of years. So what’s your plan?
“Don’t people know that oil and water don’t mix?”
I almost answered that Scotch and water mix quite well, thank you. However, playing it straight and since it was well before 5 pm, in fact before noon, I just said I don’t know why people don’t know that oil and water don’t mix, but that’s a lot of don’ts, don’t you think?
“This is serious. Don’t you read the paper about what’s happening with the oil spill in the Gulf?”
I was tempted to say that I do not, thus avoiding a long discussion plus another don’t. I guess I could have said well there’s no point crying over spilt oil, but instead responded I do and it’s terrible, but fortunately for us, it is still a good distance away.
“It’s in Venice already.”
Yes, but Venice, Louisiana not Venice, Florida.
“I don’t care if it is Venice, Italy. I’ve been thinking about it and I have a suggestion which could be quite profitable. All of this oil that no one wants. Why don’t we divert it to a collection area. And since oil and water don’t mix, we could extract the oil and just store it in barrels for people to use in their cars.”
Yes, I said, but getting oil for my car is not the problem. Even a complete oil change is pretty reasonable. What people are interested in is reducing the cost of gasoline and with all that oil being spilled it most likely will drive prices at the pump even higher. Besides, how are we going to get the oil down here, particularly when they’re trying to stop it from moving this way? You’re talking about a lot of money.
“Absolutely. Right now no one wants the oil, but if we show the value of the oil to Collier County, the Commissioners who are trying to bring more industry here and seem to be willing to pay tax money to get it here, might get behind us and maybe they could get BP to move the oil to Collier County.”
So you’re saying that your solution is moving the oil down here?
“You got it,” said Roger. “Then we could buy it for our cars directly and we wouldn’t even need a gasoline station. Eliminate the middle man and save even more money.”
Well, I answered, that might make sense except I don’t have a refinery in my back yard to convert the oil to gasoline.
“That’s right. Who has? But I think I can solve that problem. I remember buying a car in Europe a few years ago and after driving it around over there we shipped it home. But first to make it compatible with our gas we had to install a catalytic converter. We could do the same thing here if we had all that oil nearby. We could separate the oil from the water and through the use of a catalytic converter make it work in our cars. But you could still go to the pump when you wanted regular gas. It would be a hybrid because it uses different fuel sources and would qualify for another government subsidy.”
You’re talking big time investments. Where is all this money going to come from, I asked?
“That’s the beauty of it. BP wants to get rid of the oil, so we get them to move the oil down here. The Board of Commissioners wants to bring more jobs to the County, so they establish one of these innovation zones they’re talking about like they’re doing for Jackson Lab. After all, what’s more important, oil or mice?”
I almost answered mice, but decided to ignore the question. Instead I told him I had to leave. It still wasn’t noon yet, but I was ready for that Scotch and water.