The city where I was born and raised, Toledo, Ohio, just suffered a three-day water crisis. Five hundred thousand people couldn’t drink the water because an algae bloom in Lake Erie produced a toxin called microcystin. The toxin is so poisonous that that you couldn’t use Toledo’s water to bush your teeth or take a bath and it would kill your pit bull if you put it in his dish. You couldn’t boil the water because that would increase the concentration of the toxin. Exposure to microcystin results in abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness, and dizziness.
Or, as we Toledoans call it, “Monday Morning.” I would have worried about this water crisis if it had happened in some fancy place where la-di-da people carry spigoted bottles of water with them everywhere they go—as if they were their own hamsters. They wouldn’t have been able to handle it. But la-di-da people also buy that water in Fiji and have it shipped thousands of miles, so maybe they would have been fine. In any event, screw them.
Toledo is a tough city, a factory town, a freight train junction, a lake steamer port. You know that poem Carl Sandburg wrote?