HUMOR: Dry Gulch vs. Beer

The normal thinking person might not have come up with such a revolutionary idea.

Sometimes we must turn, instead, to the normal drinking person.

For this particular revolutionary idea, we turn to Dr. Rudolph Spengler, former Professor of Economics at the University of Denver, now retired and drinking away his pension as a regular patron of the Stinkwater Brewing Company. I caught up with the Professor early one afternoon, and recorded the following interview over a couple of glasses of the brew pub’s ever popular sulphur-infused ‘Brimstone IPA.’

Pagosa Daily Post: Thanks so much for agreeing to meet with me.

Dr. Spengler: My pleasure. Assuming you are buying, of course.

PDP: Goes without saying. Interesting color to this ‘Brimstone’ beer. And smell.

Dr. Spengler: Of course, ‘brimstone’ is the biblical term for ‘sulphur,’ which as everyone knows is the odor left behind when the Devil has been visiting. Or, in the case of this delightful IPA, the color and flavor left behind.

PDP: Well, you learn something new everyday.

Dr. Spengler: Unless you are a politician. (Laughs.)  Or a taxpayer.

PDP: Well, speaking of taxpayers, I understand you’ve been following the recent controversy, about the Dry Gulch reservoir? And the tax increase proposed by the Stinkwater Springs Water Conservancy District? I’ve been told you have some ideas about that.

Dr. Spengler: Speaking not just of taxpayers. Of the Devil, as well.

PDP: Well, sure. Goes without saying.

Dr. Spengler: The idea is pretty simple. The Water Conservancy District has announced its intentions to extract somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 million from the taxpayers — or from someone else who happens to have $60 million laying around — to build a new reservoir in Dry Gulch. Something like 11,000 acre-feet?  That’s a lot of water.

Of course, Dry Gulch is exactly what its name implies. A dry gulch. There’s no river running through it. It’s just a big dry valley. You know, tumbleweeds. Prairie dogs. Snakes. Spiders.

So the water for this proposed reservoir is going to be taken out of the San Juan River, and made to sit in an artificial lake, evaporating our precious high-desert water into thin air while the District waits around for someone to use it. But Stinkwater Springs already has a half dozen artificial reservoirs, and all of them are already evaporating our precious high-desert water into thin air.

PDP: Sounds a bit crazy, when you put it that way.

Dr. Spengler: Well, I’m an economist by training, and it is indeed crazy. You don’t let water sit around doing nothing.

You’ve heard them say, it takes money to make money. A more accurate statement is, ‘It takes water to make money.’

Instead of using the District’s water rights to make a big, open, evaporating pool — growing algae and collecting air pollution from the big, dirty coal-fired generating plants in New Mexico and Arizona — we should take all that extra water and make it into beer.

PDP: Into beer?

Dr. Spengler: Beer. Boil that 11,000 acre-feet of water with some tasty sprouted barley, add a bit of hops, and voila, you’ve got a product that can really put Stinkwater Springs on the map. Back in the days of the American Revolution, everyone knew that beer was safer to drink than water. Even children drank it. And it pretty much funded the Revolutionary effort. The British Army was drinking American-made beer.

PDP: Seems like an idea that would require a lot of beer bottles.

Dr. Spengler: Well, no. You wouldn’t bottle it. You’d simply add a third tap to everyone’s sink. Hot. Cold. And Beer.

Can you imagine the national press we’d be getting? The community would blossom like a hops vine in summer. It’d be a revolutionary step towards Making America Great Again.

PDP: Or, at least, Making America Happy Again.

Dr. Spengler: I’ll drink to that.

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Louis Cannon

Underrated writer Louis Cannon grew up in the vast American West, although his ex-wife, given the slightest opportunity, will deny that he ever grew up at all.