A good friend[i]Phyllis is my high school sweetheart and life-long very special friend. once jokingly asked; “where does air come from”, suggesting that it might get used up by people breathing it all, and therefore needing to be replaced someday. Pondering momentarily, I answered as follows.
“That is a very difficult question because there are many kinds of air to be reckoned with. Hot air comes primarily from politicians and to a lesser degree from lawyers and salesmen. Since there are vastly more lawyers and salesmen in the Universe than politicians, it can be argued that their total contribution to global warming is comparable to that of politicians. At present, there is no hard evidence to substantiate this postulate, making it equally likely that the sum total of those three sources is comparable to that due to the decomposition of animal waste, in terms of volume and aroma.
It is also true that the air around Washington DC is considerably warmer than that of the surrounding countryside. This is undoubtedly a result of the hot air, and other bad gases being exhausted from government buildings. A similar weather effect has been reported around Sacramento, Portland, and a few other State capital cities.
Then there are “airs” of omission, which come principally from forgetfulness. When one intends to include something in their discussion, then forgets or purposely leaves out the most important part at the very last moment; that is called an “air” of omission.
“Airs” can also be caused by poor judgment and history is full of such “airs”. Napoleon “aired” by going to Russia in 1812 without checking the long-range weather forecast beforehand. Hitler made quite a number of “airs”, some of which detracted from his popularity toward the end of his political career, and Clinton “aired” through a misunderstanding about the proper use of a cigar .
“Legal Airs” are the people who get your “stuff” when you die. We trust them with our prized possessions, knowing that our “stuff” will be cared for as we would have cared for it ourselves. Anyone not having any of these “airs”, should adopt some right away because dying without them, means the State gets your “stuff” and the State already has too much stuff”.
There is a very uniquely “foul air” that emanates occasionally from a place where the “sun don’t shine” but that leads us back to the weather in Washington, D.C., plus, there are hits, runs, and “airs” but Yogi Berra has already covered that subject.”
A slightly more scientific view, albeit a less imaginative one, suggests that the regular old air that we breathe every day has been around for a long time, having originated by the outgassing from the interior of the Earth a few billion years ago. It has changed a lot as Earth has evolved, but today it is composed mostly of nitrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is used by animals, who in turn exhale carbon dioxide, which plants use to produce more oxygen. The amount of carbon dioxide has increased slightly in recent decades and some people think that 0.03% is too much because it tends to trap heat in the atmosphere and cause the average temperature to raise. We can deal with that in another chapter, but for now, let’s be content that there is enough oxygen to go around[ii]Yes; including the aforementioned politicians, lawyers, and salesmen..