Jeff Vrabel: Tony Hayward plays while BP destroys the Gulf

Jeff Vrabel

Reader(s) may be shocked to learn this, but I have never been CEO of a major company, at least as far as the federal government is concerned (and if any of those vultures are reading, let me reiterate my assertion that VrabelCorp LLC is strictly a Bangladeshi music-teaching non-profit with absolutely no ties to the pirated-DVD market, and I don't even know why you're looking at me like that). While we're on the subject, I've never been the CEO of a small company, or a mid-sized company; frankly, whenever I end up accidentally in charge of something, that thing basically has about 25 minutes left before it becomes a smoldering crater in the dirt. 

And yet even if I were, say, dealing in bootlegs of "Marmaduke" that originated in the Eastern markets, I'd still remain Jean-Luc Picard compared to Tony Hayward, the “CEO” of BP, which has poured what appears to be Magic Shell all over America's birds in the past few months via a plucky little exploded well that just WILL NOT STOP GURSHING OIL INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO, no matter how not-hard they sort-of try things that will probably not work because they've never been tried because no one evidently planned for a well that WOULD NOT STOP GURSHING OIL INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO. On the one hand, they've sort of ingeniously created a Mobius Strip of convoluted and deeply deserved blame; on the other, they've made it so that shrimp in 2016 will cost about $42,000 a pound.

Luckily for those of us who write humor because it's less time-intensive than hand-scrubbing pelicans with toothbrushes — which is less fun than it sounds like, even if the pelicans are wearing funny costumes — most of the people involved on the BP side of things here are … well, what's the word for self-aware gaffe machines whose seeming every utterance is so forehead-slappingly disengaged that you cannot help but think wonder if they are perhaps from some division of the multinational oil conglomerate that also runs the carnival?

For instance, take the case of the charmingly oblivious Hayward, who told the Times of London that Americans were probably going to bother his company with loads of bogus insurance claims and memorably whimpered that he wanted "(his) life back," setting off fury and outrage among those on the Gulf Coast who have human hearts, spent last weekend at a yacht race, because when he typed his name and "massive oil spill damage control" into the Unbelievable Metaphor Machine, the first thing that came up was "crashing a burning, fully loaded container ship into a free fisherman's benefit put on by manatees and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band," and he didn't want to be a total jerk, so instead he went to A YACHT RACE, because it was the wanker-est thing he could think of that didn't involve tucking his polo into his khaki shorts, which I cannot imagine also didn't happen.

Anyway, Hayward, who, to be fair, was likely exhausted by his weeks of miserable failure, took a breather last Saturday to watch his 52-foot yacht, which cost $700,000 and bears the actual name of "Bob," participate in a rich-person race off the Isle of Wight, which is in England, which the grad students in the audience may recognize as being nowhere remotely near the Gulf of Mexico. Upon learning this, a good number of people, and by that I mean those born with a soul, went a little nuts. (For their part, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden chose to appeal to the searing rage of the nation by simply spending part of the weekend golfing, because no one in the world apparently realizes how they look to everyone else in the world.)

But BP spokespeople, of whom there are still a few, if you can believe it, said it was the first day off for Hayward since the explosion, which brings to mind a question: Let's say, hypothetically, that a pump exploded in your basement, filling in with, just pulling a number out here, 6 feet of fetid, Cocoa Pebbles milk-colored water. Let's also say that water was bubbling, smelled like a very elderly egg-based appetizer and was also rising at the rate of one foot per six hours. Let's assume further that parts of that water was on fire, and your dogs were underwater, along with all of your food, everyone in your book club. Estimating conservatively, how many days off would you take to attend the symphony? 

Jeff Vrabel is saddened to report that "Bob" did not win the race; though if you'd like to talk about your shared disappointed you can reach him at http://jeffvrabel.comor follow him at