Tar, Feathers in Congaree: Hot Fun in the Summertime!
As The State reported yesterday, “a gooey tar-like substance” has been discovered at the bottom of the Congaree River near the Gervais Street Bridge. At this point, no one is sure exactly what the substance is, though that hasn’t stopped folks from putting forth theories, many of them highly plausible.
Several local sleuths shared their opinions yesterday at the riverfront park amphitheater, just a few yards from where the strange and unsettling black goo was first discovered.
“I heard it’s something they manufacture up at the chicken plant,” said Riley Beason, a former West Columbia councilwoman who enjoys long walks by the river, chicken salad sandwiches and picnicking downwind from Columbia Farms.
“It’s some sort of tar-and-feather concoction they sell when breast meat futures drop,” she told The Bug between bites of her sandwich. “I also heard somebody say they dumped it out of the fryers over at Eggroll Station. Either way, it’s probably delicious.”
“I never seen nothing like that, but could be it’s possible,” said Darius Monteith, who works at Columbia Farms and was sporting the waist-high rubber boots to prove it.
Wendell Degraw Jr., of Cayce, was of a different mind.
“It’s supposed to be this whole area was at one time some sort of tar pit, like what they had out in California, where the dinosaurs were supposed to be, according to some heretics,” offered Degraw.
“Not what I heard,” said J.C. Canady, who stopped off to investigate the scene after tubing down from the rapids at Riverbanks Zoo.
“Everybody up at the Rapids say it was dumped in there by the Democrats to direct more tax dollars to the E.P.A.,” Canady told the Bug from behind mirrored shades and 22-ounce Budweiser. “Now I don’t know if that’s true, but it would make sense, what with what’s going on up in Washington these days. I mean, it’s either that, or it’s got something to do with the Lizard Man, one.”
Of course, there’s also another possible explanation for the mysterious substance—albeit one slightly less plausible than the others thus far posited.
“Maybe it’s from when they were resurfacing Meeting Street this week,” said Billy Merriweather, an eight-year-old Leaphart Elementary School student who came to collect water samples for a summer camp science fair project. “If you take a whiff you can still smell it on the air. They just finished this morning.”
Indeed, under the nauseating, antibiotic smell of beaks, feathers and rotting chicken flesh, one could still make out the distinct, tarry odor of fresh tar. Tarry black dribbles could also be seen running down the concrete pilings of the Gervais Street Bridge.
A USC student who had braved the 100-degree temperatures to go jogging thought the kid might be onto something and tried to support his theory that the tar-like substance was in fact tar, but passed out from heat stroke before she could fully make her case. Anyway, the majority of the sweat-drenched onlookers were too fixated on their own notions to give the youngster’s dubious theory much credence.
“Could it be it’s related to the BP oil spill in the Gulf?” asked longtime Mill Village resident Hiram Waddell. “I mean, it could be, couldn’t it? It seems like a awful big coincidence if it ain’t. It coulda come straight downstream from New Orleans.”
Several people present picked up this line of reasoning and ran with it. Within ten minutes, they had successfully connected the sudden appearance of the tarry black substance in the Congaree River to health care reform, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the federal bank bailout and the immigration policy currently being discussed by the Obama Administration.
DHEC has yet to confirm any of these theories but is reportedly running tests.
–Posted by Kara Little