An answer in need of a problem

Remember the Anthrax scare in late 2001? Everyone was on edge from 9/11 and suddenly mail laced with concentrated Anthrax spores showed up all over the country, killing five people and infecting 17 others. After 7 years of investigations, the FBI recently declared who probably did it: Dr. Bruce Ivins, senior biodefence research scientist, publisher of 44 scientific papers and one of the key developers of the Anthrax vaccine. He’d spent his whole life studying the weaponized form of the bacteria. He must have been deeply discouraged that it had never been unleashed in any kind of attack. It turns out all his knowledge and services was never to be in demand. All that work down the drain, so to speak.

It reminds me of another poem by Billy Collins:


Smokey the Bear heads
into the autumn woods
with a red can of gasoline
and a box of wooden matches.

His ranger’s hat is cocked
at a disturbing angle.

His brown fur gleams
under the high sun
as his paws, the size
of catcher’s mitts,
crackle into the distance.

He is sick of dispensing
warnings to the careless,
the half-wit camper,
the dumbbell hiker.

He is going to show them
how a professional does it.