The Ballad of Bill Ballas (An unwitting tour of our polluted air)

There once was a man named Bill Ballas. He came from a town called Dallas. He was 6′ 9”, his demeanor was kind, and he had brownish/blueish/greenish eyes. In high school he was a gentleman as well as a scholar, an athlete as well as a student, a man as well as a woman. He led his football team to the state championship without ever playing in a game. He was simply so supportive from the sidelines that his team felt invincible and performed at super-human levels. He played libero for the varsity girls volleyball team, where he won the “unafraid to seriously injure oneself by diving headfirst into the hardwood floor” award all 4 years. He was renowned for his ability to pick up foreign languages, even those spoken by rodents or plants. He was also super sexy, or so the ladies would say, and I have heard he made out with at least every girl in Texas, possibly more. Yes siree bob, Bill Ballas had life by the balls.

After killing it in his high school days, Bill Ballas went on to Stanford University where he majored in tomfoolery and minored in firm handshakes (two of the university’s more renowned programs). He graduated in a very accelerated 14 minutes, and decided to apply his talents to the art of nude photography. He set out on a quest to fill his cameras with as many naked bodies from as many different places as possible. So travel he did.

He traveled to Delhi, India, home of the world’s largest wholesale spice market. Here he accidentally stumbled upon a Bollywood film set and somehow got a role in the film. In one day became an Indian superstar, known as (a loose translation) “Love foot.” Anyone who’s not Indian apparently will never get it.

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Real-time air pollution map of IndiaDelhi: Most polluted city in the world

Bill dropped by Beijing, where the most popular surname is “Wang.” This is nothing new for a nude photographer, however, as he sees hundreds of wangs every day. What he did enjoy however, was the Peking Duck. He thought it could use a little tarragon though, and made his own new recipe: The Poking Duck. The Chinese went wild, proclaiming him a National Hero alongside Mao Zedong, IP man, and the guy who invented those genius little take-out boxes.

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Air in Beijing exceeds 20 times World Health Organization “safe levels”

After all the wangs, Bill wanted to get some R and R in the sun. He headed down to Mexico City, the city some call “screwed” because it’s constantly sinking into Lake Texcoco beneath it, to get his cerveza on. He drank margaritas, did the macarena, and met some dude named el Chapo. He was a rotund jolly looking fellow, and Bill couldn’t figure out why he was called “El Chapo,” so Bill gave him some Burts Bees and went about his life.

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Real-time map air pollution in Mexico City

His adventures didn’t stop there, however, oh no. He also visited places like Karachi in Pakistan, Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Khorramabad in Iran.

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Indeed, Bill Ballas went all over the world taking extremely tasteful photos of extremely naked people. And by golly he was good at it too. No matter what culture his subject was from, he always found a way to reflect their culture as well as their personal identity even in their birthday suits.

One day though, Bill got a call that his sister was throwing a 40th birthday party in memory  of her cat who has murdered by jihadists. This was a serious occasion, so Bill dropped everything and flew to her house in the city of angels: Los Angeles, California U.S. of A.los-angels-pollution-400x400

When he landed in LA, however, Bill felt funny. He had a nasty cough, and his heart felt heavy. His breathing wasn’t strained, but it felt bad. He was tired very easily, and he became light-headed at random intervals. Bill was indomitable though, so he paid it no mind.

It was a Saturday when he died of a massive heart attack.

A week later his family found out what caused his heart inflammation and cardiac arrest. They held a funeral celebrating all of Bill’s amazing feats, his love of nude photography, and his ability to make friends with the entire world.

But no matter how special and unique Bill Ballas from Dallas was as a person, he was just another one out of 7 million who die every year from air pollution.