What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Cold Turkey

Diverting large quantities of carbohydrates and investing billions of our hard earned dollars into research and development has failed to quell our dependence on foreign oil or have any discernible impact on our oil consumption habits. We still shell out for gasoline like booze before the prohibition and guzzle the stuff like a lineman drinks Gatorade.

Do I really need to convince you all that gas is expensive and it "ain't gettin' any cheaper no time soon," as a particularly eloquent commentator explained our situation. If you aren't convinced, run outside to your local filling station and look at the price posted by the pump. If you live within 7,926.41 miles of my house, you will see the price is out of hand. Actually it was out of hand a year ago; now it's out of this world.

Still not convinced? Try walking up to the minimum wage compensated attendant and ask if s/he can cut you a deal. Explain that you are a student strapped for cash or that you just want to stick it to the Saudis. Tell the gas station employee that you want to make a political statement and start buying your fuel less expensively. Ask whether the attendant can help you in this effort by giving you a $1/gallon discount and close the pitch with your best Bob The Tomato smile.

I've tried it a few times. The reaction is either a blank stare followed by a 911 phone call or a response in some Middle Eastern language in a tone that promises a future 911 call. Either way, I am encouraged to shut up and let my pocketbook be gouged.

Oil prices have been linked to all manner of negative impacts. When oil prices rise, we have to spend more on fuel to maintain our current driving habits and have less money to spend on other things. This reduces our overall consumption which means we buy less candy which, in turn, causes General Irritability (GI), a condition that induces such varied and extreme symptoms as increased unemployment, rising suicide and divorce rates and more consumption of such damaging social instruments as alcohol, cigarettes and television. In extreme cases, General Irritability can cause extreme sensation seeking, explosive anger and, yes, even road rage (not to be confused with Road Rash [CAUTION DISTURBING], although that is probably another impact of elevated GI)

You think I'm making this all up, but check it out; it's all in the research. A few years ago, a law was passed to help reduce this General Irritability. Called the GI Bill, the new regulation called for candy drops (like the leaflet drops in Afghanistan (YouTube video below), only sweeter) to solve for the root cause of GI. The law was largely ineffective and found its only real support from the dentists lobby.

Publicly touted solutions to the "Oil Problem" have about as much currency as mercury-filled sandbags for flood prevention. We could invade Saudi Arabia, start drilling in the mountains of Canada or, God forbid, impinge on the breeding ground of the sacred Alaskan caribou (or are they Reindeer?). Since the tranquility of some snow mice in the frozen north is more important then the GI index, we get divorced and commit unholy sepuku whilst the polar bear lobby has delicious meals on K Street.

FCN will not stand by idly as our economy is thrown into a state of total disturbance. With the zero assumption that we are not powerless to halt the reign of oil over our finances, FCN hit the lab and assigned our crack(pot) researchers to developing a solution to this problem. After several hours, a carton of Red Bulls, a visit from a brownie laden Mommy G and a 911 call, we found the solution:

Go Cold Turkey.

Cold Turkey is, of course, a technical term for "just stop it, dang it!" The phrase's etymology takes us back to the days after the First Thanksgiving when the Pilgrim mothers (all four surviving moms, that is) brought out the leftovers from the big feast. At first the Pilgrims were excited to partake of the delicious turkey, until they discovered its temperature. Cold meat isn't nearly as good as the warm stuff, especially in the days before refrigeration. William Bradford is famous for shouting "Cold Turkey" as he overturned the thanksgiving table and threw away the leftovers, thus halting the celebration after three days. Alternate theories of etymology can be found here.

As I said, Go Cold Turkey. To stop consuming oil, all we need to do is, well, stop consuming it. Forget a holiday from gas taxes, let's have a holiday from consumption. Ditch your car wherever it runs out of fuel and start walking everywhere (or find a sucker who still buys gas and ask to borrow his wheels). Quit your job - you won't need to work when you don't have to pay for gas anymore - and become a hermit. Chillax in your own energy freedom.

While everyone else scurries around gobbling up oil, you will know who the real turkey is. And when that gets old, write us and tell us how it went.

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