American Excess

This is just disgusting. I may not be able to actually write this one, but I’ll certainly try. People cry and moan about rising fuel costs, and continue to buy bigger vehicles (for individual use, I might add), and they will continue to justify it by saying that they cannot achieve comfort in a smaller vehicle. I have a couple of crackpot theories that I’d like to share with you, and a couple of solutions to this problem and others. NOTE: Please pardon my lack of slick HTML’n, but I’m just not gifted with coding. We shall try to address this issue, but just bear with me for the time being.

I’m sure that everyone who reads this is familiar with the concept of “Supply and Demand.” It’s not such a difficult concept. When there is a finite supply of a commodity, and people consume more of it than they used to, the price goes up. It is a true, proven, fact that vehicles are getting bigger and more fuel hungry. I will use this reference to illustrate this: “article” The bottom line is this: If you people keep on buying cars (trucks) that are gas-gusslers, and keep on driving them many miles per year, the cost of fuel will keep rising. If we could reduce gasoline consumption by 20%, as per CAFE standards (click here) of the EPA, we could operate on domestic oil only, and artificially drive down the price of fuel by not consuming expensive, foreign oil. So, according to this, all we have to do is drive smaller, more efficient vehicles in order to pay less for gasoline. And, let’s pretend for a minute that everyone is on board with this idea, and we are all striving for more fuel-efficient vehicles, car-pooling, and shorter daily commutes. What we discover is that our savings is disproportionately high in comparison to the difference in our actual fuel consumption. That’s because the demand has gone down, oil importation has gone down, and gas is cheaper. Now, I understand that some people need to drive a truck to support their livelihood. Work trucks should not be included in this equation, if there is no way to avoid driving a truck. As to many others, “But, I just can’t get comfortable in a small car,” you say…

Next, I will submit for your approval, my crackpot theory that links car sales with fitness. People can’t get comfortable in a little car because they are fat. Ideal BMI (Body Mass Index) for an adult is between 18.5 and 24.9 (see how fat you should be), versus the national average in the US of 26+ (see how fat people actully are). Apparently, 63% of Americans are overweight with a BMI of 25+, and 31% are technically obese with a BMI in excess of 30 (click here, if you want to. You know you want to, you dirty freak!). I mean, holy crap! No wonder we can’t drive little cars! Our big, fat butts won’t fit in the little seats! Ouch! That kind of stings! According to the data on that last link, this is a rapidly increasing problem (seems to be proportional to the number of larger-car sales). I actually looked up my ideal BMI at this website: see how fat you are, and it turns out that I am in fact 3-lbs overweight. Most people that I know thinks I’m really skinny. What does that say about them?

Now, the next question is this: Why are we getting fatter as a society? Could it be because of the lack of exercise, or the unrealistic proportions of our food? When was the last time you went into a restaurant and bought a human-sized meal? If there was too much food, did you still eat it all? How many hours a week do you spend sleeping, sitting at a desk, or watching TV? By comparison, how many hours did you spend exercising? There’s nothing wrong with going for a bike ride, swim, walk, etc. Or is it because of the quality of food? In a two-income household, it’s usually just easier to warm up some frozen dinners or hit McD’s instead of cooking food made from ingredients. Please pause to reflect on that last sentence for a moment.
In fact, I believe that it’s all of these things.

Now, for my crackpot twist. I think that the terrorists hate us to the degree that they do because of our gross excess. Sure, they may dislike us because we’re a predominantly Christian country, and we control such a huge chunk of the world’s wealth. But to wave it in their faces with our gigantic portions of food which we store on our thighs and guts, and then accommodate by getting larger, less efficient vehicles, out of convenience, and let’s face it, laziness; I believe that this is what infuriates them. Well, that and our ridiculous “celebrities.”

Now for my unprecedented solution: Let’s gather up everyone who drives a long commute solo, in a large vehicle, because they think it’s “cool,” or it makes them feel “safe.” I’m not even going to go into the fact that they are deliberately sacrificing the safety of others for their false sense of security. We’re gathering these people up, so it’s not really an issue anymore. Along with these people, let’s bring in Paris Hilton, Kato Kaelin, and everyone else who is famous for no apparent reason, or by no talent of their own. Let’s take this group of people and send them to the terrorists. Come on! They are the reason that we are getting bugged by these terrorists! Let’s give them what they want! It will reduce the cost of fuel by taking so many inefficient vehicles off the road, inspire domestic economic growth by lowering the price of fuel, reduce the cost of health care, by taking the obesity load off of the medical industy, and make it safer to be an American!

And then, for the second wave in my attack on terrorism: If the above method proves to not work on the terrorists, let’s gather up all the Bush-haters who want to pull our troops out, and give them what they want. Let’s bring all the U. S. troops home, and replace them with the liberals. That way, they can go on some kind of creepy “Love Campaign” against the terrorists and see how well that works. Then, we’ll be able to do away with excessive welfare, and avoid becoming a communist country, effectively control our borders, and continue in our war on terrorism. Besides that, those guys are practically volunteering for a job like this. It’s not that I want to see them slaughtered. Quite the contrary, I will wish them the best of luck! If they make friends with the terrorists, and come back safely, I will tip my hat to them and regard their crackpot theories a little more closely.

You know, I should probably expound on that last paragraph. This has been one rant that has just drifted into another one completely. Maybe that can be my next blog entry…

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4 thoughts on “American Excess

  1. Well said, Michael! I love you so much because you are so smart and intelligent and good-looking! I’m proud to say that I’m your biggest fan!

  2. Michael, I wish it were as easy as you say. I drive a full-size mini-van that was purchased used in 2001, when gas was about $1.25/gal. At the time, I had three young children who had school, piano lessons, and swim practice. I also shuttled the kids of those not fortunate enough to have a mom who stayed at home. I had to have something to haul around 5-6 kids and their athletic equipment.

    Now that the kids are older, and I work full-time (a 25-mile commute one-way, which is much shorter than that of most other people in my area), I would love to have a smaller, more efficient car with better handling, but the reality is that our household income now is about 1/3 of what it was in 2001. We can’t move (we own, and in today’s soft real estate market we’d lose our shirt in a sale–that is, if we could find a buyer). Car pooling is also not an option because I travel in the opposite direction of most commuters in my area (I go SW, they go E).

    The thing is, ever since the day that crude went above $30/bbl, the oil in the Athabasca Sands in Alberta, Canada became profitable. There is enough oil there to take care of our needs as they are today for generations. We could deal with the Canadians and tell OPEC to go fly today, but we won’t. I’d quit complaining about $3/gal gas forever if I knew the Canucks were getting it instead of the terrorists in the Middle East and Venezuela.

    Why don’t we just deal with Canada????

    “That, Detective, is the proper question.”

  3. CatSpringGinny,

    Let me clarify a couple of points here. Your minivan is not a rapper-style, chromed-out status symbol. Nor did you get it because your butt was too big to fit in the seat of a Corolla. It was the vehicle that best suited your needs when you purchased it, and that’s a different story altogether. I would never group you or someone in your situation in with the mindless money-throwers and lazy bastards that infest my home town.

    Your minivan is certainly getting far better fuel mileage than an Escalade or an H2, and it is a far more practical vehicle, to boot. Granted, if I were in your current position, and no longer needed a vehicle of that size, I would be thinking about trading in the old girl on a nice, used Civic or something. But, then again, a cargo-friendly hauler always comes in handy in the oddest of situations, and if she’s proved herself a reliable vehicle, and is paid off, it is not necessarily feasible to just switch to a smaller car.

    As for Canada, eh? Indeed, if we could strike a deal with The Hat of The U. S. A. to pull the crude out of the sand, and vice-versa, I would feel much better about the $3.00+/gal prices. When I was stating conditions for the Campaign Against Terrorism in my blog, I should have clarified that I meant the conditions not in an either/or way, but in a multiplicative way. As in, IF you are driving a car too big for your needs, AND you are taking a horribly long commute (despite your best efforts), AND you are not carpooling (out of personal convenience although the opportunity is there), BUT your big truck is a gas-guzzling status symbol, OR it is nothing more than a 6500-lb, steel security blanket, THEN you should be shipped overseas.

    Which, the funny part there, is that a status symol is nothing more than a security blanket in and of itself, once you get down to it. The people that absolutely must have their status symbol obviously don’t feel that they, as people, are very presentable on their own.

    No, Ginny. I don’t think that you are driving your minivan because it makes you look or feel better or more powerful. I think you purchased it because it was the right vehicle at the time, and then got stuck with it because of events that you could not foresee. And, that would be the big difference there. As you said, you would far prefer to have a lighter, more efficient, and more nimble car, but you can’t right now. In my book, that makes you okay, exempt, and undeserving of any above said judgment.

    Besides that, I’m just blowing some steam in my blog. I hope you find it entertaining, and I hope that I didn’t offend you too badly here. Thanks for the thoughts.

  4. No offense taken, littermate! The freedom to discuss and debate on an intelligent level is a privilege of ours that we are in danger of losing from lack of use. I am very grateful for people like you who facilitate the exercizing of our 1st Amendment rights in a civilized manner!

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