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Suffering from bloodletting at the pumps

By Bill English

IN THE GLORIOUS '60s, when I was in college, I once sold a pint of my blood to fill the gas tank of my Volkswagen Bug. There's nothing exotic about my personal plasma; it's the diesel fuel of life fluids. But even my humble type-O fetched around $4 on the open market.

More than enough to top off the 10-gallon tank of my Beetle.

Remember when gas cost 30 cents a gallon? When you could actually fill 'er up for a pint a blood?

Well, you can kiss those days goodbye. Not even a massive reverse transfusion is going to get you to Tahoe now. You could give up every drop of blood in your body and still not make it to the video store under the present regime.

" . . . For the times they are a changin' . . ."

A call to the Blood Bank of the Redwoods confirmed my worst fears. While the cost of gas in Sonoma County is going through the roof, blood isn't worth a plug nickel. OK, the nice lady at the blood bank did say if I opened a vein I'd get some juice and a cookie. And maybe a blood bank T-shirt.

But forget about any hard cash.

Of course, there's always the heartwarming knowledge that I'd be doing something wonderful for others. Maybe I'd even be saving someone's life. But there's no way I'd be driving the Yugo on bodily fluids.

Once again a last resort has been snatched from us.

The bottom line is that mere blood isn't enough to get you gas anymore. Oh no, the greedy corporate powers that be have gone way beyond simple bloodsucking. The ruthless oil companies are feasting on our eternal souls with their beady eyes fixed firmly on our first-born.

These bums are out for more than blood. They want to drive us insane!

Wake up and smell the fumes--there's a war going on!

SOMEWHERE, fat cats with Pennzoil pompadours are sitting around smoking Cuban cigars the size of baseball bats while they laugh their butts off about how they're gouging those weirdoes in Northern California.

I'm offended by their arrogance.

The time has come for some serious outrage. We've got to rethink this regional fuel-reaming and come up with some drastic, hardball solutions. And I'm not talking about driving by the pumps every other Tuesday.

No, we've got to protect ourselves.

Unfortunately, most of us here in Sonoma County like to think we're mellow beings, we are the enlightened consumers of the universe. We don't like to get too upset about the small things that occur on this unruly planet. We prefer to bury our heads in the compost pit and keep it all organic. We're too refined to deal with refineries. Big Oil boys are not whom we care to mingle with.

Not even in court.

But these people are messing with our right to drive--and, with the inflationary nature of transportation costs, our livelihoods. I've actually seen grown men weeping at the gas pumps as their SUVs inhale their weekly lunch money. You can hear the poor bastards' stomach growl as the fossil fuel spills into their gas tank.

But hey, the big dog eats first.

And when the big dog is a monster Chevy Suburban chowing down on $1.95 a gallon premium, the little dog is doomed to starve behind the wheel. Let's face it people, your blood is worth next to nothing--and your cars are eating better than you are.

I've got no intention of paying almost $2 a gallon for gas when your average Texan is getting it for a buck. Maybe it's time for another raid on the Alamo.

Back those oil rig monkeys right up against the border. Where the hell is John Wayne when you really need him? All right, pilgrim, let's circle those station wagons. Get the electric ones right out there in front.

Now charge those sum bitches with everythin' you've got.

What d'ya mean, you forgot to plug in the Honda?

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From the August 5-11, 1999 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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