Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Like a lot of people I imagine that a robber is some masked individual with a gun taking my riches--sort of like Yosemite Sam in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons.  Well, maybe not quite like Yosemite Sam, but at least wearing a mask and carrying a big gun.  The truth is though, I have never actually been robbed in the classic sense--no one has ever held me up.  Up in my mind I have encountered a few robbers over the span of my life, but instead of a mask and a big gun they are out in plain sight and hide behind a cash register or fancy Madison Avenue advertising.

In the last couple of weeks the robbers I have encountered and being losing my riches to are the big oil companies that sell gasoline.  In the past two weeks gas prices have risen a whopping fifty cents--usually jumping up a dime at a time--from $2.95/gallon to $3.45/gallon.  It took nearly six months for gas prices to get below $3.00/gallon only dropping pennies a week, and only two weeks to see all of that disappear.  Which confuses me . . . confuses me because I thought that we consumers had reduced our consumption for the crude by nearly twenty percent over the past year or two . . . confuses me because the world demand for the crude has gone down . . . confuses me because there is an abundance of crude available at the present time . . . and confuses me because despite the dip in prices in the past six months, the oil companies still showed ungodly profits.  Why in the world are gas prices skyrocketing out of control to new heights and depths in my pockets?  Something smells and it isn't just the two oil refineries in our area.

This feels like robbery--plain and simple.  The oil companies continue to rake in outrageous profits while everyone else hasn't seen a raise in income in years.  There is something morally wrong about this, but it is the American Way--it is the law of economics, which is the American Way.  On those grounds it is hard to argue with what is going on because that is just good business, or so I have been told.  But when is enough enough?  How much profit does one need?  This is greed . . . and it is scary.

It is scary because of the "domino effect".  Rising gas costs make other things rise in price.  The food that we eat will rise in price.  Household goods will increase in price.  Travel will increase.  Services will increase.  Life will become more and more expensive to live as the dominoes start to fall--where will it all end?  Probably when most of us are in the poor house . . . and that is scary.  Scary because we are living in shaky times and the prospects of the poor growing in population is very real.  As I see it, this is robbery all for the sake of greed.

One blogger who writes for website Money Crashers--Your Guide to Financial Fitness offers several solutions for the rising cost of gas.  Heather Levin recommends the following:

1. Switch to a high MPG car.  Seems like a good idea if I could afford one.  Remember this is big business and the American Way that we are dealing with--economic reality.  High mileage cars are suddenly going to be in demand and the prices for them are going to shoot to the moon.  If I can't afford the gas how in the world am I going to afford the car?

2. Find alternate ways to heat your home.  She suggest putting in a wood stove as one way to combat rising prices in crude.  Well, I need wood to burn.  The wood is in the forest on the mountain about a half-hour from my home which means I have to drive my truck.  My truck runs on gas.  Gas cost money.  Seems like a vicious circle--sort of like running in place.  It feels like your going somewhere but you are not!  Besides I kind of like the trees in the forest.  Domino Effect on this one.

3. Grow your own food.  This one won't work.  I have a brown thumb and gardening experiments in the past have ended badly--we would starve if we had to rely upon my agricultural skills.  It is sort of like fishing.  I do my fishing at the Red Lobster or Long John Silvers!  My food comes from the local grocery store where someone else has grown it.

4. Buy some food in bulk.  Most of the bulk of food hangs over my belt.  The bulk food sellers in our area are 45 minutes away by car.  The car takes gas.  Gas costs money.  Domino effect anyone?  Besides the wife once bought oatmeal in bulk and we had everything and anything oatmeal for months!  I can only eat so many oatmeal raisin cookies!  Which seems to correlate with the sudden bulk slumping over the belt.

5. Learn how to can your own food.  Heck, I just learned how to open a can of food.  Now I am suppose to learn how to can my own food!  I don't think so!

6. Walk, take public transportation, or ride a bike.  It is difficult to walk to work when work is nearly 40 miles from where I live, but I do enjoy walking.  Walking is good for you--makes sense if you are not a commuter, but it would increase the shoe budget by quite a bit.  Probably wouldn't save much if I was having to replace shoes every couple of months.  Public transportation--what is that?  Is that the same thing as bumming a ride with the neighbor?  There is not a lot of public transportation in a town of 600.  Ride a bike--sounds like exercise.  Good idea but lets get real--this is Montana.  Nine months of winter, one month of rain, and two months of beautiful weather. 

I guess I am going to have to face reality and accept the fact that I am just going to continue to get robbed.  Gas prices are going to continue to sprint towards that five dollar prediction everyone is talking about.  My wallet is going to continue to grow slimmer and the ol' bank account is going to shrink.  That retirement fund I have in the bank has now become the family gas fund--there will be no retirement for me.  I will have to work just to put gas in the car.  Yeah, it torques me off.  Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me.  And, yeah, I could be totally off base with everything that I have written . . . but, you know what?  It just feels good to complain.  Plus I know I am not the only one who feels this way.  I know that there are a lot of others who feel the same way.  This is not an exclusive club.  We all know robbery when it happens and this is definitely robbery.  At least when Yosemite Sam robs you you can laugh--he's a cartoon character.  When big oil does it there is nothing to laugh at.  The least they could do is wear a mask.

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