Don’t believe me? Read this.
A third of the country is underwater and tomatoes will make you vomit your own poop. Man, it’s high-time to get the hell out of here.
(Voice of Satan): “You can’t afford to fill your gas tank, and you will sit for days at the airport with not so much as a bottle of water, because security will take it away from you. But go ahead and try to leave. Kill time by shopping at that shitty overpriced bookstore that only sells People magazines and Tony Robbins motivational cassettes. Hungry? Have a six-dollar muffin! There is no escape! Bwahahahahahaha!”
I put a gallon of gas in the car last week. Payday was still 10 days away so I only had five bucks. As I went to put the gas cap back on, I accidentally made eye contact with another guy who was fueling up.
“This used to be a good place to buy gas,” he sighed. We exchanged a look that’s usually reserved for the funeral of a distant relative — dejected resignation. “It’s really sad, but what are you going to do?”
You know that bumper sticker, “Grass, Gas, or Ass. No One Rides For Free”? You know things have gotten bad when you’re sitting behind that guy in traffic and instead of thinking, “douchebag,” you’re thinking, “Well, that makes sense. What do his friends expect? That he’s going to just drive them all over town willy nilly? Buncha freeloaders.”
Eight years ago, when that guy went to pick up his date, the girl would receive a long lecture from her father on the order of, “I don’t want you seeing that boy. He’s no good. He has no respect for anybody, and he obviously doesn’t respect you.”
Now the girl’s dad’s saying, “That kid has a good head on his shoulders. Excellent business sense. I think he’s a keeper. See if you can talk him down to a handy. He’s going places.”
One of those ginormous monster SUVs cut me off in traffic the other day, setting off one of the most artistic, eloquent, and deeply-rooted-in-high-school-economics barrages of obscenity I’ve ever mustered. The gist was something like, “You selfish fucker! It’s bad enough you can’t use your turn signal, but you’re driving one of those unnecessary, wasteful machines that’s increasing the demand and lowering the supply, thus driving up the price! Cocksucker!”
Then I saw the “Iraq veteran” sticker on his bumper and shrugged. “Well, at least he fought for it.”
I think Iraqi war veterans should get free gas for life and it should be paid for out of the personal bank accounts of key Bush administration members.
I suppose the upcoming election should make me hopeful, but none of the candidates are using the words “George W. Bush” and “guillotine” in the same sentence yet.
(Note to Secret Service: I’M ONLY KIDDING! I have deep philosophical convictions against killing people, whether the killing is legally sanctioned by the fall of a gavel or otherwise. It’s just that “guillotine” was less ambiguous than “the stocks” because stocks can refer to those things sold on Wall Street, which a presidential candidate might actually mention, but what I really would have meant are those two boards where you put the prisoner’s head and hands through and lock him in, so the general public has the opportunity to walk by and shout curses at him, throw rotten eggs and salmonella tomatoes, or give him a good swift kick in the ass. That would be more fun anyway, come to think of it. Right there on the National Mall, in the shadow of the Washington Monument, or maybe over by the reflecting pool near the Vietnam War Memorial. Poetic, indeed, but see how many more words that took? Suffice it to say, if that happened I’d sit on the tarmac for up to a full week to take my vacation to D.C. Besides, they have pandas at the National Zoo, and my daughter would just love that. The point is, I do NOT actually wish the president death or even permanent disablement. I just want to give him a titty twister.)
Even when Bush leaves office it won’t be the last we’ve heard of him. Traditionally, every president gets his memoir published. It’s just too bad the title, “If I Did It, Here’s What Happened,” is already taken.
Sorry if all that sounds bitter. I’m trying to look at the bright side of it all, and here’s what I’ve come up with:
Four dollars a gallon is just a free-market solution to global warming. Recent reports my father-in-law claimed to have heard on the news show that Americans have collectively reduced their travel by some 40 billion miles.
Come back, polar bears! Everything’s going to work out!
Why hasn’t the White House and Fox News started sharing this wonderful new perspective on things? Why isn’t there a sign on every gas pump explaining this, like the signs at IKEA that explain that they only hire a handful of unhelpful assholes so they can keep prices low?
My guess is for the neo-cons and oil companies to take on that perspective, they’d have to acknowledge that global warming exists.
Here’s another ray of optimism for you: I wouldn’t be surprised to find out people are starting to find their proverbial last straw broken. For a lot of people, it’s starting to feel like they’re just going to work to buy gas so they can go back to work. Once that feeling catches on and spreads like a virus, people will quit going, and when their boss calls to see where they are, the reasons are going to sound absurd.
Like, out of the almost 300 million people living in America today, at least one guy really liked tomatoes. Like, that was his way of treating himself for working so hard — every Sunday, he would sit down with a ripe, red, round, succulent, juicy tomato and he would savor it. It wasn’t much, but it was the thing that kept him going.
And a couple weeks ago he went to the store and, “What the fuck do you mean there’s no tomatoes today!? Why do I even bother! Fuck it! I’m staying home! You got any tomato seeds?”
And after three days of no one at the office hearing from him, his boss called.
“Oh, no. I’m fine. I just decided to stay home and work in my garden. Yeah, forever. Should be a pretty good crop. All organic. Hey listen, do you have any butter you can trade me? I’ve fallen way behind in my churning.”
And that’s how we’ll all become Amish again, but we’ll be the most technologically advanced Amish people the world has ever seen. You’ll spend four hours churning butter to take to the guy who shod your mule, but before you ride your bicycle all the way over there, you’ll text him to make sure he’s home.
That actually excites me — like we’ll renew our vows with ole Mother Earth.
(This is why you don’t mix metaphors, kids. See that last sentence, I have us married to our mother. Yuck.)
I’m taking up a couple new hobbies in preparation for this new technoprimitive society. Today, I started my garden. For now, it is but a lonely, potted jalapeño pepper plant, but I have dreams of expanding so it takes up my whole back yard and has a miniature golf course through the middle of it, so I can pick and play.
If only I hadn’t started so late in the season.
Also, I intend to start practicing with a boomerang so I can hunt small game. Why not a rifle? Because in a pinch, I don’t know how to make bullets. But I have a pretty good idea how to make sandpaper. Plus, I’m pretty sure the game warden’s not checking for boomerang hunting licenses. I’ll have to check, but I’m pretty sure the guy at Cabela’s is going to answer me with a weird look when I ask to buy one. So there’s, like, $20 I just saved, which will keep me going back to work for half a week.
Todd Merriman is a standup comedian. He lives just outside Austin, TX, with his daughter Ava and his babymama Erin. Todd will be opening for Brian Posehn (Just Shoot Me, Mr. Show, Comedians of Comedy) at Cap City Comedy Club in Austin, TX, on Aug. 7, 8 and 9. Call (512) 467-2333 for details.