I’ve got a plan…
You see, I’ve lately been a guy who hedges on my gasoline purchases:
If I see a gas station selling a gallon for $3.67, I’ll put in twenty dollars worth, hoping to get through next Tuesday, when the price might go down. Either that, or I will place my trust in the forlorn hope that, seventy miles further down the road, in the general direction of my day’s business, is a filling station selling it for $3.65. So, I’m forever driving around with about an eighth of a tank of gas.
I’ve forgotten what a luxury a full tank of gas is.
Why do I do this? Why am I so parsimonious with the fuel? Why don’t I just fill ‘er up, like in the old days of $1.27? There’s lots of gasoline lying around (-if not yet refined, sitting languidly in those big storage tanks). Certainly, with the trillions of dollar Congress is throwing around like Scarface, there’s no general shortage of money, seemingly. So, that shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, I’ve also got these really cool pieces of rigid nylon plastic in my billfold that, when I stick them in the gas pump, the dispenser runs until I shut it off. I assume it would run and run and run, to my heart’s content.
I’ve also noticed lately that the hot-dogs I used to buy for my boys, which as late as last Christmas were $2.39 a package, are now up to $3.69. So, I don’t buy them when I go on our thrice-monthly grocery excursions now. Instead, I get them every other time, or (gulp), purchase some cheap ones when I know we’re going to have a flood of visitors or neighbor’s kids. They can have the hot-dogs made of pig snout and sawdust. And my grocery store has lately added on a mortgage department for the convenient financing of the beef, so I don’t even think of steak anymore, unless it’s turned the color of a Sherman tank, and has become a “Super Discount!”.
Likewise for the motel rooms I am obliged to visit when I go about the country schlepping my wares. Twenty years ago, I was pleased with the general condition and price of a Super 8. I could generally count on a room for $36 a night. Twenty years on, though, Super 8’s are getting rather threadbare (and curtainbare, and carpetbare, and bedbare), and the $36 is now $70. Most of that increase has come in the last two years, I notice. I used to think I was flying high when I treated myself to a Courtyard, or aFairfield Inn. Now, sometimes I must settle for aJoes Rooms for Less. And still pay the $70.
My health insurance is increasing as my health generally is declining. Quite handy, that. Last week, my wife was on the phone for four hours trying to find someone –anyone– who would sell us propane for less than $3 a gallon. When I installed the furnace ten years ago, propane was 99-cents. Now the only thing that costs 99-cents is a “value” bottle of Coke– that should cost a quarter.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re doing all right. We have all the latest gizmos (well, most of them, anyway), and have usually managed to take a vacation every year. But, we fight like heck, pinch pennies, worry and fret. One car is ten years old, and it stares menacingly at me whenever I go near it. And we manifestly do not go into consumer debt.
But, I’ve decided to hell with that. I’ve hit on the perfect solution: I’m going to raise my debt ceiling.
I’ve sent one proposal up The Hill to my wife, (who clearly is the Speaker of the House) that will not add one dime of new taxes, but increases my income some fifty percent. She’s refused the offer, saying it will hurt the autistic kids and seniors, but, seeing as how there aren’t any of these types around the house, I don’t see it as a problem. Still, the proposal is sitting in committee tonight, and the New York Times doesn’t give it much of a chance of passage by the time I come down in the morning and fix some eggs.
The debt ceiling, though, must be raised, otherwise it will hurt my credit rating. I know, I know– this seems horribly warped and incoherent, but so does driving around with an eighth of a tank of gas when I deserve to have a full tank. Furthermore, I’m so exhausted at having to paw through thirty different kinds of hotdogs, when I really just want to throw the Kobe beef in the cart anyway. I deserve it, and dammit, so does everyone else in my house.
Why should I have to sacrifice so? Shouldn’t the sacrifice be shared? That guy next door and his wife drive a new Volvo, and an almost-new Toyota. Why should they have so much, when my propane is costing more and more? Besides, I have to get this debt ceiling raised by Wednesday, or my roof will fall in. Actually, I don’t know this for sure, but, the roofing guys have come by and told me it will have to be replaced someday in the next thirty years, and, by golly, the drip-edge is getting a little rusty at the seams. They didn’t say it wouldn’t collapse by Wednesday, but, they didn’t say it couldn’t. So, I’m taking no chances, and I’ve put my neighbor’s Volvo up for sale on Craig’s List to pay for it.
Of course, my wife has made a counterproposal with the assistance of my two kids that says my income will increase by 150%, but only if we don’t buy any toothpicks this year. I don’t see the need for such draconian cuts. I mean, even though we will now be purchasing only the very best aged beef, it can still be a bit stringy, and we’d better have toothpicks around.
I just don’t see a breakthrough in negotiations, though. My wife seems pretty steadfast in cutting either the toothpicks, or postponing the purchase of mothballs in 2032 to 2033. As I see it, though, that puts our sweaters “at risk”. Spend, spend, spend, I say! Sell one of the neighbor’s power tools if we have to. No doubt, they’ve got plenty of mothballs. I never see any holes in their sweaters!
And another thing: I’m tired of the flea-bag motels. I deserve Raddissons, at least. Preferably, Hiltons. As an underprivileged minority in my house, I’m moving up.
Of course, I’ve not informed my mortgage company of the plan. This doesn’t involve them anyway, and they might be spooked into calling our loan. Besides, after we’ve skeletonized our neighbor’s house, there’s plenty more on the block where that came from.