Apr 202004
Authors: Jonathan Kastner

America is facing a critical shortage of dead dinosaurs to burn

as fuel. Barring some convoluted scheme involving cloning, a time

machine and an elephant gun, we’re not going to be replenishing our

supply anytime soon. The gas crisis is here to stay, so we may as

well start living with it and stop calculating how to fit a T-rex

into a DeLorean.

As gas prices go up, car usage should go down, unless you have

money to burn, so to speak. Fortunately, we live in modern times

with loads of non-car transportation options, each more

inconvenient and demeaning than the last. I recommend you try them

all, as then you’ll be loads more willing to shell out the extra

cash for gas to Shell.

Walking is a good healthy alternative to guzzling gasoline.

Plenty of fresh air, that “exercise” thing doctors are always going

on about — walking is perfect as long as the destination isn’t

much farther than the fridge. Farther than that and you’ll start to

realize that the exercise is overrated and the fresh air smells

like car exhaust. Besides, doctors never walk anywhere. And

heatstroke victims go to doctors, who tell them to get more

exercise. It’s a vicious cycle.

Speaking of vicious cycles, there’s always the bike. It’s faster

than walking so there’s less time being baked and irradiated by our

polluted planet. The catch, of course, is that a cyclist is,

essentially, a squirrel. At any moment, cyclists could dart from

the sidewalk and into the road, or vice versa, in their relentless

pursuit of acorns. Even if you are a non-nuts cyclist, you’ll be

treated like any other squirrel, which means it’s more

‘privilege-of-way’ than ‘right-of-way.’

The best advice to survive on bike is to decide if you are a

pedestrian or a car, and then stick with it. If you can’t help your

naughty self and just have to go the squirrel route, be really,

really fast. Slow squirrels went extinct a long time ago.

Right now a car is sounding pretty sweet. If only there was some

way to sucker someone else into paying for the gas? Enter the bus.

It’s fast and shielded from nature like a car, but the gas is being

paid for by a non-you person. The catch? Sometimes you’ll arrive

just a little late at the bus stop and see the vanishing taillights

of the bus whiz merrily into the distance without you. It’s

disproportionately depressing, like the bus has rejected you

personally, and this causes psychological damage, which you could

turn into a lucrative lawsuit. For this reason, the bus is the best


Those are the basic alternative forms of transportation. But did

you know there are alternative alternative forms of transportation,

some of which are always lethal? From the roof of the average

house, you can get enough wind on a hang glider to plummet

shrieking to earth. Since we don’t want you to get hurt, you should

make sure whatever you jump off is at least 60 feet high. Or, if

heights aren’t your thing, you can attach a plunger to a rope to

your waist, throw the plunger at a car, and skate along behind it.

For legal purposes, I’ll be very, very clear – these are great

ideas and in no way would you end up in a hospital, and molten lead

is an excellent skin lotion.

Of course there is talk of developing cheap, renewable fuels

that don’t rely on ancient dead things. Instead they rely on

abundant combustibles such as hydrogen, or solar energy. And the

oil companies will welcome these changes, as they are already rich

enough. Oh, and the T-rex will fit in my flying DeLorean.

Jonathan’s column appears every Tuesday.

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