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.