A soft underbelly

“Sitting ’til the sun goes down
In dreams the world keeps going ’round and ’round.”– Jeff Lynne

There are certain points in the year when time seemingly stops. In a school year it always happens in the Spring Semester. Our school was one of the “fortunate” ones to be selected to give a field test for the STAAR exam. A field test essentially is research for the authors of the tests. We don’t get to see the data and we don’t get to see a copy of the test.

You add those extra fun days to what we call mock testing and you can see how testing bleeds us dry. So, if you count December retesting, some of us our down for the count for more than two weeks worth of school days doing nothing but taking tests. Throw in a school day SAT or two and suddenly you are brushing up against three weeks.

Of course, today’s thoughts have little to do with that. It is just the best explanation I can give for the absence of posts the last two days. I wasn’t on the schedule to test, but one of the prices of being reliable is that you’re the first one they call when things go wrong. We all have our cross to bear I guess.

Geopolitics are what they are. You have serious people trying to solve serious problems without getting into armed conflict. Then you have idiots making idiotic suggestions they should know are untenable. It is impossible to know how serious a suggestion it was to paint Chinese flags on American jets. This came from the same guy that talked of injecting bleach into our backside.

A part of the serious ramifications from serious actors is the clamping down on economic sanctions and pressure on Russia. A part of that is the promise to no longer buy oil from Russia. We did the same thing to Cuba in the early 1960s. We went decades without Cuban cigars and Sansabelt slacks. I guess that doesn’t create quite the same effect.

Americans are handling the news with all of the heroism and self-sacrifice of a snotty quarterback with a hangnail. Of course, you could break these people into groups. There are those that should know better that simply blame Joe Biden just as a matter of course. Then, there are those that have awaken from some kind of stupor from a world where gas prices fluctuated between two and three dollars a gallon for over a decade.

This argument exists on multiple levels. First, we want to know exactly who is responsible for rising prices. Obviously, basic laws of supply and demand indicate that when there is less supply there is usually more demand. However, it is impossible to ignore the fact that oil companies aren’t exactly hurting during these tough times.

Biden is pushing for more oil production and the price per barrel is falling again. Of course, it will take awhile for these things to filter down to the consumer. We saw the same thing happen in 2008 and I suppose we had the same reaction back then. Social media wasn’t as much of a thing back then, so we were spared the everyday memes about how horrible we have it.

The average driver drives about 10,000 miles a year. If someone is able to get 400 miles per tank of gas they will refill their tank 25 times a year. If gas is an extra 1.50 then each tank of gas costs an extra $22 dollars for a typical compact car. That might be $30 dollars more per tank for a larger vehicle. Even if you drive more often it ends up being at most $30 dollars more per tank and you fill up 30 times a year. Basic math would indicate that’s 900 dollars more a year.

On some level I get it. Those who commute into work will end up paying more than those that just drive around the block to shop and drop the kids off. Wages have frozen so any little thing added to everyday costs can seem like a lot. Yet, you can’t help but think we are overreacting some. You can’t help but think we are taking this sacrifice a little less than heroically.

I keep going back to World War II when even those that stayed at home were asked to make sacrifices a lot more significant than this. I wasn’t alive then, so I don’t know how often people complained, but those who were there said they didn’t. Maybe they are just full of crap. Maybe we always complained about these things. Maybe we have just become soft. Maybe narcissism is a growing epidemic in our country. It’s hard to account for that whether it is the price of gas or a request to get a shot and wear a mask.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for thefantatasyfix.com. You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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