Free Falling

Part of the task I face each day in the classroom is giving the appearance at least that I have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge. My job as a teacher, then, is to “bless” my students with insightful commentary.

The more information I try to cram into my storage system, however, the less room I seem to have. So, in the interest of staying sharp for my students, I need to download some-how shall I put this?-more expendable knowledge and pass it on.

I guarantee that this information is worth exactly what you paid for it, or your money back.

— The price of gasoline always goes up when my van’s tank is the emptiest. Additionally, the cost per gallon always jumps in 10-cent increments, yet it falls one cent at a time.

Perhaps more importantly, the price skyrockets instantly every time an OPEC minister clears his throat at a production meeting, but it takes months for the price to come back down after the cartel votes to increase production. It can’t be that our producers in this country want to gain that little extra profit, can it?

In a related issue, I would like to ask a question or two about the price of natural gas this winter, but I can never get through to the company. There’s a big surprise. A guy can only listen to a recording telling him how much the company cherishes him as a customer for so long before he gives up and hangs up the phone.

Of course we are customers. What choice do we have?

— If you need a can of processed meat products, Alco is the place to go. Is it because the Hillsboro area leads the nation in the purchase of such delicacies as Spam and corned beef hash?

Alternatively, is it because we are not holding up our share of the Vienna sausage market and producers are hoping to spark sales?

— The more I work out trying to lose those extra holiday inches and pounds, the hungrier I get. I recently read that one in four Americans is seriously obese. Two of the other three are at least a little overweight.

We supposedly put on only one pound each year over the holidays. That’s the good news. The bad news is that one pound is permanent.

Let’s see. I’ve seen almost 25 yule seasons since high school. That means I must weigh about 25 pounds more than I did when I graduated. No comment.

— I think it’s interesting that last year, as the world was on the threshold of the Year 2000, all we heard about was the dawn of the new millennium. A few people quietly pointed out that the new decade, century and millennium combination was still a year away. But, Joe Public would hear nothing of it.

This year, as the true rollover was set to happen, suddenly everyone seemed to recognize it. The power Madison Avenue holds over Americans never ceases to amaze me.

— People who want to own dogs larger than a bread pan ought to be required to prove that they regularly take them on walks and allow them plenty of space to run, or the owners should face fines.

There is nothing sadder than a dog with nowhere to exercise and nothing to do all day but bark from the end of a short chain or from inside a small pen.

Here’s a thought. Somebody could start a Rent-a-Rover business, buy about half a dozen quality dogs and rent them out like tools from the lumberyard. You want to take a dog for a walk, get a canine card. Get one free rental with 10.

A person might also want to procure a pup to chase all those pesky cats off the yard. Once the neighborhood felines are sent packing, the dog could be returned. Everybody wins.

— My family recently finished off a tube of toothpaste. I threw the used container away, but not before I had squeezed out every last brush full.

I find it interesting how hard we worked to get our money’s worth before discarding the empty tube, yet we recently broke the $50 barrier eating one family meal in a Wichita restaurant.

Thank goodness we don’t do that very often. All I could think about was what that $50 could do for a poverty-stricken family somewhere, or how we could have put the cash to better use: a couple of pairs of jeans for the kids, a small sack of groceries, or maybe even 30 minutes of natural gas for heating our house.

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