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‘That Was Yesterday’ when Foreigner ruled and a tank of gas was cheap

Oh, when I first got my driver’s license. Let’s relive my good ole days.
My first car was the historic 1988 Ford Thunderbird. Power windows. Digital odometer. A horn that didn’t work unless you simultaneously turned the wheel and pushed the horn at the perfect moment. Power seats. Make that one of two power windows actually worked. Even had a CD player installed, after rocking cassette tapes of Eminem and the Red Hot Chili Peppers for several months.
Well, the ‘Dirty Bird’ has since been retired (2006, Rest In Peace). One lasting memory about the Thunderbird was the first day I drove it home. My gracious mother told me to pull in a (now defunct) local gas station and she would fill it up. The bill was all hers, all $10 and some change. There was already a quarter tank or more in there, but you talk about making someone’s day, filling up a tank of gas was more than a thrill even then.
I know my story isn’t about the good ole days when gas, a movie and a soda were a quarter each, or however that tale goes, but my story was just nine years ago. Back then, I scrummaged quarters and dimes from my ashtray to put roughly $2.60 in the ‘bird. That took me from a friend’s house to ball practice then to White Castle a few times around.
Today, that $2.60 couldn’t fill a lawn mower. Nor a weed eater. Good thing remote-control cars are still battery powered.
Want an even more painful thought? I did a little math, taking into account my nine-year history behind the wheel in relation to how much I spend on fuel. Using a 25-mile-per-gallon car, at an average of 12,000 miles per year (actually, I put a lot more miles on my ride due to this sports writer gig), it costs me roughly $672 per year in gas back in 1999 when gas was $1.40 a gallon. A solid part-time job.
Currently, taking the same formula and plugging in a robust $3.60 per gallon, I will spend $1,728 at the 12,000-mile-per-year rate. Just a cool $1,056 difference. A solid need for a second job.
So much for a wide-screen TV I dreamed my $600 stimulus money going toward. Say hello to my gas tank check; I’ll send my thank-you card to the government when I have time.
I feel for any of who you try to do this formula with an SUV, farm machinery or those sleek hot rods that roll into festivals each summer. Puts a damper on the mood, doesn’t it? I failed to mention the total gallons of gas used in a year, just because my inner greenness may suffer a heart attack.
What has seriously happened in our country and around the world with oil and gas numbers? Gas has climbed this summer to a current benchmark of $3.60 a gallon. And if anyone still throws in the additional 20 cents for that super-duper petro, I think you are beyond insane.
The monster SUVs bother me the most.
I do have a fun game I’d like to share with readers in regards to handling the gas-guzzlers. Not many know about this; it’s pretty top secret. The yet-to-be-trademarked game involves a 5-year-old child’s favorite toy, the finger and thumb handgun. Rules are simple: Each time one of those Hummer ‘luxury’ SUVs come in sight, snipe the tires with your pointer finger. What is luxury about pumping $100 in the tank for some gas? If you can afford the gas, you can afford to replace the tires I blew out with my imaginary gun. Take that.
This whole oil and gas dilemma comes down to two painful words: It sucks.
Overall, I’m pretty sure when a 26-year-old is talking about the good ole days and doesn’t include a Foreigner album, something is painfully wrong.
I’m glad the Thunderbird served its purpose. When I bought my newest car, a little Chevy Prizm, some laughed, even chuckled, at the 4-cylinder engine, then its small size and frame. But if you knew the mileage I get, I’m laughing at you now. I just need to figure out how to get this corn in there.

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