"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers." ~ Richard Feynman
EXTRA! Thomas Edison Rolls in Grave
Exclusive to STR
If you're like me, you easily tire of lamenting everything you hate about the world. Here I've barely entered into the beginning of middle age, and I already feel like a curmudgeon when I hear the latest news about the goings-on in any bureaucracy. For my part, I will do my best as a Root Striker to provide helpful tips and a little hope for other would-be cranky old bastards, rather than bitch and moan all the time. But the latest business about light bulbs fires up all the old antagonistic feelings about government lunacy.
In case you didn't know, the government has passed a law banning the sale of Edison 's greatest invention, the one that changed the world for the better and helped to usher in the modern age along with the internal combustion engine and the telephone. The light bulb as we have grown to know and love it will begin disappearing from store shelves in 2012, in some other 'civilized' countries, 2010. This is all being done in the name of the environment, which, of course, means it's being done 'for the children.'
What does this mean to you? Well, basically, it means that when you break a light bulb, all hell breaks loose with it. A trusty website that is usually on top of all these urban legends diminishes some of the more outrageous claims of what will happen when an energy-saving/ ozone-friendly/Leonardo DiCaprio-watching/Sheryl Crow-listening/child-hugging mercury light bulb breaks. However, if your stomach is in need of a little less acid and you can't take reading the entire web page, take a look below at a heavily abbreviated list of procedures you will have to follow from now on when a damn bulb breaks:
Ventilate the Room
. . . OK, I'll say it. Ventilate the room??!!!
Separate Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces and Carpeted Surfaces
Hint: You can't throw them away anymore!
Special Steps for Future Cleaning of Carpeted Surfaces
See, if you break one of these African-American-friendly/non-smoking/gay-daughter-accepting/ Jesus-was-a-hippie mercury bulbs, your carpet will apparently never be the same again. I could go on and on, but then I'd be wasting valuable broken-light-bulb-cleaning time, an activity for which it will some day be necessary to have a degree, or at least civil servant-level certification.
I don't know about you, but I do not plan on engaging in this sort of activity. I'd sooner revert to oil lamps. I may have to. In the meantime, here are my suggestions for other free-marketeers who, like me, hate the ozone layer along with nature, puppies, and uppity Negroes:
1. Whenever you are in a store, even to just browse or pick up toilet paper (which is probably next on the government's list of no-no's), pick up at least one pack of traditional light bulbs. I figure I'm changing a bulb in one of my ceiling lamps once every 2-3 months, and the others even longer. I go through a 4-pack of light bulbs perhaps less than twice a year. Your needs will vary according to the number of night hours, housemates or family members, lamps, etc. Sit down and do the curmudgeonly math. For me to get through one year, I figure I will need at least 6 bulbs, perhaps more, so I'll be safe and say 8. I'm 38 this year, and I plan on living a long, healthy life, so if I'm going to live to 98, I need 480 light bulbs to last my entire lifetime. A package of 4 traditional, name brand bulbs currently costs a little over $2.50, or 63 cents a bulb. That's $300 for bulbs and 120 trips to the store. Since I go to the store at least once a week, that means that in less than 2 ' years I will have a lifetime supply, sometime in late-2010, more than a year before they're no longer available in respectable establishments. That's not so bad, is it? Remember, we're talking about a lifetime here. If you're a hardcore free-marketeer, purchase $600 worth, or even $1,200 so that you can participate in the coming light bulb black market. (If you're like me, you're kind of gettin' ideas now aren'tcha?)
2. It's not enough to stock up on light bulbs, in my mind. I think we should write the corporations that are profiting from death and destruction, not to mention the increase in price for these new carpet-killing-but-earth-humping mercury bulbs, and inform them that come 2012, we will no longer be buying their bulbs, as we now have a lifetime supply. Here's a list to get you started:
Feel free to go to the store and look not only for other name brands, but for ways to contact the store-brands as well, to inform them that they will unfortunately be left with a great many kitty-caretaking/Mary-Poppins-viewing/HRC-voting/Christmas-carol-singing mercury bulbs come 2012. You may also wish to inform them of the lawsuits they will undoubtedly be facing for all the unfortunate souls who have yet to discover Strike The Root, who will be getting sick and dying due to the lack of one of the greatest inventions of all time. Perhaps these corporations will have a change of heart, and begin spending all your light bulb millions on a new lobbying campaign to bring back what you're stocking up on.
3. A word of caution: all this e-mailing will undoubtedly get back to your elected representatives, who only have your best interests in mind. Be prepared not only for a crackdown on the light-bulb black market (or the black-light bulb-market?), but a crackdown on homeowners who continue to use Grand-Canyon-filling/cutest-little-kid-in-the-world-hating/Inconvenient-Truth-denying light bulbs. If this is the case, you not only have wasted several hundred dollars, but will be stuck with throwing out one carpet after another if you buy in to the government's increasing levels of poison. If you'd rather not sicken yourself and your loved ones with spilled mercury, I seriously doubt you will be thrown in prison for keeping all your other electronic devices while lighting your home with oil lamps. Therefore, I think they're also worth stocking up on.
Think of it as a permanent camping vacation, rather than a permanent blackout on reason, choice, freedom, liberty, and worst of all, truth.