"History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind." ~ Edward Gibbon
Ass, Bass & Gas--All Coming to Pass
You've seen them before, especially if you live in the Midwest or Southern states. The bumper sticker--Ass, Bass & Gas--an impudent allegiance to a trilogy of needs or pleasures, is usually displayed next to Old Glory, the Star & Bars or the "Proud To be An American" bumpersticker. Not inconsistent with the patriotic slogans, ABG just about sums up the American Dream for a sizable segment of the male population. But sadly--and I'm heaving a big sigh here myself as a heterosexual, fish-catching, truck driving male--that dream of ABG is about over. I hate to be a spreader-of-bad-news, but when the AOL Empire features the story and the Las Vegas Journal reiterates the gloomy news of $3 a gallon by June, the Neocons are in deep trouble, along with the rest of us, and bye-bye Bush.
But isn't this always the case come summertime? Gasoline prices shoot up and Americans are annually held hostage by our driving habits. Bushwacked is how Dubya must have felt, upon hearing the news from Condi as she read him snippets from the newspaper. To those of us who believe in Conspiracy theories, like what-the-hell is inside Area 51, this predicted doubling of gas prices looks almost like a deliberate derailment of the Bush presidency by the higher powers who have controlled elections since Ike first ran for office. A supreme vote of NO Confidence.
I can only imagine what each sport fisherman, trailering his bass boat with the Ass, Gas & Bass bumper sticker on the rear of his Hemi-equipped truck, must think. Nixon called these folks The Silent Majority. I can't imagine them being silent once they gather round the gas pump like Hancock and Adams. Nor can I imagine them being familiar with the scholarly tome, Hubbert's Peak, The Impending World Oil Shortage, a scarier scenario for Americans than anything Stephen King has yet written. I can't imagine most folks are familiar with the reality of a sign saying No Gas at the service pump, but we will soon. Very soon. Where I work as a commercial fisherman--in Kodiak Alaska--the summer price hike in diesel fuel will put a huge wallop in dwindling profits. Couple that with a decade of diminishing prices for our salmon catch, and the image is gloomy. Now multiply that by millions of farmers, truck drivers, taxi drivers, shippers and every day commuters'fuel consumers all'and you can almost predict a grassroots revolt of the Ass, Gas and Bass political base.
AGB might well become an acronym for "Adios George Bush." The overwhelming majority of his supporters may flip flop like a lively bass and throw the hook but will things be much improved with billionaire Kerry? I'm afraid the party's over. No more "Summertime and the Living is easy" or, as in the case of the New York driver nabbed while watching a porn movie, no more Ass, Bass and Gas mentality.
Yet things are not completely hopeless. Although the fishing news from around the world is pessimistic to say the least, with depleted stocks (not in Kodiak, thank you) and increasing environmental damage, some areas foresee a resurgence, or even an emergence of new aquatic life forms, as the piranha fished out of the River Thames seems to indicate.
From a scientific standpoint the world'as Celine Dion well knows--will go on, despite the decline of cheap available gasoline. Ten years from now we may all be driving vehicles capable of 100 miles per gallon. We already have the technology; all we need is the impetus. And who knows, according to some administration optimists, ever ready to paint a rosy scenario, the water on Mars may one day support a decent bass fishery. After all, the good news: the universe may not be dying seems to forecast good fishing on some distant planets. Maybe just not our own.