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Lowering gas prices, the Woody Creek way

Gaylord Guenin

As was to be expected, that ultra-crepidarian collection of individuals who make up the Woody Creek Taverns Pissing & Moaning Society have devoted a great deal of time the past few weeks to bitching about gas prices.(To save you the time and trouble of trying to locate ultra-crepidarian in a dictionary, let me explain that it refers to the practice of giving opinions on topics beyond ones knowledge, which rather comfortably and without malice describes the Pissing & Moaning Society members.)We engaged in a great deal of finger-pointing regarding the reasons for the sudden surge in gas prices, but there was no consensus as to who the guilty party (or parties) might be. But in a stroke of genius, the group did come up with a rather unusual way to avoid paying the outrageous prices now being charged at the pumps. It pretty much was the kind of brilliance one would expect from a gathering of such finely tuned and creative minds.We needed inspiration and it was immediately found in corporate America, among those who not only helped to build our great nation but also are now busily looting it and disassembling it for shipment to Third World nations, as a gesture of good will is my guess. Those megaliths of industry have surrounded us with the greatest creature comforts known to man and their altruism seems to know no bounds. Not only do they support political favorites with hoggish and questionable contributions, they are willing to send their minions all the way to Washington, D.C., to assist our overworked elected officials in writing our laws, particularly those laws that might apply to their own interests.And it doesnt end there. Many of those brilliant VIPs have voluntarily abandoned the opulence of their country clubs to offer advice (in secret, of course, as they are a shy and unassuming bunch) to our president and vice president on matters such as energy and national defense. Sure, a few blemishes may be found on corporate Americas record. Companies such as Enron and WorldCom, to name just two, come to mind. And it is possible, as suggested by Jim Hightower in Thieves in High Places, that some large companies are managed by barf-inducing corporate slime, but it has been the ability of those lizards to steal and pocket vast amounts of money with near impunity that gave the members of the Pissing & Moaning Society inspiration in their search to beat current gas prices.The PMS members also were encouraged by the definition of corporation that appears in The Devils Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce (1842-1913). According to Bierce, a corporation is an ingenious device for securing individual profit without individual responsibility. Papers to incorporate the PMS were filed almost immediately after reading Ambroses words.But back to our gasoline problem. You can go to the Woody Creek Post Office (and a lot of other places) on any given day and if you linger in the parking lot, eventually someone, usually someone driving a large SUV, will jump out of their vehicle and leave the engine running while they go about their business in the post office. It would take only seconds to climb into the vehicle, drive to some secluded spot in the neighborhood (and we have an abundance of secluded spots) and siphon the gas out of the tank. While this might be seen as stealing, the PMS membership preferred to view it as a public service. You see it is illegal in Colorado to leave your keys in an unattended vehicle, so by taking your car we are saving you the terrible embarrassment of being scolded by an officer or even, God forbid, being ticketed. For your convenience and peace of mind, once we had taken your gasoline we would toss your keys into a Dumpster. And who knows, in time a bear might be found with those keys and be charged with car theft, a possible means of getting rid of unwanted bears.At any rate, you would be off the hook.And because you left your car running, all your instruments, including the gas gauge, would be functioning, so a quick peek into your vehicle will tell us whether or not your car contains enough gas to make it worth the effort to take it. The idea of establishing the Woody Creek Gasoline Co-op was quickly applauded by the PMS members, who became rather puffed up at the thought that they could emulate Americas corporate leaders. Then one spoilsport pointed out that no matter how we justified it, we would be thieves, we would sink to the level of executives and politicians who seem to believe that lying and stealing is the alpha and omega of life.It wasnt a comfortable thought, realizing that we were about to join the ranks of maggots. With a little reflection it became apparent we would be stealing gas from our friends and neighbors. And while such thievery seems quite acceptable among many of those who squat in some of the nations board rooms, the ethical standards of most Woody Creatures is a tad higher. We will leave that other ethical standard in the hands of George W. and his corporate friends. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we will leave it in the paws of all those rodents. We dont steal from friends, employees, investors or the national treasury, so we will just suck it up and pay for our own gasoline. Its the Woody Creek way!This is the 304th article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where there is a deep tradition of sharing and nothing but disgust for those who steal.


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