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America’s Worst Shortage

August 12, 2014

If you live in California you are aware of the water shortage.  Some predictions say that we have twelve to eighteen months of water at current usage levels.  Predictions for an El Nino which would ease the shortage have diminished and our rainfall may just be normal this next year.  If you go into a restaurant there are signs saying water is served only on request.  It is a badge of honor to have a brown lawn.  Some cities like Santa Cruz have instituted rationing , limiting monthly use to 7,480 gallons for a family of four.  Mandatory rationing for the state may be around the corner.  As bad as this shortage is, it is not the worst.

If you were around in 1974 you remember the gas shortage that came about when OPEC gathered to impose an oil embargo due to our involvement in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In May of 1973 the average gas price was 38 cents a gallon and by June of 1974 it had skyrocketed to 55 cents.  Gas stations began rationing and most had a flag system to warn drivers of their supply.  Green meant we have gas, anyone can buy.  Yellow meant only commercial trucks and cars plus emergency vehicles could buy gas.  Red meant we are out of gas.   (A side note to this: at the time I was working as a sales engineer for General Electric Medical Systems and had a sign on my dash that said GE Medical Emergency Service which was for being allowed to park in areas of a hospital not open to public parking and normally used by our service technicians.  When I went into a gas station with a yellow flag, the attendant would see the sign and having no clue what it meant, allowed me to get gas.)  Anyway, this shortage was the catalyst for gas prices to climb and as we all know finding gas for less than $4.00 a gallon is getting hard.  As bad as things were in 1974 this was not our worst shortage.

If you look at our history, our country has had all kinds of shortages, some still going on.  We have or have had a shortage of nurses, doctors, grain, propane, drugs, even guns and ammunition.  In 1973 the country even thought we had a toilet paper shortage, thanks to a news item Johnny Carson  read and joked about on the Tonight Show.  All of these are serious shortages and have devastating effect on those who suffer from the shortage, except the gun and ammunition one which came about when Obama was elected in 2008.  But again, none of these are the worst shortage this country has faced.

The worst shortage facing America, daily growing beyond any sign of recovery, is the lack of turn signal fluid.   Okay, so there is no such thing, I know!!  But drivers are more and more acting as if there were.  The use of one’s turn signal has become a lost art.  Drivers switch lanes abruptly, no signal. Drivers turn left or right in front of you, no signal.  The worst is facing a driver at a stop light with your turn signal on.  There’s isn’t, so when the light turns green, you wait for them to come across, then they turn left.  How much effort does it take to tap the lever on the side of the steering wheel and announce your intention?  Evidently more than many drivers want to exert.  The attitude of “I can do whatever I want, and why should I think about others” is the driving force beyond this and just about all other shortages.

If we would conserve water the way we conserve turn signal fluid, we would all be taking 20 minute showers and are lawns would all be greener than the Emerald City.


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