I only bring up the world of prostitution to demonstrate just how widespread the effect of high gas prices is on American life. And of course, it gives a whole new meaning to the question, "Would you like regular or super?"
They cross the border between the United States and Mexico for financial reasons. Some of them are breaking the law, but they're willing to risk it. They're not doing it for better jobs or a better education. They're doing it for cheaper gas. And they're crossing from the United States to Mexico. It's a surprising turn of events, and I haven't even gotten to the sex part yet.
More and more Americans are crossing the border into Mexico to fill up their tanks at a recent cost of about $2.66 a gallon. It might not sound like enough of a savings to be worth the trip, but what if you owned a fleet of trucks? How would you feel about border crossers then?
Don't be surprised if someday soon a Mexican official, or a commentator named Luiz Dobbs or something like that, decries the Americans who cross the border in search of less expensive gas. Some of them may be breaking the law because of the taxes they are avoiding. They are the "new illegals." I can just hear the outraged voices saying that these Americans are "taking gas away from Mexico's legal residents."
The high price of gas in the United States is obviously changing the way many of us live and act. People are driving less so they don't go to faraway stores as much as they used to. Big gas-guzzlers are gathering grime on auto lots. Many businesses are suffering, so they've come up with creative ways to survive the "gas crunch." Chrysler offers potential new owners of some of their cars a guarantee of paying $2.99 a gallon of gas to travel up to 12,000 miles a year for the next three years. I don't know if you'll be able to pay less if the price of gas dips below $2.99 again, but don't hold your breath on that one.
Other businesses are giving away gas with the purchase of their products. Some restaurants give a free gallon of gas with every lunch. Before putting some of its candy bars in their wrappers, Hershey's has placed an icon in there that will get the buyer free gas. Other businesses are giving away gas cards worth $50 or more. Callaway, the golf club company, is one of those giving away the cards. In other words, they'll help you out if you're so pressed for money that you're worried about how much gas costs, but you don't mind spending hundreds of dollars for a new driver.
Then there is the oldest profession in the world. According to those in charge of legal prostitution in Nevada, sex workers are feeling the pinch. These businesses are in rural areas, and with the cost of gas, many drivers who might have previously visited, have decided to keep their money in their pants and their pants on their bodies.
Those in the brothel biz are used to clothes dropping, but not their profits. Revenues are reportedly down somewhere between 20 and 45%. This is according to a lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Owners' Association. (How would you like to have that job on your resume?)
At least one Nevada brothel has decided to fight back. Beginning July 1st, the Shady Lady Ranch will give free gas cards to their paying customers. By the way, the Shady Lady Ranch was voted "best small brothel" for five consecutive years. I don't know who does the voting, but that's what its website says. Yes, it has a website, just like every business these days. For all I know, the Shady Lady might have a day care center.
So the high gas prices are affecting more than just transportation. I only bring up the world of prostitution to demonstrate just how widespread the effect of high gas prices is on American life. And of course, it gives a whole new meaning to the question, "Would you like regular or super?"
Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Home Improvement" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover. He can be reached at email@example.com. Check out his Web site at lloydgarver.com and listen to his podcasts at iTunes.