Student Voice


June 12, 2024


Simple observation illustrates financial blunder affecting us

October 2, 2008

Do you realize how scary this year has been so far?

We’re in the middle of the direst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The government is on the verge of spending $700 billion to bail out Wall Street. Just last week gasoline prices rocketed by $25 in one day to $130 per barrel - the largest single-day rise in oil prices ever. A rowdy gang of hurricane hooligans led by Ike and Gustav battered our southern coasts and destroyed American homes and American lives.

And those squirt-gun fights in Iraq and Afghanistan - they’re still going on too, right? Oh yeah, that whole mission was accomplished way back in 2003, I forgot.

It’s easy to hide from all that reality if you fill your schedule with tiny things to agonize over.

Homework, tests, employment, a credit card, bills to pay - all these things serve to make our worlds tiny, familiar and manageable.

We feel safe enough to ignore the larger issues that don’t seem to affect us. But if you look around hard enough, you might see some of the consequences of these global catastrophes.

For instance, I recently discovered that Wendy’s has snatched from its customer’s hungry and quivering hands that which makes it so special: the 99 cent, 5-piece chicken nugget.

This disastrous ploy has cast a dreadful pall on Wendy’s value menu as well as the entire fast food industry. The replacement menu items, the 4-piece or 6-piece nugget, are simply insufficient. Crude oil may fluctuate in price daily, but I refuse to accept the fact that crude nuggets are a similarly unstable economic resource.

Are these troublesome trends to persist exponentially into the distant future? Will we someday kill our dependence on oil? Will we someday pay $750 for five chicken nuggets? It seems we are heading down a bleak path.

With gas rising in price faster than movie theater tickets, transporting oneself economically has become a priority.

The town of River Falls is great for illustrating the growing popularity of The Scooter. This petite motorized transport was once viewed as the most emasculating of all personal transit solutions (besides perhaps a pink Huffy with streamers and Hello Kitty bell).

But The Scooter provides quick, convenient and cheap transportation, so it’s not surprising that we see them around more and more.

It’s just too bad they aren’t cool or trendy yet. Until they are, I’ll continue to transport myself using these two hairy, tubular, fleshy objects that are growing quite inconveniently right beneath my torso.

LEGS! That’s what they’re called! Legs.

I’m hopeful. You see, I’m a man of the future-I dream of a glorious time when we no longer depend on crude nuggets or the tiresome trappings of a physical body.

Someday, we’ll live our whole lives on The Internets, eating virtual chicken nuggets, riding virtual scooters around virtual River Falls. Spending virtual money and fighting virtual wars. We will have no more reality to hide from. Awesome!

Joe Hager is a student at UW-River Falls.