Random Thoughts from the Sports-Deprived

Okay, the Super Bowl is over, Opening Day for baseball is still weeks away, and the NBA and NHL seasons are at that mark where the games just don’t seem to count for much. This is the closest us couch potatoes get to an “off-season.” But, beware wives everywhere. I know it might seem like a good thing to have a little non-sports time with the hubby, but the lack of athletic stimulation can do funny things to a man. Without a specific sporting event to capture my attention, I find my mind wandering towards a multitude of other issues.

For instance…how can it be legal for gas stations to charge per gallon using tenths of a penny? Next time I fill up the tank, I should take a calculator and find out exactly how much my purchase costs, then go in, pay in cash, and demand the proper change. If you can’t pay in fractions of a cent, then you shouldn’t be able to charge fractions of a cent.

Come to think of it, why do we have pennies anymore anyway? If a gas station can round the purchase off to the next whole cent, why don’t we just do that for all purchases? I know we don’t need pennies, but if we start an active program across the nation, we could probably eliminate the need for nickels as well. Think about it, is there anything out there today that would suffer in sales if it costs up to nine cents more? And, without the competition of the pennies and nickels, maybe we could finally get a dime that is a respectable size. Am I the only one who’s annoyed by the fact that the size of our pocket change is disproportionate to its value?

And, speaking of disproportionate: does it make me a socialist if I think that there should be a law to make the salaries of the highest paid employees in a publicly traded company somehow proportional to that of the lowest paid? With all the math geeks out there, you would think that someone could come up with a decent formula to limit the earnings gap. For example, enforcing a mandate that the top ten percent of salaries cannot exceed five times that of the bottom twelve percent multiplied by the average cost-of-living increase given to middle management would certainly put a dent in the spread. Doing it that way, the CEO, CFO, and all their buddies could still make all the millions they want, they would just have to bring more of us along for the ride.

And, speaking of being taken for a ride…why can’t the IRS operate using the feudal system? I should be able to do my taxes once; why am I on the hook to three different organizations? Every year, I’ll continue to pay my taxes, but I’ll do it in one lump sum, payable to my local government. Then, the state can tax the city and the feds can tax each state. Let them fight over it. Why is the burden on me to figure out all of the details?

Hey, and what’s the deal with all of the tax breaks that sports franchises get? If I were mayor, I’d make sure that any tax abatement was tied directly into the team’s winning percentage. Okay, Browns, you want a tax break - you gotta earn it! Ten home games, right? So, here’s the deal for you: each home win earns you 10% off your tax bill. Indians, each win gets you 1% off. Cavs, you’ve got LeBron, so forget the regular season - 50% off if you make the playoffs, then 5% off for each win in the postseason.

And, speaking of “post” season: how is it that the post office is now losing money every year? How hard could it be to cut costs? Would you really miss anything if your mail only came two or three times a week? With all of the other choices out there (cell phones, e-mail, FedEx, etc.), if someone actually went with the USPS option, then odds are that it wasn’t all that time-sensitive in the first place. Don’t tell me you couldn’t wait a couple of days to get those bills. The first thing most people do is chuck them, unopened, to the corner of the desk. Raise your hand if you’ve NEVER uttered the phrase, “Whoa, I should probably find out when that’s due!” Anybody? I didn’t think so. And, if you’re really in the red, how about simply charging companies more money for the four trillion pounds (amount based on personal extrapolation; actual amounts may vary) of junk mail and bulk-rate advertisements that get delivered to my house every day?

And, speaking of advertising…how can the FDA allow drug companies to advertise what are essentially controlled substances? I don’t know about you, but I’m waiting for an ad to come on that says, “If you or someone you love has glaucoma, try Cannabex. Just one delicious brownie a day carries enough medical marijuana to alleviate pressure and pain, and leaves you free to live the life you’ve always wanted.” Give me a break! I can’t even watch ten minutes of television without someone spouting off a long list of disclaimers: “May cause dizziness, nausea, and, in rare cases, a temporary allergic reaction to air.” Do people really go in to the doctor’s office and say, “Hey, Doc, I think I need some of that Plavix stuff”? Why is the government subsidizing drug companies when they have enough money for million-dollar ad campaigns?

I know what you’re thinking. And, you’re right; I probably do need some serious medication. But, this is what my brain does naturally when not given the chance to unwind in front of a good ball game. Fear not, March Madness is right around the corner.
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Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 3:03 PM, 02.09.07