I Knew…and They Knew…

This is a partial repost of a blog post by Jack Rickard at EVTV Motor Verks – he is well known as a leading light in the electric car conversion community. I had various plans for posts today, then I came across this one (pointed out by Kevin Sharpe on the Electric Vehicles (UK) site). It struck a chord and I decided to pass it on. Note that it is a no-holds-barred polemic so don’t read it if you take offence easily. What fascinates me is that though we hold hugely different views on many things (for example he has no truck with global warming, and supports gun ownership) I can still relate to his views on oil addiction – and he has a very powerful way of expressing them.

Jack Rickard of EVTV (Image: Autoblog.com)
Jack Rickard of EVTV (Image: Autoblog.com)

A gentleman on LinkedIn posted a question about the “Cool Fun Factors of Converting a Car To EV”. I pondered this question for several minutes. They are cool. They are fun. But the question frankly annoyed me a bit and I couldn’t quite figure out why. Writing is basically a discovery process. You find out what you really think when you try to write it down for others. And so I formulated a response. It was some sort of moderated group and I guess it didn’t match his concept of Cool or Fun because it was never “approved” for public consumption. That happens to me a bit in this new Internet world where everything goes as long as you agree with it. But I thought I would share it. It’s an oddly twisted piece of work, apparently from an oddly twisted old man.

Every time I pumped a gallon of gas, I knew, and they knew, and they knew I knew, and I knew they knew I knew, that I really had no choice. They could charge 26 cents a gallon, which I have paid, or 50 cents per gallon, which I have paid, or $1 a gallon, which I have paid, or $2 a gallon, which I have paid, or $3 a gallon, which I have paid, or $4 a gallon, which I have paid or $5 a gallon, which I have paid, and I was going to pay it, because I have to have a car and it has to take me where I want to go. No choice. No option. They own me. And I don’t really have a goddamned thing to say about it.

And the guy with the gas station gets a little bit, and the state gets a little bit, and the Federal government gets a little bit, and the refinery gets quite a bit, and the country where the oil comes from gets quite a bit, and the guy who boats it over here gets a little bit, and actually the least of these is the guy with the gas station right here in town. He gets 4 cents a gallon.

And I knew, and they knew, and they knew I knew, and I knew they knew I knew, that if gasoline goes to $6 a gallon I’ll pay it, and $7 a gallon I’ll pay it, and $8 a gallon and I’ll pay it and $9 a gallon and I’ll pay it and they will all make just a little bit more when I do, and I’ll have just a little bit less. And I don’t have a goddamned thing to say about that.

And just to remind me that I knew, and they knew I knew, and I knew they knew I knew, in 1978 we had a little “gas shortage” in southern California where we waited in line for hours on end just to get the 10 gallons they would “allow us” at any price they wanted, and we tried to live our lives on that 10 gallons before going back to get at the end of the line one more time for another 10 gallons. It went on for over a year. And I didn’t have a goddamned thing to say about it. Had to have a car. It had to have gas.

And I even knew, and they knew I knew, and I knew they knew I knew, that they could take the money I put in that pump for gasoline and split it up seventeen ways, and there was still enough left over in the end to train fine young men who otherwise lived as I lived, and wanted what I wanted, that the reason they couldn’t have what I have, is that my land was the land of Satan. Bent on their destruction and in defiance of the laws of God and men and that they would indeed be rewarded in paradise if they but gave their lives to destroy our land and kill thousands of innocent people in my land and teach them a lesson by taking away forever their fathers, and their husbands, and their wives, and aunts and uncles and mothers all in the name of Allah. And I would continue to feed that pump. And I would feed it, and I would feed it and I would feed it forever. And I would feed it because I really didn’t have a goddamned thing to say about it. Nothing at all.

But what I also knew, and they knew, and they didn’t know I knew that they knew, because, so few knew and they knew that few knew, is that that gasoline, and my car, was spewing toxic gasses out the ass end that cause autism, Alzheimers disease, cancer, diabetes, and a host of other diseases that were virtually unheard of less than a century ago. And even though I knew, and they knew, they kept right on selling it. And I kept right on buying it. I kept feeding that pump and driving that car and I didn’t have a goddamned thing to say about it.

And then one day, with my American Express card clutched in one hand, and the pump nozzle in the other, watching the poor guy who runs the gas station and makes the least of all out of it, change the sign to raise the price of it all one more time, something snapped inside. Something just broke. I said “screw this” and put the pump nozzle back in the pump and walked off and left my car at the gas station and walked all the way home.

But they knew, and I knew and I knew they knew that I knew, that you just can’t live your life walking. You have to carry stuff. And it gets cold. And it gets hot. And it rains. And people attack you if you’re walking. And they take away the stuff you’re trying to carry. And it takes too much time. And it just doesn’t work. And you really just don’t have a goddamned thing to say about it. You have to have a car. It has to have gas.

Post continues here (you have been warned): I Knew…and They Knew…

A follow-up post is here: FOAD Again – Part Duh