Five for Fixing, Part Deux…..

1) Every gas station should be required to install and maintain Purell (or at least generic) hand sanitizer stations at their self-service pumps.  It is disgusting enough that we have to get gasoline residue and grime all over our hands every time we fill up AND pay ridiculously high prices for gas on top of that.  But those pump handles and the keypad buttons (both credit card and gas grade selection buttons) on the dispenser are touched every day by god-knows-who and are the most repulsive, nauseating things the average person is required to touch on a regular basis.  (Brief aside:  Writing that sentence reminded me of the scene in Trading Places where Penelope bails Winthorpe out of Jail, and on the jailhouse steps the following exchange takes place – and picture Penelope’s whiney, superior, upper-crust voice:

P:  Louis, you’re making a scene.

L: The good news is I’m innocent. I’ve never done anything resembling this.

P: Louis, you look awful.  I’m so ashamed.  Those clothes and those shoes and…you’ve been fighting….and you smell.

L: I smell?

P: Penelope, do you realize where I’ve been since yesterday?

Well that classic line where Penelope ridicules Louis’ wardrobe, bruised face and putrid stench and the amazingly horrified face she makes as she unleashed those lines on him illustrates exactly how anyone should feel when touching a gas pump at the average filling station.

I know, we should all take responsibility for our own hygiene and carry hand sanitizer in our cars and in our purses/brief cases.  And I don’t disagree.  But gas stations are cash cows. In the 1950s and 1960s they were well run establishments that prided themselves on service – and somehow, over time, our expectations of what a gas stations should be and the levels of cleanliness and sanitation that we are willing to accept has taken a nosedive.  Most of us spend more money at gas stations in a week than anywhere else but the grocery store.  And they all gauge us at the pump. It is an outrage…and we just bend over and let it happen. The least they can do is offer an opportunity for us to regain our sense of humanity after suffering the awful and often humiliating and raunchy experience of filling our gas tanks. And don’t get me started on their lavatories, god forbid you ever have an emergency on the highway.


2) Disclaimer: I realize homelessness is a worldwide epidemic, and that if there is really something to be fixed here, it is that no human being should have to be without shelter and sleep in the freezing cold, pouring rain and sweltering heat that so many are forced to endure each and every day. In writing a blog intended to entertain, at least on some level, it is sometimes difficult to maintain a modicum of reality, instead opting for a more surreal and humorous approach to a situation. So I ask my reader(s), please understand that this answer should read “to eliminate homelessness in the world.” That said, and as long as homelessness continues to exist, please also take your humble author’s recommendation below with the proper side order of sodium:

Homeless people should offer a receipt with a distinct logo or signature when you give them money so that you don’t have to feel guilty the next time that same exact homeless man or woman approaches your car at an exit ramp or as you walk by them on the street and do not give them anything.  There are certain routes that all of us take regularly, be it our walk to and from work or the subway, or our drive to and from work, etc.  If there are homeless people that have staked out a location on this route, you are bound to see them a few times a week, if not every day.  This receipt plan (or a reasonable facsimile) would ensure that you get the credit you deserve when making a selfless gesture (important to note: this assumes you actually do give money occasionally), and also allows you to drive/walk by the less fortunate at other times armed with validation that you care, and guilt free that you are not feeding their drug and alcohol habit on this particular day.

3) I think if you are homosexual and live in a state that does not have equal laws for homosexuals, including marriage laws, you should not be required to pay state taxes in that state.   I understand this would necessitate increased state spending in ensuring certain constituents do not take advantage of this law, but who cares?  If something is unfair for certain people, it should become a burden to everyone…raising taxes statewide may just provide the kick in the ass a majority would need to vote for change.

4) The rule in the NBA that allows a team to call a timeout and then advance the ball to their offensive end of the court is ridiculous and needs to be eliminated.  Imagine if you could do this in any other sport.  Call a timeout in football and advance the ball across midfield?  How about in golf?  Call a timeout and take a free drop on the apron of the green?  In hockey, call a timeout and get an offensive zone faceoff?  And what about in baseball?  Not even sure how you could do this, but imagine if you had an 0-2 count as a batter, and then could call a timeout and reset the count to 0-0.  That would pretty much be equivalent to the absurdity that takes place down the stretch in an NBA game.  And the most ludicrous wrinkle about this “rule” is that the rule does not exist in any other basketball league in America, from little league, to junior high, to high school to the NCAAs.  Basketball players in all other competitive leagues are required to bring the ball the full length of the court, each and every time down the floor, even after a time out.  So why are NBA athletes exempt?  Obviously this rule was myopically instituted to make the endings of games more competitive and exciting for the fan.  But the end of NBA games, 9 out of 10 times, are anything but exciting.  They feature seemingly endless clock stoppages due to intentional fouls and a limitless cache of timeouts.  The final two minutes of a closely contested NBA game can take 20-30 minutes in actual elapsed time.  Even lopsided games, in large part due to this timeout ball advancement rule, can take much longer to end than they should.  Bottom line, if a team dominates a game for 46 minutes, there shouldn’t be a loophole rule akin to something you would find in a game of Monopoly (you know,” go directly to jail,” or “pass go and collect $200”) that allows the trailing team to have a better chance to get back into the game.  Especially considering that rule doesn’t exist in NCAA basketball, which offers some of the most exciting, down-to-the-wire games every year in its conference and NCAA tournaments.


5) Stable, sober, presumably loving married couples are often unable to reproduce (due to age, infertility, genetic issues, etc.) while abusive, substance-abuse-riddled and poverty-stricken, unwed couples and one-night flings from broken homes reproduce like insects.  There is even a farcical youth movement sweeping our nation, which is glamorized, as most ridiculous fads tend to be, on MTV.  I am sure there are scads of couples and single women in their late 30s and 40s cursing as commercials for 16 and Pregnant taunt them from their television screens.  I do not have all the answers, but it would be great for everyone in the world if this was corrected.  Unfortunately, of the five items discussed here, this may be the most difficult problem to repair.



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