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Posted: October 18, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Walk by the gas station

We could walk a lot more in this country. That’s what I said. We could actually walk more.

If we walk more and drive our cars less, then maybe we could become less dependent on foreign oil so when some sheik of the burning sands decided to take over Lower Oilrichabia, we could ignore him.

There wouldn’t be any need to send over our troops and planes, no reason to worry about chemical warfare, no reason to bug Henry Kissinger for interviews, no reason to bring up that nasty word "Armageddon," no reason to have to pay $87.50 a gallon at the neighborhood Texaco, and no reason for Dan Quayle to say, "Please, George, don’t die on me now."

I used to walk all the time. Before I got a bicycle, I had to walk practically everywhere I couldn’t convince an adult to drive me.

If I got thirsty and my mother said, "Walk, it’ll be good for you," when I asked her to drive me to Cureton and Coal’s store for a big orange, I’d have to hoof it a half-mile to the store and back.

I even walked all the way to Bobby Entrekin’s house one day. It was two miles both ways. He had invited me over to play cowboys and punk rockers.

But it was a pleasant, enlightening experience.

On the way, I saw a dead opossum in the road, I found a pointed rock that could have been an arrowhead, I kicked an empty pork and beans can at least a mile, and I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do when I grew up.

I decided the next time an adult asked me about it, I would say, "I want to star in porno films" and see the look that would bring.

But after I got my bike and then got old enough to drive, I gave up walking, as have many of us.

Two of the three times I got married, I drove down the aisle. The other time, I took a cab.

I probably would drive between rooms in my house, but my car won’t fit through the front door.

We are slaves to our automobiles and the juice that makes them run and that gets us into harm’s way and allows oil companies to make us all feel like a bunch of dipsticks for what we have to pay for gasoline.

Let’s all start walking more and driving less. We could start with me.

The convenience store where I buy pork and beans and copies of the Enquirer is less than a half-mile away. I could walk there.

I could walk to the video store to rent "Naughty Female Attorneys" and "Debbie Does Fargo, North Dakota," neither of which I had a part in, incidentally.

I could walk to a friend’s house to play cowboys and rap groups, and I could walk to my ex-girlfriend’s house when I forget I am an insensitive, arrogant, selfish jerk and need to be reminded.

Join me, America. Let’s go for a walk and give Ahab the Arab and John D. Rockerperson a bad case of gas.

 

Lewis Grizzard was a syndicated columnist, who took pride in his Southern roots and often wrote about them. This column is part of a collection of his work.

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