The Bright Side


There is an upside and a downside to almost anything that life brings our way, even a bad economy. Sure, it’s hard to find the bright side of gas prices that have climbed above $4 a gallon. For that, be sure to thank your liberal environmentalist friends next time you see them. The Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club deserve a note of thanks with a few specially chosen words for blocking every effort to utilize American energy resources in Alaska or offshore. Let them know how good it feels to be green, even if you don’t have any green left in your wallet.

But wait, we’re looking on the bright side, right? Well, the bright side of high energy costs could be that even the latte leftists might be forced to look within our own borders to find new energy sources. Finally, perhaps, we can get past the fear-mongering environmentalists who have nixed every alternative and stuck us with land-grabbing, price-inflating, famine-producing, engine-destroying, mileage-reducing ethanol. Maybe we can finally drill for some American oil, build some nuclear power plants, and get on with life.

We Americans have been happily spoiled by the riches of our land and our amazing, but hard-earned, high standard of living. Maybe the upside to a down economy is the reminder it brings of the days when life wasn’t so easy, when budgets were tighter. Because those memories aren’t all bad. Remember when you worked harder and pinched every penny? A lot of people would call those the “good old days” and truly mean it.

Sometimes we forget how to make lemonade out of lemons. And we forget the sweet taste of that lemonade. See if any of these ideas could make this summer smoother and more profitable.

Ten ways to make lemonade out of lemons in a bad economy:

1) Steak is overrated, so save your money and instead throw a good sausage or bratwurst on the grill.

2) Take a swing in the backyard hammock. It’s the cheapest, most relaxing summer entertainment around, and it will lower your blood pressure.

3) Who needs expensive, filling microbrews or Starbucks beverages that take a master’s degree in nutrition to order? Grab a Bud Lite, or better yet, brew up a batch of homemade sun tea every morning. Hey, it’s solar-powered.

4) Do your own yardwork. Get out there and mow the lawn, trim the shrubs, plant the flowers. Not only will you shape up and slim down, you could help solve the immigration crisis.

5) Rediscover the library. Literacy is underrated, and a few well-chosen classics can make the summer fly by. Besides, movies are expensive, and the over-paid, spoiled movie stars are part of the problem.

6) Avoid the family reunion picnic. Think of the money you’ll save on therapy.

7) Put your kids to work. While you bulk up the family income and teach the kids a thing or two about hard work, the whole neighborhood benefits from cheap Kool-Aid and low-priced lawn mowing services.

8) Make massive quantities of potato salad. It’s cheap and delicious. And ethanol production has sent the prices soaring on corn on the cob.

9) Keep your political contributions for 2008 in your pocket. If you’re a Democrat, they don’t need you — it’s already in the bag. If you’re a Republican, this year is going to be a ride on “The Minnow” — lost at sea.

10) Discover home remedies. Grow your own backyard herbal medicines and beat back those skyrocketing doctor bills. If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry. A good shot of whiskey cures just about anything. Just ask the Eastside Guy.

BrainstormNW - June 2008

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