I trust you received the memo: Energy conservation is cool again. It hasn't been this hip since the '70s, when the terms "environmentalist" and "Mideast Oil Crisis" were invented, almost at the same time, strangely enough.
We're going green.
Or is it blue?
These are hard times, and hard times call for desperate measures. The governor suggested a four-day workweek. This will save gas on the commute and electricity to power the office and cut a few strokes from your golf game.
Others have suggested that businesses close and people stop working on Sunday. This is not exactly a novel idea. I think it was mentioned once, by, oh, um, Moses, who got the idea from a higher authority. Religious considerations aside, maybe the fourth commandment was also about going green, too " ... Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day ... thou shalt not do any work."
Go green: Save energy and possibly your soul, too.
These are fine ideas, but we've only just scratched the surface. As a public service, here are a few more suggestions:
1. Acquire a dog. For starters, he can clean the dishes. He's Maytag with a tongue, and there's not a lot of maintenance just throw food into a bowl, pat him on the head, and he'll do the rest. You can decide which breed does the job best, but in my experience the Lab is unbeatable. For starters, they have Gene Simmons' tongue. A Lab will sit by the sink for three weeks just to lick a spot of butter on a plate. But if you need a dog to dry the dishes, I recommend a long-haired breed, such as a collie. Dogs have other uses, as well. Columnist Dave Barry once proposed acquiring dozens of small dogs to heat your home with their panting. Fine temperature adjustments are made by throwing a few dogs out the window, as needed.
2. Cancel Monday. Nobody likes Monday anyway. Think of how many depressing songs have been sung about Monday the Mamas and Papas' "Monday, Monday," the Carpenters' "Rainy days and Mondays," the Bangles' "Manic Monday ... " Replace Monday with another Saturday, and, voila, there's your four-day workweek.
3. Convince your athletic club and high school athletic department to hook up all exercise equipment to the local electric power station. While riding the stationary bike and climbing the stair climber, you're providing a public utility for the city. Just for that, you get charged a lower electric bill each month, depending on how many kilowatt hours you produced. All at once, you lose weight, stay in shape and provide electricity.
4. Take away the kid's car. Look, there's a bus that comes to your neighborhood every morning to take the kids to school, except it's usually emptier than Simon Cowell's heart. Is there a law that says kids have to drive to school each day? If they don't like the bus, there is an alternative form of transportation available: It's called a bike. Think of the millions of gallons of gas that would be saved and fattest-in-the-world kids would get some exercise.
5. Buy a horse or a camel. Actually, anything with hooves will do. You can ride it to work or to the store, then turn it loose in the yard to "mow" and "fertilize" the grass. It's a three-in-one machine. No more gas-swilling, exhaust-spewing lawn mower, and no more environmentally unsound fertilizers either. Too much trouble? OK, ride a bike, but keep a horse or a goat for the yard. They'll make a great conversation piece, too.
6. Stop exercising (unless you are biking or walking to school and work see No. 4). Exercising produces a lot of heavy breathing, which puts more hot air into the atmosphere, thus contributing to global warming. In fact, you should limit the amount of talking you do, as well. Dr. Phil should be stopped immediately.
7. Shower outdoors with a hose. Water the grass while you clean up. Better yet, shower on the lawn with family and (really good) friends.
8. Don't open the refrigerator door. This wastes energy. If you must open it, do so only once a day and make sure the family is there for the event so they can get what they need in one energy-saving, gigantic feeding frenzy.9. Don't use electronic devices. If you are using a computer, shut it off right now.
Doug Robinson's column runs on Tuesdays. Please e-mail email@example.com.