Okay, so based on commonly understood signs and symptoms of drug addiction I'm going to help you, loyal reader, determine if you are addicted to oil. I will also apply this rubric to my own lifestyle choices and make changes where appropriate. I have come to realize that oil dependency and our auto-centric lifestyles have much bigger impacts than I had previously paid attention to.
If you only read one (secular) book this year, read James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency. This is the first non-fiction post-apocalyptic book I've read, and if you don't think Kunstler's view of what could potentially happen in the world then don't bother taking the oil addiction quiz. You're going to be blindsided when the OD comes anyway.
Give yourself a point for each positive answer (YES).
1. Can you (or do you) sit for long periods of time in your car, either moving or not, on a daily basis?
2. If you go too long without making a car trip do you find an excuse to "go to town" or "go out for a bit"?
3. Does your life seem to revolve around driving and getting places on the roads? Are you always "on the go"?
4. Have you seemed to abandon activities that you enjoy such as exercise and sports, hobbies which require physical effort? Do you choose the the elevator over the stairs?
5. Even when gas prices are high and there are negative news stories about oil dependency and depletion, do you continue driving for asinine reasons (to go rent a movie, hang out at the mall or make a third trip to the grocery store in one day)?
6. Do you get angry when you find yourself back in the car fighting traffic, but do not turn around and go back home immediately?
7. Do you have high stress levels related to traffic, road rage and vehicle maintenance and upkeep? Do you have stress-related weight gain in conjunction with auto-related stress?
8. Are you making payments on a car and the related insurance and continually unable to make payments at the same time other personal finances suffer?
9. Is your life arranged completely around places that are only easily accessed by automobile? Can you walk to school, work, the store, church, the movies, etc., or do you have to get in your car for EVERYTHING? Do you need your car to accomplish simple tasks, such as mailing a letter, getting groceries or visiting friends?
10. Do you occasionally ignore common traffic laws, such as coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, stopping for ALL red lights, exceeding the speed limit (even one mile an hour over)?
Your total ____
Let's go on the standard (at least when I was there) public school grading system in reverse. (Warning: no actual science went into the creation of this quiz)
9-10 points is failing. F. You lose. You’re addicted to oil. You're part of the problem and will be up against the wall with the Oil Barons like Dick Cheney when the revolution comes. PS: You are a moto-fascist.
7-8 points: D. You're mostly addicted, but there's still hope for you. You might have been salutatorian of your high school class, but you’re guzzling from the oil well like just about everyone else. Don't worry, you’re probably "average" in your oil consumption. Someone will be over later to drain your gas tank and cut your brake lines.
5-6 points: C. Middle of the road, you aren't addicted, but you sure are doing your fair share of damage to the environment and you’re approaching rock star levels of consumption. Throw your car keys down a storm drain before its too late. Did you remember to take your house key off first? You are a "C" student after all.
3-4 points: B. Congratulate yourself for making better choices, but don't pat yourself on the back. You might hit your headrest or drop your cell phone.
1-2 points: Yay! You get an A. Do you want a cookie or something? Take that last step. Sell you car. Or better yet, roll it off a high cliff into a deep pool in the river. Make sure to get all your epithelials off first.
0 points: You live in the Amazon and probably don’t have computer access to take this quiz. You might survive the apocalypse anyway.
So how do you kick oil addiction? Easy, you don't. We can't. Fossil fuel use permeates our culture to its very bones.
Everything we use, abuse and throw away each and every day in American is somehow dependent on oil to fulfill its purpose.
I could have added a few more criteria but I wanted to keep the math simple (for myself). If you can answer yes to the following questions give yourself more points and understand you will be poorly prepared for apocalypse.
11) Do you deny there is a shortage of oil in the world?
12) Do you vehemently defend your right to drive your Hummer?
13) Do you have a bumper sticker that reads "One More Car"?
14) Do you think the suburbs are America's hope and future?
PS, for my upcoming birthday (37th!) please help me get to 5,000 total pageviews for FPE. As of 4:15pm 1/26/11 we are holding at 4,913. Less than a hundred views to go! If the current viewing rate continues I should have 5,000 by the end of tomorrow.