'We need to pretend we're not interested in gas'

Commentator Rex Huppke says if we all act like gas is passé, we can concentrate on more important things -- like jet packs.

All this talk of high gas prices seems to be distracting Americans from what I consider a far more important transportation issue: jet packs.

According to the futuristic cartoons and television shows of my youth -- we're all supposed to have jet packs by now. But we don't. And that is deeply disappointing.

I'm from a generation that viewed "The Jetsons" and "The Six Million Dollar Man" as reasonable prognosticators of things to come. But instead of robot butlers and super-fast bionic legs, all we have is a loosely optimistic promise that our Buicks may one day run on algae. Bor-ing.

I place the blame for our jet pack deficiency squarely on the nation's current preoccupation with the cost of gasoline, which in some parts of the country is creeping close to $5 per gallon.

To get us back on track and refocused on creating a way to fly from the backyard to work with rockets strapped to our backs, I offer this quick solution to our gas woes: We need to pretend we're not all that interested in gas. Maybe just for a week or two. Stop using the car for unnecessary things like a trip to your in-laws or your boss' barbecue. And start saying things like, "You guys remember when gas was popular? SO lame!" Send out tweets that say, "Love walking the kids to school!" or "Selling all my old gas cans because who needs those things?"

Pretty soon, the oil companies will fear that demand is plummeting. And if I learned anything from heavily investing in Beanie Babies back in the late '90s, when demand drops, so does the price.

As long as we all play it real cool, act like gas is passé, we'll be back to reasonable gas prices in no time. And then we can focus on jet packs. And our nation's dire need for inexpensive fuel to power them.

About the author

Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @RexHuppke.

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