“The Paddy Inflammation of my Deflated Sense of Living”

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Going to the grocery store these days is much like going to the dentist.

It ends up hurting badly, and there is seemingly not a thing that you can do about it.

Taking a day off from work to go to the dentist is like having to take vacation days for a funeral. It just sucks, and it’s a waste of a day that is supposed to be a pre-packaged little personal Sabbath for your psyche so you can do really important things like clean out the garage or take your wife and kid to Six Flags.

You see, unless you want to end up looking like Shane McGowan (the toothless and notoriously drunk singer of the Pogues whose only talent other than power drinking is putting the word “Paddy” into almost all song titles) you have to go, and that is why dentists make a killing. Most of us are terrified of ending up with “summer teeth” and go to great lengths to keeping them white (bleaching and those darned whitening strips that make your mouth taste like minty gym socks for days) and looking like we’ve got a full set (hello veneers … I mean gorgeous).

Yet, the difference between dental care and going to the grocery store is that you only have to try to communicate with a very well educated and paid man or woman while they are gagging you with metal objects twice a year, but you have to go to the grocery store at least once a week.

With the skyrocketing cost of food, coupled with $4 per gallon gasoline and the normal cost of living just seemingly going up because it’s a Tuesday, I fear that my son is going to find me hiding behind the couch one day curled up in a fetal position clutching the monthly bills and disregarding my drool and my tears.

Truly, I hope that it doesn’t get to that point.

While I’m sure that there are some in this world that think that the “heroin chic” of Shane McGowan is somewhat “edgy”, the majority of people in this world do not want to end up looking like a toothless lout that appears to not have showered (or eaten) in weeks. If that were the case, the Alamo in West Ocean City would be Ocean City’s Viper Room or Copa Cabana.

And that certainly isn’t the case.

For as much as the price of everything is going up, you’d think that the business owner would be doing better, but realistically, the cost to put out a product in today’s market is oftentimes pricier than the profits gained back from your product.

So, I guess if that lush Shane McGowan was writing the new Pogues masterpiece he would call it “Yer damned if you do and Yer damned if you don’t, Paddy.”

The current food inflation is the worst in 17 years, according to the Associated Press, and it’s gotten to a point where some parents are resorting to the Britney Spears-book-of-parenting and giving their kids soda rather than milk because it’s freaking cheaper.

It’s past the point of what many that grew up in extremely urban or obscenely rural areas knew to be normal: The watering down of soups, having Kool-Aid be the choice bevy in the fridge and finding a million and one ways to make eating hot dogs interesting.

There are people that live not very far from here that are choosing between paying the electric bill and going to the grocery store this week. It’s dire, but no one wants to talk about that. There are riots over food all over the world, and many are turning a blind eye to it because we are up to our necks in a world of trouble, and it’s not the kind of trouble that you get yourself into on Friday night.

By comparison, American households only spend 7.6 percent of their incomes on food, whereas in other countries, it can be up to as much as 40 percent of a family’s earnings to pay for food (Vietnam, Egypt for example). What’s troubling and making some people turn around and just start “grabbing their ankles” when the cashier hands them their grocery bill, is that American consumers are getting hit from every side, like a drunk frat boy picking a fight with a Gold Glove boxer.

In the last fiscal quarter, the rate of house foreclosures went up 112 percent, which is one in every 194 houses on the national average. Historically, the one thing that brings that up and out of the so-called woods is when people start buying up the property again.

Unfortunately, getting a loan is a daunting task as the big boys of financial planning and lending like Countrywide are reporting loses of $893 million from the first fiscal quarter.

There seems to be no end in sight, and I’m not saying that people are going to start rioting at Food Lion, but people can only stand to pay double for what they are used to paying for something for so long.

I mean you just have to look at gas prices to prove that point. Gas has gone up 200% since Bush took office. I’m not saying that there’s a direct correlation between a man from a notorious oil family running the country, the skyrocketing price of gas and the astronomical profits made by big oil companies, but at this point, I would love to hear a disagreeing rationale.

I’m in need of a good laugh.

The least that they could do is make the prices of certain items less and absorb some of those costs, instead of jacking them up out of simple supply and demand because they need to make a buck.

Why not make organic food cheaper, as it’s healthier and better for us. If we must consume less, why can’t it be of a better quality than Spam-o-nuggets?

What’s sad is that this column is based on genuine concern for the well beings of fellow humans, and naysayers will dismiss it as a leftist rant or yet another fascist article penned by the liberal media as an excuse to bash our poor old President.

Truth is, we’re talking about people starving, losing their houses, and going bankrupt because normal things that they need are being priced out of their financial ballpark for them to keep up.

Shouldn’t a government help its people rather than just continue to make record profits off its everyday needs?

If prices go up any higher, I’m going to start to think that the government thinks of its people in the same regards as Shane McGowan feels about showering and sober days.

“Who bloody needs ‘em paddy?!”

Email me at domspino@yahoo.com

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