If Life was an NFL Game…

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster

I’m gonna venture a guess that the kids in my neighborhood weren’t the only ones that played this game.

If we didn’t have enough guys around to play 3 on 3 football, we would play something called, “Kill the Man With the Ball”.

This prehistoric, violent ritual would involve a football and a few kids wanting to actually play football when there weren’t enough available to have teams.

The ball would get tossed in the air and someone would grab it and attempt to stay upright as long as he could while everybody else piled on before he crossed the goal.

In the Eastview Allotment, where I grew up, Raymond Cervinski might have been the champ of “Kill the Man With the Football”.

He was big for his age and seem to enjoy dragging the rest of us “light-weights” around the yard.

I don’t know how we determined a winner or if anyone actually achieved a score of sorts.

But we’d end up battered, bruised with our jeans grass-stained and muddy just like in an actual game.

It was all about “piling on”.

Sort of like the economy is doing to us these days.

I took my 5 gallon lawn mower gas can to the station recently and while I never totally fill it (to keep it easier to handle), my normal 4 gallon load set me back just under $20.

I have chosen to not totally fill up my truck because there was a time when I thought $75+ for a fill-up was lewd.

When I read that the nation’s CEO’s made more money in the past year than ever, I feel compelled to wonder if they are really concerned about old John Foster and his friends paying close to $5 a gallon for gas.

If this was the NFL, the officials would be tossing a penalty flag for unnecessary roughness.

Or at least holding, as in “holding me up at gunpoint” while rifling through my wallet and pockets.

Listen, this inflation issue is not so much about having it but rather, having so much, so fast.

Back in the 50’s when I went to Johnny’s Food Basket to get a bottle of Mountain Dew, it was a dime.

A loaf of bread, maybe a quarter?

If you had a buck, you could get more than 4 gallons of gas in the car.

Now you can’t get a gallon for $4!

My wife and I like to dine out.

A lot.

We order the same meals we did 6 months ago, the bill is significantly higher.

I almost feel compelled to drink more coffee than I really want to because you need to choke down 3 cups to keep it under a buck a cup. where the prices used to be.

Now, I don’t fault the folks cooking the food and waiting the tables.

But, I wonder if some businesses aren’t playing a retail version of “Kill the Man With the Ball” by just jacking up prices because everyone else is.

Piling on, maybe?

Anytime something is costlier, we hear, “Blame the coronavirus” or “It’s a supply chain issue” or “that darn Vladimir Putin” is the reason.

Remember the term “disposable income”?

It’s rapidly becoming “disposed income”.

Now, there’s talk of a recession.

By definition, we have one of those during “a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2 successive sessions.

If I’m reading this right, we had an increase in GDP of 6.9% in the 4th quarter of of 2021.

However, the GDP slipped 1.4% in the first quarter of 2022.

Meanwhile, the economists and politicians argue over how long inflation will keep increasing and if a recession is coming, we out here in the “back 40” wonder how long we’ll be able to afford gas to drive to the store to pay even more for foodstuffs (even it’s available!)

Refer to the baby formula issue.

I’ve told you before that I recall my Father telling all of us at the dinner table in the early 60’s that w he was going to get a pay raise and would be earning $10,000 a year.

For a family of 6 plus a big Boxer dog and parakeet.

We believed we were really rich.

My sisters all thought that meant Mom could buy a pack of Oreos every time she went shopping.

If this was a football game, somebody would be throwing a flag and we’d be going to the instant replay to determine who deserves a penalty.

But if the replay shows you and I were roughed or held, who’s the opponent and how does he or she get penalized?

When I was a kid, “Kill the Man With the Ball” was sorta fun.

Today, as a consumer…well, I’m not laughing.

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