When Did I Move to a Third World Country?

I find myself looking around and wondering, “When did I move to a Third World Country?” I know I’m old, but I simply don’t remember boarding a plane (they apparently never leave the airport anyhow) or a Covid cruise ship, so I can’t figure out how I got here. Please have patience with me as I try to explain my confusion. Third World Country

I have been blessed to live in the United States for 71 years, during which time our country has repeatedly fought wars for freedom, worked hard to develop effective modes of transportation and a successful working economy. We have spent millions, perhaps billions, to improve public health and health care, develop effective medicines, decrease the infant mortality rate, fight off various infectious diseases, provide adequate food, clothing, and shelter, constantly improve law enforcement to make our citizens safe, fight terrorism, combat illegal drugs, and on and on. Until about a decade ago, give or take, we were doing fine for the most part. But now…? Third World Country

Perhaps I can explain my confusion in terms of something that happened to my family in the 1980s. We lived in Northern Virginia for seven years in a town called Herndon, VA. Herndon was located not too far from Dulles Airport, and we had moved out there to get away from the ever-increasing congestion as the population spread outward from Washington, DC deep into Virginia. One day my wife brought in the mail, and we had received a letter from the local county government. This letter informed us that we no longer lived in Herndon, VA. We now lived in a place called Oak Hills, VA. This came as a bit of a surprise, since to my knowledge we had not sold our house, there were no movers involved, and everything looked exactly the same. Third World Country

My wife, being the effective detective in our family, did a little investigating. She discovered that there actually was a place named Oak Hills, VA. It was the next town over, and the real estate values in Oak Hills were considerably higher than in Herndon. Therefore, an innovative realtor had approached the local government officials with the idea that if they incorporated Herndon into the Oak Hills address, they could increase the housing prices in Herndon. This would conveniently also increase the local tax revenue. It was quite a relief to me to find out that I had not, in fact, moved and just forgot about it. Thank God there was a reasonable and rational explanation, human greed. My detective wife always says, when there’s a problem just follow the money. Turns out she’s usually right. Third World Country

As usual, it has taken me several paragraphs to get to the point of this blog post. Thank you for your patience. As far as I can remember, I was born in the United States of America, the land of the free, and the home of the brave. It’s also a place where you could depend on stocked shelves at the grocery store, the transportation system to work, the police to protect you, access to gasoline that wouldn’t break your bank account, and lots of other wonderful things. Then mysterious things began to happen, and because of the lyin’ news media and the lyin’, cheatin’, thievin’ politicians (my grandma’s words, not mine), I have no idea what’s going on. Third World Country  

For the past decade, or perhaps longer, our federal government (note: Congress is responsible for spending the money) has chosen the platinum infinity credit card plan. That’s the one where you just keep charging and charging, with a limit of…infinity. And when you can’t pay it back, you just print more funny money to fake increased wealth to…well…infinity. This way you get to pretend that some imaginary day in the imaginary future you can pretend to pay off your infinite debt. (That’s a lot of pretending). Third World Country 

Where the hell do I go to get one of those platinum infinity credit cards? I’d use it to buy my own small country (I’m not greedy), and then ask for foreign aid from the U.S. government. They’d probably give me a couple of billion if I asked nicely and let them set up an embassy. They’d send me even more if I went to war with, say, Canada (they’re close and easier to invade). Third World Country 

I’m just guessing (because as I said I really don’t know what the hell’s going on) that all of this charging, spending and printing has devalued the dollar, resulting in this rather disturbing inflation. My wife does the grocery shopping (I’d have a stroke if I went into Publix and saw the current prices), and she insists on coming home and telling me things like, “Eggs are now really golden…the price has tripled.” Or “You know how you wanted steak for the 4th of July, well steak is a kajillion dollars a pound, so we’re having tube steak instead.” (translation; hot dogs). Third World Country 

Then there’s the ever popular, “You know that fill in the blank (cheese, canned soup, bologna, etc) that you like? There was none on the shelves. But the good news, there’s plenty of toilet paper, at a dollar a sheet.” There are apparently some items so expensive the stores can’t afford to carry them anymore. Or maybe it’s the infamous supply chain problems. Again, I don’t know what’s really going on. I’ll have to watch the news again so I can get even more confused.” Third World Country 

The next issue is probably the most disturbing. In the United States of America, the supposedly most powerful and wealthy nation in the world (if you ignore the platinum infinity credit card thing), there is apparently no baby formula available anywhere. According to the news (they lie so much I’m not even sure I know who is really president), whoever is currently president is seems to be begging Mexico to send us some baby formula. BABY FORMULA. Third World Country 

The greatest nation on the planet can’t provide baby formula, and apparently babies still like to eat. (It’s been so long since my children were babies, I can’t actually remember for sure, but I’m guessing it’s true). And we’re begging Mexico. During my lifetime, and as early as last year, I’ve heard things like, “Don’t drink the water or eat the food in Mexico, or you’ll end up doing the Mexican two-step.” “Don’t go to Mexico, because Covid is rampant.” “Stay out of Mexico, or you’ll be kidnapped by a drug cartel.” Now it’s, “Mexico, please send us your baby formula?” Third World Country 

My wife and I have two cars, which is absurd because since Covid hit a couple of years ago the only time we drive is to charge the batteries. Be that as it may, we went insane and decided that for a change of scenery we’d take a short trip and stay at a Marriott on the ocean. Because of Covid, we’ve been sitting in our small condo for so long we were beginning to think the world is flat (that’s really just our condo floor). Anyhow, we took our SUV, and when we pulled up to the pump gas was $4.98/gallon. This was interesting, and depressing. Apparently, gasoline is made out of steak and eggs? Now I’m really confused. Third World Country 

Anyhow, there was a plumber filling up his truck at the pump next to ours. I actually heard him crying, and mumbling, “A couple of years ago it costed me $30 to fill up my truck. Today it’s $120 for fill the same truck. I’m not gonna make it.” I was going to try to comfort him and explain to him why the gas prices were so high, and then I realized I didn’t have a clue myself. I’ve heard everything from cancelled oil drilling leases to pushing us to electric cars to the Russians to aliens stole all of our oil for their spaceships. Third World Country  

I think I’ll go with the alien thing. It’s a lot less painful than hearing that our current president is begging other countries to sell us oil. If I were the leader of that other country, I’d ask, how do you plan to pay for it? And I wouldn’t accept the platinum infinity card. Besides, aren’t we all supposed to buy $46,000 electric cars? I know I’m gonna’ rush right out and trade in my 2020 SUV with 5 miles on it (I haven’t driven much since Covid hit) for a $46,000 electric car with an exploding battery. Third World Country 

Which brings me to the next thing, the transportation system…used to work fine. Now we’re all supposed to rush out and buy a $46,000 electric car this afternoon, tomorrow at the latest, to save the environment. This appears to be a mandate from the federal government (or is it those damn Martians again? Depends on whether you listen to Fox or CNN). If it is the federal government, aren’t they supposed to represent all the people (not just the ones who have an extra $46,000 laying around). Third World Country   

I routinely read the car magazines and according to them, electric car batteries often get hot and spontaneously combust. The quality control on building electric cars is not all that great yet. Then there’s the US electrical grid that will probably collapse, the lack of sufficient range to go anywhere, not even to grandma’s house, etc. And something about a lack of computer chips (see below). I even read somewhere that in L.A. where electric cars are prolific, people with gasoline powered cars are parking in electrical charging stations because there’s no other place to park. Third World Country 

Meanwhile gas is priced out of sight for those of us who haven’t yet sold our first born to come up with the $46,000. And worse, there’s the computer chip shortage thing. Apparently, whoever makes computer chips (depending on which TV station you watch it’s either Silicon Valley, China, Martians or Elvis), they can’t keep up with the demand. So, they give big tech first crack at the chips for cell phones, laptops, Alexa, Siri and the like (why should the AIs get all the chips? Unfair to humans). EVs get second priority, and gasoline powered cars are a distant third. My daughter just tried to buy a new Toyota Corolla, and the dealership only had two, and those weren’t even at the dealership yet. They were on a truck somewhere, and the truck was probably out of gas and couldn’t afford another fill-up. Third World Country  

Car companies apparently can’t get enough chips to finish off their internal combustion engine cars and are parking them on lots unfinished. You can buy a very expensive giant paperweight and what…beg Mexico, or China, or Elvis for some computer chips to make the thing run? You can also buy a loaded car with all the options, only to find out that most of the options don’t work because there’s no chip in the car to run unimportant things like your A/C, safety equipment, brakes, whatever. Third World Country 

We used to send all our old used cars to Mexico. Now we need to ask for them back. They’re worth more than the new ones made today. With inflation and the price of gas finishing off the middle class (Covid took many of the small businesses out already), there’s going to be nobody left to buy electric cars. At least we won’t have to worry about pollution. And obesity will no longer be a problem. We’ll be a peddlin’ our bicycles everywhere. Third World Country

Then there’s the airline industry, whose new slogan is apparently, “You wanna fly somewhere? Good luck with that.” My wife and I made the mistake of purchasing tickets to fly to Canada for vacation in a couple of months. I got an email from the airline the other day informing me that they are very sorry, but they are planning on canceling 40-50% of their flights in July/August because they don’t have the staff to handle all the flights currently booked. Plus, their flight staff keep inconveniently coming down with Covid, causing more flight cancellations. I have friends who took days to get to their destination, and one elderly couple spent several hours sitting on the tarmac waiting for flight staff to show up. They probably couldn’t afford the gas to drive to the airport. Third World Country 

I’m guessing the price of fuel is driving up the price of airline tickets, since the electric passenger jet is probably still a long way in the future. So, our once great airline industry is now also kaput. How do I travel for business or pleasure? I drive my electric car, with insufficient range to get any farther than grandma’s house? I drive my new gasoline powered car, without A/C or brakes since those chips weren’t available? And I rob a bank to get the money to pay for the inflated gas prices? Third World Country 

This is beginning to sound more and more like what I have always been told was the third world, or “developing countries”. I thought we’d already developed, but perhaps we are something new, a ‘de-developed country’. Is that a word? Perhaps in simpler terms, we’re goin’ backwards, circling the drain, spiraling out of control (it’s fun to play with hyperbole). Third World Country 

Finally, there’s the issue of public safety. Again, I don’t know how true it is, since I can’t believe anything I hear, see or read on TV, the internet, or the newspaper (is there even such a thing anymore?). But I have heard that it’s no longer safe to wander around the USA. Last summer someone got the idea to burn down several cities in the West, and there’s apparently multiple shootings every day throughout the country. Third World Country 

Somebody got the idea to defund the police which made them mad. Now it’s my understanding that many of the police have chosen to run away from the bullets instead of towards them, which seems like a logical reaction to massive salary and budget cuts. Frankly, there’s not enough money in the world to convince me to run towards bullets, ever, but then I’m old and don’t really run anywhere anymore.  Third World Country  

Now the murder and crime rates are up in most major cities, and if I make the mistake of watching the news I immediately go hide under the bed. Again, I don’t know who is responsible for this mess. Depending on which TV station you watch, it’s a particular political party, the president, Martians, Congress, or the Forestry Department. Let me explain my understanding of this last one. Third World Country   

The US Department of Forestry regulates trees, some pistol and rifle stocks are made of wood, police departments around the country use firearms, thus responsible for killing too many trees. Therefore, we should defund the police for killing off all those trees. This explanation makes as much sense as anything else I’ve heard in the past decade. Also, apparently some of the folks who decided to defund the police have had their houses broken into or been robbed and would like to be friends with the police again. I’m guessing the police are ultimately going to get raises, but again, I have no idea what’s really going on.  Third World Country 

And if I try to get my news from social media, like Facebook or Twitter, people with strange names like killerman45, or nastyboy73 start calling me names. Apparently, this is because I’m alive, they’re using fake names (or they watched the news and got so confused they forgot their real names) and they’re probably mad that their new car’s brakes or A/C don’t work due to lack of chips. In any event, this lack of public safety sounds a lot like the description that I’ve always heard of for a third world country. Third World Country    

Overall, I would like to personally ask whoever is turning our wonderful nation into a third world country to please stop it. My family and I would like to be able to afford to put gasoline in our car without selling one of the children. We might need to drive someplace frivolous, like to the grocery store, or the doctor. I would personally appreciate it if my adult daughters could be safe to leave their homes without fear of being shot. I’m sure people with babies would very much appreciate it if they could find baby formula to keep their little ones alive. Third World Country 

It would be great to buy a plane ticket and have some level of confidence that a) the flight actually exists, b) will leave at some point and c) will arrive at the promised destination sometime in this millennium. I personally would prefer to drive a car that will not spontaneously combust and will go far enough to get me to grandmas, who hopefully will have a charging station in her garage. Third World Country  

If whoever is doing this doesn’t stop it, and we don’t turn things around, then we won’t have to worry about pollution, or Martians, or hatred, or killer bees killing us. It’s one of those self-fulfilling prophecies, where we are going to turn ourselves into a third world country on our own, and ultimately back into the stone age, with our own bad and reactive decisions. Third World Country 

Perhaps this is simply one of the cycles of life. The dinosaurs disappeared, man evolved, and now man is devolving, and the dinosaurs are going to reappear. The bad news, many dinosaurs were carnivores, so humans will have something new to worry about…we’ll be lunch. The good news, didn’t fossil fuels come from dinosaurs in the first place? (Assuming any of this has anything to do with fossil fuels. I’ll be sure to watch Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and The Mentalist tonight for an explanation, so I can become even more confused). Third World Country

If you liked this blog post, you’ll enjoy my comedy murder mysteries Pleasuria: Take As Directed, Murder by Road Trip, the winner of the 2022 Firebird Book Award for mystery and comedy, The Realtor’s Curse. Go to johnjjessop.com for more and links to buy the books.