Gotta go fast, gotta go faster, faster, faster, faster, faster, faster. Moving at the speed of sound. There's an amped up, super sonic hedgehog put on this planet to do battle with the nefarious Dr. Eggman who is hell bent on world domination. How do I know this? I have an eight year old son who tells me this is true. Sonic X is a popular video game and staple of Saturday morning cartoon fare. Saturday morning cartoons…it sounds so quaint. Back in my day, we had Scooby Doo and his sidekick Shaggy. Scooby and Shaggy were just the opposite of Sonic X. They always had the munchies which is indicative of marijuana enthusiasts. They were slightly paranoid and didn't move very fast unless they were being chased by some guy dressed up in a werewolf costume trying to scare away folks from his goldmine. And what went on in that psycadelic mystery van with Fred, Velma, and Daphne? We may never find out, but I bet LSD was involved. Just saying. But Sonic X could induce one to seizure if they chose to keep up with his dizzying speed and agility. And unlike Scooby and Shaggy, Sonic would never say "zoinks". That's a stoner term.
But Sonic X is not the only one moving faster these days. According to a recent study by the The Journal of the American Medical Association, older adults who typically walk one meter per second or faster live longer than expected. It was concluded that walking speed can be interpreted as an important sign of someone's overall health. Word of this study has really gotten out. I don't see any slow walkers anymore. I've also noticed that the zombies so prevalent on AMC's Walking Dead have even begun to pick up the pace.
Our cars have gotten faster and our speed limits have risen to accommodate these faster cars. Forget the old slogan "stay alive, drive 55". In Texas, there is a 41 mile stretch of toll road from Austin to San Antonio that has a posted limit of 85 mph. The people that use this toll road are also the same people rushing to the nearest mall so they can walk faster. Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for a nonprofit highway safety association admits, "There's a bit of an arms race with speed limits, so we fully expect other states to push to increase their limits". And if that isn't fast enough for you, visit the Texas Motor Speedway where due to the way the track is banked, Indy cars average 215 mph per lap! But the high G forces the drivers experience routinely produce about 55 lbs. of pressure on the neck. Unfortunately, this situation reduces blood flow to the brain which can leave a driver disoriented. It seems the machines have outpaced the human body's ability to keep up with their increased speed and efficiency.
Everything goes up in smoke a lot faster. I accept global warming. I accept the fact that very little is and will be done to curb mankind's appetite for the burning of carbon fuels. It is what it is. No nation, no matter how well meaning, would ever sign off on a protocol or treaty that would severely diminish its economic activity and that includes that 800 lb. gorilla in the room – China. But accepting the inevitable, it's hard for me to literally watch my own country burn up. Those melting glaciers can't get to me soon enough. The West, the Southwest, even parts of the Southeast are burning and have been burning up for the past several years. U.S. Forest Chief Tom Tidwell testifying before congress said "The largest issue we now face is how to adapt our management to anticipate climate change impacts and to mitigate their potential effects". Amen. Since 1991, the U.S. Forest Service budget set aside for wildfires has gone up from 13% to more than 40%. For my friends who are climate change deniers, I don't dissuade them from holding their particular point of view. I do however ask them to be practical. These sustained and deadly wildfires will require only more resources to combat them. They show no signs of subsiding from one year to the next. It's just too dry. The recent Arizona wildfires are a cautionary example. 19 brave firefighters were killed fighting one particular deadly blaze. And these firemen came from an elite corps trained to fight such blazes. And if they couldn't win, then what hope do I have in my swath of hell's half acre here in Texas. My garden hose and I don't stand a chance. More training, more equipment, more money, more…is needed. Everything goes up in smoke a lot faster. A faster response is needed. Whether you believe in global warming or not, I think we can all agree on that.
There's no time to be lackadaisical. Wean yourself off of the hillbilly heroin. Fight through the pain. It's all adrenaline and speed baby. Grab that 5 hour energy drink and let's go! You gotta go faster!