Budget cuts and cigarette butts: Extreme predictions and experiences

Donna P. Crilly

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Money, the passion and drive of many, can have some ego-trimming effects when there’s none left to spare after we put gas in our tanks and keep walls around our beds.

The economy, eating away at the insides of our pockets like termites to wood, results me buying bags of generic “Crispy Rice” cereal instead of boxes of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. It results in the purchase of “Bismate” instead of Pepto-Bismol.

Junk mail, once kinling for the bonfire, is now a coupon mecca of assorted dicounts for smog checks and Subway sandwiches. If it’s not on sale, it won’t be sold (to me).

People waiting in line at the grocery store tap their feet, roll their eyes and flip through gossip magazines waiting for me to fish out the tens of coupons I have for cashiers to scan.

It’s not only me who’s squeezing the copper out of every penny. My good friend Kyle, with whom I spend a random day once every couple of months pulled out a pack of Marlboro 27 cigarettes at our last meeting.

I noticed that it was out of his character to smoke the brand and jokingly asked about it. His answer was simple: “Buy one, get one free.”

I said “ew” and then asked for two because I was out. I rationed that I could I treat them like four by smoking them really slow and half at a time. Cigarette butts, disgusting and stale, were my saviour.

If the economy keeps sinking in the quicksand and umemployment keeps rising, it very well could cause some outrageous situations.

Lay-offs at work could result in many degree carrying scholars lined up like ants at the doors of ordinary, mindless jobs. One full-time job opening at a diner would produce a wave of applicants piling in to convince the manager that he/or she is the right person to serve apple strudel; a strudel pandemonium.

Budget cuts at schools could soon require class sessions to be held on the baseball field where students will take notes with their fingers in the dirt. The same professor will teach a 1000-student class: algebra, basic piano, and creative writing all in a one-hour session.

And of course, I will continue to bite my nails to the quick, chewing them and spitting, yes spitting, them out for lack of the ability to buy cigarettes.

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