Pharos-Tribune

Columns

June 7, 2013

WOLFSIE: Current problems

I’m a competitive person. For example, I obsess about how my lawn looks in compar-ison to others on my block. I noticed some bare spots recently, so I addressed the issue with a trip to a local nursery. Then at the Memorial Day get-together last week, people were discussing Joe’s yard, which was suffering from the same problem. I thought, there, but for the grace of sod, go I. (That was a long way to travel for a joke, wasn’t it?)

Now I have a new challenge to deal with. It began with a letter from Indianapolis Power and Light, a single page that has re-awakened my latent paranoid tendencies. The envelope seemed innocent enough. It looked like my monthly electric bill. But the contents were far more ominous. The page was filled with charts and graphs and the info was labeled:

LAST THREE MONTHS NEIGHBOR COMPARISON

My heart jumped and my pulse raced as I scanned the enclosed printout only to learn that I was consuming more energy than those identified by IPL as “Your Most Efficient Neighbors.” I felt so exposed that I pulled the curtains down and then turned off the 11 lights, three TVs and two computers I had left on the night before. By the way, if they want me to save so much energy, they should email me the information so I don’t have to walk to my mailbox.

To really rub it in, IPL informed me that I used 40 percent more electricity than my most efficient neighbor. Who was this person? Which house did he live in? It didn’t say. Was he hiding in the shadows? It’s hard to find a shadow when you never have any lights on.

I asked my neighbor Mort if he received the letter also. Mort is a nice guy, but he always leaves his garage door open, which I think detracts from the ambiance of the neighborhood. I thought he was just forgetful, but apparently this is part of his grand plan to be recognized by IPL as a “conservation superstar.”

”Every kilowatt counts,” Mort told me while we were standing in his driveway. “If I never close that overhead door, I can save $1.49 a year.” Then he asked what I was doing to conserve resources in my home. I was tired of the conversation so I told him I only shower once a month. Mort walked back into the garage -- and down came the door.

The idea that someone is monitoring what goes on in and around my home is creepy. Whenever I look outside, strange people are reading my meters, putting colored lines on my neighbors’ lawns, installing invisible fences, looking through tiny telescopes mounted on tripods, and stuffing propaganda in my mailbox. Sure, call them coupons if you want, but see those two little dots in the word Meijer? That must be a secret code for something.

Despite this, I really am going to try to do my part in this conservation initiative. Beginning now, I am going to charge my iPad in the car, disconnect my clock radio when I am not home, and make toast only when absolutely necessary. The competition is rigorous to be No. 1 in the IPL program, but I don’t plan on expending much energy.

Dick Wolfsie is a television news reporter, syndicated humor columnist and author. He can be reached at Wolfsie@aol.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • WOLFSIE: High-tech got you down? I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 18, 2014

  • PETERS: Grizzly bear may help human medicine I've gained 5 pounds since last summer. My body mass index (BMI) is still fine, but I need to stop gaining to keep it that way. Grizzly bears put my weight gain to shame. In the late summer, they eat some 50,000 calories per day and gain more than 1

    April 18, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: Feelings of the flowers I took one of those fun tests on Facebook to see what kind of flower I am and lo and behold, it said I was an orchid! That is so wrong because I have always thought I was the exact opposite of an orchid. I'd characterize myself as a daisy. You know,

    April 17, 2014

  • HAMILTON: Government as innovator? You bet! Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it's down to $134 billion. People who believe in public belt-tightening applaud drops like that. I understand why: there are many reas

    April 17, 2014

  • PARKER: It's time to take a joke, America In selecting Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman as host of the "Late Show," CBS has waged war on America's Heartland -- or so proclaims that Palm Beach font of heartland mirth, Rush Limbaugh. Don't you believe it, Heartlanders. But wait, ther

    April 16, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Forum about adding answers, subtracting questions A week from tonight, Logansport residents and those outside Logansport who purchase electricity from the Logansport Municipal Utilities will have a chance to find out some things for themselves. A free forum at McHale Performing Arts Center will feat

    April 16, 2014

  • MARCUS: Truth is often unwelcome Jim Feelwright greeted me warmly as I entered the room: “Well, here he is, Mr. Negative.” Since it was a friendly meeting, I borrowed a famous line from the movies: “You can’t handle the truth.” “You,” he said, “just don’t want to see what’s really h

    April 15, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Signs of spring finally upon us Today I saw my first crocus popping up after the long winter. It was in a picture a friend posted on Facebook. Suddenly, it seemed everyone was posting pictures of buds on trees, robins on the lawn, green shoots coming up in the garden. It was almost

    April 15, 2014

  • Brian Bosma BOSMA: House Republicans achieve legislative priorities When the General Assembly began its work last November, as Speaker I pledged a session driven by five main issues: increased road funding, enhanced job training, early childhood education, fair business taxation and cutting government red tape. With

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • LYONS: Taking pity on the Plutocrats "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that belie

    April 14, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.