Jewish World Review June 21, 2002 / 11 Tamuz, 5762
Luckily, I'd saved what I was working on, but I did spend the next few hours in semi-darkness, rolling my office chair back and forth across the floor, in a kind of embittered salute to my very first rolling blackout.
In exchange for this glorious privilege, my electric bill tripled that month. Along with the higher fees, however, the utility company did inform me exactly when the power would go out, and for how long. I guess that's what they call added value.
I remember trying to turn the somewhat bland inconvenience into something a little more dramatic, I mean, ROLLING BLACKOUT-- doesn't that sound like a made for teevee action movie? I was envisioning traffic jams, buildings in flames, Lorne Greene with his sleeves rolled up looking really really worried. Charlton Heston wrestling firehoses.
Imagine my surprise then, to discover THIS spring that the late lamented Enron may indeed have been responsible for the rolling blackouts, higher energy bills-- everything-- just as the state of California has claimed.
Apparently, Enron bilked the state of California in many different combinations. Enron executives even had code names for their fiendish strategies-- taken from movies!-- names like "Get Shorty" and "Death Star," even one called "Fat Boy," in which it is alleged that Enron bought power in California, where there was a price cap, and sold it to states where there was not, making millions.
I thought I couldn't despise these weasels more than I already did, but to learn that they may have contributed to both my rolling blackout and dwindling bankroll, AND that it was all just a movie to them, AND a much more interesting movie than the movie they stuck me in, well, it just made me see red.
On the other hand it was California's Fatal Attraction for this Terminator, this Tomb Raider, this bunch of Michael Meyers in three-piece suits, that allowed Enron to give us the Sting, to squeeze us Every Which Way But Loose, in the first place, leaving us Gone With the Wind, in the Pitch Black. Where we had once been Fast and Furious, we were left a Castaway, Dazed and Confused. It was a Perfect Storm, really, when you think about it, and we caught in the Jaws of The Wild Bunch masquerading as The Untouchables.
Well, there will be a sequel my friends. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.
The head of any of those guys, really. The nights get a bit chilly in my neck
of the woods. Maybe I can burn it for fuel.
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06/19/02: Spreading fertilizer on a dictionary to try to raise a novel