But perhaps the saddest victim of all, the one entity that rises above - or lowers below, if you will - all others as the most unintended and glaring consequence of our society's rush to accept all things 'green' like a fish nabbing hook, line, and sinker, is none other than those poor bastards who now find themselves stuck driving around town in a Smart Car.
There should be a warning on the sun visor: "Testicles not permitted in vehicle."
Let me be clear: women don't look much better behind the wheel of these pitiful excuses for transportation, but it's the men who garner our sympathies.
The intention was pure, if not obvious: they wanted to either 'make a statement' by buying the trendy enviro-friendly car, or they were trying to score with a neo-hippy babe.
Hey, they meant well. They voted Gore. They wear sandals. They recycle. They spend $15.99 for a 'green' light-bulb. They were trained like a herd of Pavlovian dogs to buy only what the Green Gods tell them to, lest they live with the guilt and shame of being labelled Earth Killers.
But what was certain is now uncertain. Creeping in is the unsettling feeling of realization, a moment of clarity that you really don't want to experience.
They are having to face the possibility that they were had.
On top of the embarrassment is the vain effort to answer the question 'how could I have thought that was cool?', much like the many fans of disco were forced to ask themselves when they emerged from the coke fog around 1982 and saw the bellbottoms with a clear head for the first time.
Hell, even I have been affected by this. Gone are the days of seeing if I could last the entire red light stopped beside a Smart Car without:
- a) laughing,
- b) getting a snotty look from the pissed-off driver,
- c) both a and b
"Should have gone with the Prius, dude. Unreliable in the winter, sure, but at least you wouldn't have to wear a disguise."
The fun is gone now. Today when I look over, I see a beaten man. I see someone with a permanent 'God, don't let anyone I know see me in this thing' look etched on his face.
I admit, I can't help but feel bad. Really, I do. Sitting there in my 4WD Jeep Wrangler Sahara Edition with its bad-ass, gas-sucking, Alberta oilsands-powered attitude, I'm telling you I pity the soul squished in the glorified roller skate.
And I swear, when the little kid in the car behind me tried to control the Smart Car with his toy remote control car joystick, I stifled my laughter as best I could.
The point is this: the whole concept of climate change being a topic that requires no further discussion has been blown away, and with it our collective learned behaviour that 'green is responsible' when using our purchasing power.
Many are beginning to question just how necessary the push towards a 'green' economy really is, and how sound the entire theory is to begin with. We wonder how much of the data was fudged, how many books were cooked in the name of global government.
With regards to the Smart Car owner, it's imperative that you get behind the wheel of a SUV as soon as possible.
And lose the sandals.