Time to date myself again. Those of you who were around in the 1970s may remember the empire of oddball game shows that Chuck Barris oversaw. Barris was responsible for such cultural milestones as The Newlywed Game, The Dating Game and the eternal classic The Gong Show. All of these shows were festivals of thinly-disguised sexual chortling and gentle prurience. One of his shows was a spoof of beauty contests called The $1.98 Beauty Show, which featured the mincing, rotund Rip Taylor as master of ceremonies. Taylor would bring out women (and a few men) of questionable ability and taste and parade them around for a howling audience. Winners would receive some questionable prizes, but always $1.98.
As I was driving home for lunch today, I noticed that gas prices had dipped below $2 for the first time in about a year and I was able to purchase some petrol at a SuperAmerica for the magical price of $1.98 a gallon. I thought about Rip Taylor and how, back in the late 70s, $1.98 would have seemed like an outrageous amount to spend for a gallon of gasoline. But here I was, grateful as I could be that I finally was able to gas up for less than $2/gallon. A number is rarely a thing of beauty, but there it was.