I just received a notice from the IRS that I would receive my stimulus check soon. I’m wondering if this is a coincidence that they started mailing out the checks around the time gasoline started getting higher than a cat’s back. Surely the check is not to help the oil companies. Anyhow, a lot of people will be forced to spend a major part of the money for gas to get to work.

I assumed that with the price of gasoline headed for $4 a gallon, the traffic in Brownwood would be noticeably less. It hasn’t happened that I can tell. I live on the busiest street in town and traffic is still about the same. Back in the ‘70s gasoline got scarce, driving 55 miles an hour was recommended to save gas. I can report that folks are doing that but the speed limit is still 35 in front of my house.

One day last week, I was at the Veterans Administration Clinic getting my blood tested when a fellow stopped me on the parking lot and asked me to give him $15 for gasoline to get home. I assume he didn’t live far. I don’t know yet how my blood tested, or if the fellow ever got home. Apparently, I had more blood than he did gasoline. I kept all of my money and most of my blood.

Anyway, the fellow didn’t look like he was “from around here.” I can assure you that I’m from around here and have been for a long, long time. I was here when gasoline was 12 cents a gallon and nobody had any money to buy it. I was here long before TV was invented and radio didn’t amount to much but I’m not hanging around parking lots trying to beg money for gas.

I just read in the national news that folks all over the country are running out of gas on the road. Obviously, they’re trying to stretch 10 gallons of gas into 12. It doesn’t work.

I was running out of gas on the road before these drivers even learned to drive, if they ever did.

The last time I put a smidgen of gas in my second tank on the pickup to keep the fuel pump cool, the lady filling up in front of me was taking a long time. When she finally took the hose out and left, the figure on the pump showed she had put $100 worth of gas in her Suburban.

The high price of gas is not my only problem. About six or eight years ago, I started losing my balance. I’m subject to falling at any time. I have noticed that it is not always the fall that gets me — it’s what I fall into. The last time, one day this week, a doorknob got me, cutting a gash in my head.

I showed it to my lady friend in hopes she might put something on it, and she said, “Blunt object, huh?”

“Nope,” I said, “Round object.”

I once consulted a neurologist who ran my head through a MRI. “It appears,” he said, ”that the part of your brain that controls your balance is partly deteriorated.” He told me there was nothing I could do but it wouldn’t get any worse.

It did, so I consulted another neurologist. His diagnosis was much simpler. “You drank too much beer during World War II,” he said. I just settled for that and gave up.

Harry Marlin’s column is featured every Tuesday on the Brownwood Bulletin’s Viewpoint page. E-mail him at pilgrimB17@verizon.net.