My blowhard neighbor Dale, who always has his fingers in various money-making schemes that don't seem to make much money, asked me what company I chose for my electric bill. (He has some service which I don't quite understand that gives him a commission if people sign up for power through him.)
I told him it was the big guys. He asked what rate they gave me. "What kind of deal did you get?" he wanted to know.
"I have no idea," I said. "I didn't ask for a deal. I just took the rate they said it was."
Dale threw his arms in the air. "Why, Lord?" he bellowed upwards in mock exasperation. "Where was this naive soul when I needed him?" Then, turning to me again, he asked how much my bill was.
"Forty dollars," I said.
He reeled. "How is your bill so low?!"
Many things flitted through my mind. Not watching TV keeps the costs down. Unplugging the microwave, shredder, blender, and other devices when not in use. Keeping the refrigerator at a low power-saver level. Turning things off when not in use. But before I could share my socialist anti-American agenda with him, he continued, "Don't you have central air conditioning?"
I said I rarely using the AC and when I do, I haven't yet set it below 78.
"Man," Dale said, "I set it to 68 around the clock! You can call my house the Meat Locker! I don't know how you stay cool like that."
I said, "The secret is that when I'm at home I never wear pants."
That shut him up. For a few seconds, at least.