Understanding Inflation

You may remember the Standards, a small family of four living in Normal, Illinois I introduced to you not long ago.  Recently, their young son Jimmy allowed his pet gerbil to escape from its Habitrail.  They searched for a few days before finally locating the wee, sleekit, but hardly cow’rin beastie up in their attic.  They heard it drumming a challenge with its little kangaroo feet for days (nights, actually) before finally trapping it.  More on that in a moment.

Gil Standard related the events to me, likening them to today’s increases in food and energy.  “When we first had to climb up into the attic to leave food and set a gopher trap,” he said, “it was fairly inconvenient.  But we only had to do it once, so we got used to the little critter living at a level above normal.  Since he didn’t go any higher, through the roof as it were, we adjusted.  The original climb, like inflation, represented a severe change.  Once there, that became normal, the rate of change fell to zero, and we lived with it until we finally brought him back down.”

I thought that was a good analogy for our own current situation.  If prices level out soon, inflation will stop rising since it measures the rate of change, not an absolute level.  Let’s hope that is how things play out.  Maybe they’ll even drop some.

Unfortunately, at the Standards, a darker mood prevailed.  Apparently the gopher trap malfunctioned, killing the gerbil.  As a family they ceremoniously traipsed out to the backyard cemetery where all the other starter pets, the turtle and goldfish, were buried.  Miraculously, just as they were about to entomb the animal, it began to stir.  The trap seems to have only dazed it.  Little Jimmy, taken more by the ceremony than his beloved pet’s resurrection and always somewhat a sinister child, asked, “Can we kill it?”