Psst!... I Can Make You a Deal on a Prius!

Don't worry, environmentalists. We don't have to drill in ANWR ... I just bought a Prius!

Call it counter-programming or just a normal human response to a local pump price of $4.99 a gallon, I have done the deed. (And, yes, in the spirit of counter-programming I am thinking of slapping "McCain '08" and "Support our Troops" bumper stickers on the rear -- only I hate ruining a new car with gooey advertisements that never come off.)

Of course, it wasn't easy. Buying a Prius in Los Angeles these days is more difficult than scoring a bag of the purest Nepalese hash. You have to know someone who knows someone. It's kind of like getting a counterfeit green card. The line is so long sometimes you have to wait until 2011 and then pay for so many extras you don't want there are gee-gaws on your car you won't know how to use ten years after buying it.

But working undercover and with the aid of a certain arcane methodology (e. g. the internet), I managed to corral one from a nearby Toyota dealer in a few weeks. The good news: the only unwanted extra I had to pay for was the ubiquitous and ever-mysterious "clear coat." (I wanted leather seats and Bluetooth -- the latter being mandatory with California's new cell phone law about to kick in July 1.) The bad news: MSRP. I had to pay full price, shouting down my ancestors, who were yelling in unison in my head "I can get it for you wholesale!" In the words of somebody else's ancestors: "Fuhgeddaboudit!"

Now if you're about to tell me that I have to drive this automobile for forty-five years in order to make up the difference or that the car's battery is a lethal environmental hazard that has to be buried for a thousand years in a hazmat vault under the MGM Grand, I don't want to hear it. I just bought the car, fer crissakes. (Besides, this is a "light" piece, in case you haven't noticed.)