Sunday, October 26, 2008

Put my restless legs to work

Published October 26, 2008
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

Much has been said this election season about our dependence on foreign oil. Whether you’re a republican or a democrat or none of the above, this is an issue you should be worried about. For me, the issue is not only related to foreign oil, but our country’s continued dependence on all fossil fuels. Sure, they have their place, and I wouldn’t want to live without heat in my home. I just think it’s time we work a little harder on developing existing sources of renewable energy and finding new ones.

This is where I get really excited. Cue the jumping and the squealing and the collapse into smug self satisfaction.

Folks, I’m no energy expert, but I’ve got a creative brain in my head, and I’ve found what could be the most compelling answer to the energy crisis facing the world today. I have discovered a completely untapped source of renewable energy, a veritable gold mine of potential. This. Could. Change. Everything.

Ladies, and gentlemen, I’m talking about Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). This is a condition that has afflicted me for as long as I can remember (and I’m sure for even longer than that). Inherited from my mother, “Wiggly Feet Willie” Braudaway, RLS is a condition that causes me to keep my toes, feet, or legs in almost constant motion. Even as I write, my bare feet resting on the legs of my computer chair, I feel the comforting wiggling of my two big toes, beating a happy left-left, right-right, left-left, right-right cadence in the air above my family room floor.

I don’t know what causes RLS…maybe a mineral or vitamin deficiency…maybe a “Gotta Dance!” mentality. What I do know is that it’s with me nearly 20 hours a day. That’s 140 hours a week of movement. Sometimes it’s just an ankle wiggle. Sometimes it’s a full foot figure eight. Most often, it’s a rhythm between my two feet: a tap-tap right and a bob-bob left. On a bad day, it’s a very frequent need to streeeeeetch my full legs out in front of me, circling my ankles and flexing my toes.

Do I like living with RLS? No. What would make it better? Knowing my condition could help millions of Americans keep the heat on without the use of coal or oil or nuclear power. Seriously, people, with the right technology, I could power an entire city block during one hour-long training meeting at work.

Speaking of technology, you should know I have no idea how we could actually convert RLS movement into storable and ultimately usable energy. I’m a fidgety idea woman, not a scientist. Fortunately for all of us, the planet is teeming with scientists. All we have to do is find the scientist who wants to put my plan into action.

I know Washing ton politics have never been a friend of renewable energy, what with big oil companies courting politicians with campaign donations and questionable “gifts” (coughbribescough). I’m not afraid to jump into that political game. I may not have a lot of money to throw at the big wigs in the east, but I have some skills. I made a pumpkin bundt cake with a chocolate glaze the other day that would bring Congress to its knees. Throw in a few of my homemade cinnamon rolls and a mouthwatering pot roast so delicious it nearly makes my husband cry and we’re in the energy business, people.

I don’t know how long this will take to develop, but the good news is that this energy is 100% available…right now. And now. And now. Over the course of writing this, I’ve gone from the toe wiggle to an ankle shake, and hundreds of kilowatts of energy were there for the taking. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to take a good hard look at this possibility. That’s right. I want this for the children. It’s all about the children.

Of course, if it pans out, I will expect to never have to pay taxes again, and I wouldn’t sniff at a Nobel prize…