Wednesday, April 13, 2011


If you have been on a freeway in the last 20 years, I think you’ll agree that we need a better solution to the obvious problem of rush hour traffic congestion. You may be someone who believes that the gasoline automobile is a detriment to the environment in some way, or you may be someone who just really doesn’t like only going 7 MPH on a road that was designed for 70 MPH. You may even be both. Whatever your point of view, I think we can all agree that there are just too many cars on the freeways during commute hours.

It seems pretty obvious at this point that our governments – on a city, state or federal level – have become far too cumbersome to do much of anything worthwhile on a public works basis anymore. I doubt any government entity anywhere could get a 10-foot by 10-foot backyard redwood deck built inside of a year, so simply building us some new or wider freeways to relieve the congestion is probably out of the question.

Fortunately, as with most of life’s little quandaries, I have a plan. It’s called Smidge’s Wonton Interstate Traffic Congestion Household Employee Relocation and Optimization Operation, or SWITCHEROO. And, like almost every other aspect of your life, the IRS can help with this, too. The fact that we must drive to work is not going to go away, so let’s all just severely decrease the amount of miles we need to drive. The IRS already has very detailed records of who goes to work, where they work, and where they live, so the math is almost done already. We simply link up the IRS databases with the new SWITCHEROO algorithm, and let the computer tell us where to go.

Here’s how it will work: The computer will crunch the data and find matched pairs of gainfully employed people. To keep things on a somewhat equal footing, the computer will match men with men and women with women. I’ll explain why in a minute. The algorithm will note that Joe Blow works within one mile of John Smith’s house, and John works within one mile of Joe’s house, but they both live over twenty miles away from their own jobs. Since Joe could be the CEO of a bank, and John could be in charge of the sour cream gun at a Taco Bell, switching jobs doesn’t make any sense. I mean, can you imagine if a bank had someone in charge who was making risky decisions? Unthinkable!

The smart thing to do is to have Joe and John switch houses.

Now, this program is meant to ease freeway congestion, not to cause a nationwide family upheaval, so the families will stay put. Only the workers will move. This is why we have matched men with men and women with women. Joe and John will switch houses, and inherit whatever family situation comes with the house. John may be a lifelong bachelor who suddenly finds himself with a wife and three kids. Joe may instantly become single again after many years of marriage. Who knows what new and exciting home life may await you when you get your SWITCHEROO relocation notice in the mail!

Every attempt will be made to match the switching pair’s ages as well, but there can be no guarantees. It will be quite a challenge just to keep the pairs the same sex, so age may become an issue in some instances. But what is life without fun challenges, right? The twenty-one-year-old single girl from the big city may suddenly find herself as the mother of a nineteen-year-old. If that teenager happens to be a girl, a wonderful friendship could result. If the teenager is male, all we can do is just hope his father has control of the situation.

Suzy, the twenty-something newlywed may suddenly find herself married to Fred, the eighty-something widowed Wal-Mart greeter. In that case, I think we all need to look on the bright side and say, good news for Fred!

Besides the age issue, sexual orientation is simply too complicated a subject to be entered as a parameter in the SWITCHEROO program. Also, as far as I know, the government wouldn’t have any record of this kind of personal data anyway, would they? Probably not. As with all large-scale operations such as this, there will be some unavoidable hiccups. A husband and father of four kids may suddenly find himself living with a gay man. Again, I think it’s best to look upon these unforeseen consequences as fun little challenges. This could be an opportunity for both of them to start dating again, or an opportunity for one of them to discover a whole new lifestyle. Who knows!

Besides the fun new interpersonal relationships that will develop from the program, an unexpected and pleasing change in your financial situation may result as well. Since the IRS has loads of data on your finances, as with the age issue, the SWITCHEROO program will make every effort to match income levels whenever possible. We must not lose sight of the main goal of the program, however, which is traffic elimination. For that reason, the program will optimize the moves based first on commute distance, and then attempt to factor in all the other ancillary issues such as age and tax bracket. Again, I think we need to keep sight of the goal, and take whatever disparities are inadvertently caused in stride.

Your 850-square-foot dark and gloomy apartment might suddenly become a sprawling 8000-square-foot estate house with a full-time maid. On the other hand, your overwhelming $5000 monthly mortgage payment might instantly become a trifling $150/month space fee for your new double-wide at Shady Acres Mobile Estates. It will be important to focus on the positives as we move forward with this invaluable operation.

Speaking of positives, the possibilities are almost limitless for unexpected and interesting changes in the lives of our commuting workforce.

Do you have massive personal debt? It could be wiped away forever.
Hate your neighbors? Get new ones!
Unsuccessful in raising your own kids? Get a fresh start with a new batch.
Only time will tell what powerful and inspiring stories will result from this much needed program.

SWITCHEROO should be a boon for our economy as well, since untold millions of hours will be freed up each day to devote to work instead of driving. No doubt, each and every one of us will use this new found time wisely and in the best interest of our employer, helping spur on a vibrant and flourishing America.

I know what you’re thinking. “It will never work. It will be too messy. I won’t be able to understand the forms.” Not to worry, folks. We have thought of everything. The IRS will handle all the paperwork for you. There won’t be one single form for you to fill out, because you don’t even have to apply for the program. You’re already signed up! All you have to do is report to the address shown on the SWITCHEROO relocation notice that you will be receiving shortly, and you’re done. Your transition to your new life will be seamless, effortless, and a whole lot smoother every morning without all that driving!

Have fun with it, America, and enjoy your new life! I can’t wait to see where I’m going!

See you soon,

Copyright © 2011 Marc Schmatjen

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