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The Country Curmudgeon

Time to stop the madness

I just checked my column folder and was stunned to find that I have actually had a little over 275 columns published over a five-year period.

I (almost) fought the law

I recently noticed that my car was going putt-putt. Ah, I thought, better get that fixed before I get a ticket for a loud muffler. Wait a minute. How come I have to worry about this? Those big tractor trailers go through town, Jake-braking downhill with a sound rivaling fireworks and nobody seems to care about them. I don’t see anybody rushing out to stop and ticket all those Satan’s Sons on their Harleys, either. Surely my car comes in a very distant third compared to those raucous riders.

Unspectator sports

In a stunning finish at Wimbledon, one of the players missed the ball! Or maybe he didn’t get it over the net. Either way, an unforgettable moment.

There are some sports that should only be televised on a special cable station to which you can subscribe if you have any interest.

The demonstrator

No, I’m not going to write about political demonstrators. What I am about here is the job of demonstrating equipment to prospective buyers, one of the many types of work I have done over the years. I worked for an organization representing various manufacturers of construction equipment in regions where the sales were not sufficient to support a “house” salesman. Our company made this viable by representing about 20 companies who made related, but not competing, equipment. Here is some of the fun stuff I did.

Touché, cliché

I was thinking about this column when lo and behold, like a bolt from the blue, I was bowled over. If you know enough of these expressions you don’t have to think at all. Many of them are mindless fillers, or maybe to be more generous, used for emphasis. It makes what we are saying seem more than what it is. Some of them make no sense or do not mean what we think they do.

Lo and behold. Who am I? Moses? Who says this anymore? What’s next? Auld English a la Chaucer? And that “a la” is suspect in and of itself. In and of itself? Does it never end?

Time and place

Time and place

Change, change, no change

I am tipping to the right again. How did I get so much change? Is it because I am lazy or embarrassed or both? It is just easier to hand the clerk a couple of bills. They seem so busy and the people behind me so impatient that I am embarrassed to fish out a handful of coins and make everybody wait while I puzzle out the exact amount after separating it from my pocket lint.

Whither goest everyone?

Where is everybody going? Every time I go out I am amazed at all the cars going hither and yon. How come they can drive around in the middle of the day? Doesn’t anybody work? Zip-zoom they go racing by, but they just seem to keep going. Very few turn off from the stream of traffic. Mostly they just roll on.

Best manners, please

The other day, while exiting a building, I was passed by a gentleman coming in. As he entered the building he automatically removed his hat. Very old-fashioned. These days you are lucky if people do not wear their hats to the dinner table. Nobody seems to think anything about it. In the military it was a big deal to know when it was or was not appropriate to have your hat on. Not following the rules made you “out of uniform,” an offense that could go on your permanent record. It is bad enough in combat to draw fire. You don’t need to also draw criticism.

Over the river

What were we thinking!?! When we began building roads we soon discovered that we needed bridges. Originally they were rather basic and mostly made of wood or stone. Stone is low maintenance and wood easily replaced, unless you get ridiculous like some of those old railroad trestles; then came the modern era with its huge, steel bridges. Not satisfied with this we began building highways on elevated roadways with all kinds of criss-crossing ramps and steel girder supports. They looked cool. Then they started to fall apart.