Monday, July 20, 2015

It's Your Fault

Check out this statistic that I just made up:

99.7% of accidents at construction zones are the result of driver inattention/error.

Probably a reasonable assumption.  But everybody makes mistakes, and that means that flag workers can make them, too.  Check out the following statistic I also just made up:

0.3% of construction zone accidents are caused because someone handed a traffic flag to an idiot.

You know, I don't want to say too much here because I respect anyone who has the pride, good sense, and motivation to go out and work for a living, but holding a stop/slow sign doesn't otherwise require a lot of brains.  That 0.3% can seem like a pretty strong possibility.

But it doesn't matter.   The 99.7% share is contaminated with reckless, inattentive, and egregious driving.  It's quite blinding and the dim 0.3% error doesn't stand a chance to be seen against it.

So when a flag worker is standing on the sidewalk 100ft behind where he wants you to stop, and, from that far away, he sends a car through a stop sign to your right, and that car pulling out blocks your line of sight toward the worker on the sidewalk and his sign, and then the worker yells at you and demands you need to pay more attention...

Well, honestly, that's never bad advice.  It applies easily in 99.7% of all situations.  Close enough.  Maybe you should stop being such a reckless asshole behind the wheel, asshole.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Legacy of Kristin

I met a girl in high school.  I actually met her through her brother, whom I have written about on this blournal before.  Her brother and I were very good friends for awhile.  When I wasn't hanging out with him I could often be found hanging out with her.  But we never dated.  We never made out.  I think I gave her a hug once on an occasion that really called for it.  Come to think of it, she hugged me.

These are the facts.  Everything written from here on out is conjecture.

No one said anything at the time, but I think many people... well, my family, thought the two of us made a good pair.  I know her mom thought so.  You could almost make a case that everyone except Kristin thought so, and you'd almost be right.  But not quite.  It's just that she had a boyfriend pretty much the entire time I knew her.  I always read that as sort of a sign, y'know?  I've since learned that a boyfriend should not be seen as any kind of barrier because he is quite often the wrong boyfriend (hint: any man that is not you is the wrong boyfriend) but in any case, seems like some people I knew were pretty impressed with her, or the idea of me and her.  More on that in a bit.

As the college years arrived, we didn't hang out so much. We did occasionally cross paths and we got along as well as ever.  A lot of you, including Kristin, might at this point ask, "So what happened?"  I'm sorry to put such a fine point on it because this is a little offensive, but what happened is I met Diane.

I think all you really need to know here is that I ended up marrying Diane.  Safe to say that, after meeting Diane, my thoughts were pretty well centered around her.  From this point forward, I shall refer to Diane as "Carole."

So after Carole and I have been together for a couple of months, it's going very well.  I'm figuring we're both pretty much feeling the same about each other and I more or less say this to her.  Carole says, "What about the most beautiful girl in the state?"

That sentence meant as much to me at the time as it probably does to you right now.  NO IDEA.  But whatever it means, it can't be good.  Clearly Carole has something she'd like to discuss.  ALWAYS FUN.

Okay.  I promised earlier I'd have more to say on the "made a good pair" topic.  Here's that.

Somewhere during this same time when Carole and I are figuring out exactly how deep is your love, my brother decided it would be some of his business to tell Carole about a girl I once knew named Kristin.  Okay, so hold up a sec.  WHY?!  Why do that?  What's the best possible outcome in that scenario?  Carole's gonna say, "Oh, she sounds nice" ?!  Where is he going with this?  Well let's tune in and find out.

When my brother spoke of Kristin, he referred to her as, you guessed it, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the State."  This unflatteringly specific phrase was his and his only.  Those words did not come from me (no offense to Kristin.)  Still, as you can probably imagine, that detail turned out to be of little relevance.

So I really can't conjure up exactly why my brother felt the need to have this discussion.  It seems, from my end, like nothing but sabotage.  What exactly was Carole supposed to do with this information?  I'll tell you what; quiz me.  That's what.  So thanks for that, bro.  Thanks so much.  Makes me think he was really hoping to see that "good pair" concept he had envisioned finally materialize.  Either way, I explained to Carole that those were never my words.

For about 28 years now.

Sunday, July 05, 2015


Nope.  Not Mom.

I just spent a week watching a woman I don't know call my father a name I don't recognize.

Such is the nature of dating in your 70's.  I guess...

Friday, July 03, 2015

Reminder: Corporations Are Not People


Mrs. Fields
Ben and Jerry
People's United Bank
The Oprah Network
Mrs. Paul
Famous Amos
Gordon's Gin
John Deere
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
SC Johnson & Johnson (a family company)
Newman's Own
Sam's Club
Tom's of Maine

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Typing While Driving

I figured out why people text and drive.  I think it was pretty hard to understand at first because the blinding rage I have over it is hard to see past, but after a few years of pure wonderment over how we could have lowered the bar to the point where we don't even look where we're going anymore, I feel like it came clear to me all at once.  The pivotal moment was when I saw a guy last week behind the wheel looking at down at his phone and giving the road the occasional glance.  Instead of the usual outrage and disgust, I felt a strange sense of calm as the simplicity of the problem dawned on me; he had it exactly backwards.  He was studying his phone and giving the road the occasional check.  Yes, this is colossal and inexcusable stupidity, but I think I know what's going through people's heads.

1) The phone is more interesting than driving.

There's a new generation of people out there who aren't all that interested in cars. It's not their thing. The reasons might have something to do with the environment, but it also can't be completely discounted that the act of driving requires you to forget about your phone for awhile.  That's a hard sell.

2) For the most part, taking your eyes off the road (or hands off the wheel) doesn't stop your car from moving.  You look at the road, you look at the phone, and most times things just keep going along.  You end up convincing yourself that a certain aspect of the driving happens on autopilot, and you get lulled into the familiar sensation of riding public transportation.

I think any other contributing factors still stem from these two main points.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Free Will*

*some restrictions apply

You could argue that the more enlightened among us practice tolerance, but everyone has a line.  We can agree to accept each other regardless of race, sexual orientation, cultural mores, etc., but polygamists and nudists have a harder time of it.  The guy who belches loudly in public... he doesn't find the same acceptance.   Who is he really hurting and why?  Maybe we need to work on our tolerance for that guy.

Or maybe we need to admit that we all have a line.