Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Morning Meltdown

So much for dry spells and thirsty lizards. Old Manasota has received a year’s worth of rain in a total of ten minutes. There are no gullies here to wash--just sand--but if there were it would have been “a real gulley washer,” sure.

I am always on high alert in the mall parking lots down here. I always do a quick spot check as I proceed from the car to the store or from the store to the car. I am looking for 1) autos with their engines on, 2) human shapes or profiles in the driver’s seat and, if possible, 3) I try to determine the age of the driver. And I do this, of course, not out of idle curiosity, but as a survival tactic.

Last May, the lady who does the little cooking demos in our local Publix grocery store, 76-year-old Betty Henley, was walking through the parking lot where she worked. This is the same parking lot Michelle and I have trod scores of times. Unlike us, Betty either was not paying attention or was just too slow when “an elderly motorist” mistook the gas pedal for the brake. Unfortunately, Betty was passing directly in the path of the car when old Percy panicked.

Now, Betty is a pretty stout old gal which undoubtedly helped to cushion the blow somewhat. It is unclear at what point the crazy old loon who was driving first realized he had run over Betty but it would have been something akin to running over a saw log.

Long short: Betty survived . . . but just barely. She had a cracked skull; she had a leg that was totally crushed; she had a pelvis that was broken in four places; and naturally, she had serious internal injuries. Betty was hurt so badly, in fact, that only just yesterday, after four months of recovery, did she take her first step. The woman is learning to walk all over again.

Now, “which is the gas pedal and which is the brake?” ain’t the only significant issue oldsters face when operating horseless carriages. Yesterday, a measly two miles from this cabana, 89-year-old Gladys Holmbeck thought she was on the way to Manasota Key when she mistook the opposite traffic lane for the turn lane. Instead of correcting her mistake with a simple touch of the wheel she became “confused” and simply froze right in the middle of traffic. Of course, when she did finally move it was to lurch into the opposite lanes of traffic and plow right into some poor dodger who was out just enjoying a beautiful day's drive.

Now, since this occurred at about the same time as I was on my bike ride, for all I know some one else’s misfortune saved me from a fatal rendezvous with Gladys on this narrow island road. If she could mistake clearly marked traffic lanes and signals for a turn lane, why not confuse a bald biker for a pelican or a large lizard?

This kind of stuff is not an anomaly; it happens all the time. At what point will the families and caregivers of these ancient menaces stand up and yank the cars from these people? It certainly looks like the State of Florida could do more testing for those drivers 100 years and up.

Are people living too long? Not sure, but one thing I am sure of: They are damn sure driving too long!


Another Really Crummy Way To Go--A 77-year-old Ukrainian man recently came in first at a dumpling eating contest—ten of those large suckers in 30 seconds. The Grand Prize? A one-liter jar full of sour cream. Bizarre, you laugh? Big deal, you grunt? Spare me, you insist? Well, before Igor could take a victory lap or try to beat the old world record of eating a giant jug of sour cream in ten seconds or less, the Ukrainian glutton just pitched over and dropped dead. What rotten luck! And what a rotten epithet for his rock: Igor Lardinski, born in Kiev, 1934; died in Kiev, 2011, of dumpling overdose.


Bad Joke of the Day

“Doc, I can’t stop singing ‘The Green, green grass of home!’

“That sounds like the Tom Jones Syndrome to me.
“Is that common?
“It’s not unusual.”

Caricature of the Day