Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Bad Wigs

Up Pensacola way, a car hit an ambulance the other night that was racing to the hospital emergency room (Racing? Whoever saw an ambulance creeping to a hospital emergency room? Hospital emergency room? Whoever saw an ambulance racing to a Radio Shack?). . . .

Anywho, the driver of the car, an individual named Rafael City . . . say again? Rafael City . . . age 21, and four or five others with him, were on their way (cough--clear throat—cough) “to church.” Senor City also insisted that he didn’t see the thirty or forty flashing lights of the ambulance when he pulled right out in front of it. Every man jack in his car was slightly injured but, oddly, the injuredest person of them all, the poor devil in the ambulance--the same man who had a broken back, a broken pelvis, a broken jaw, a cracked skull, a ruptured spleen, collapsed lungs, internal bleeding, four crushed vertebrae, three cracked ribs, two broken legs, one fractured arm . . . "and a partridge in the pear tree”--was not injured further (guess there was nothing further to injure).

One might not see an ambulance coming . . . I suppose . . . I guess . . . I doubt it . . . I know he’s lying . . . but when, I repeat, WHEN was the last time you did not hear an ambulance coming? Generally, one might hear an average ambulance coming three counties over around a bend and through a tunnel. I think both the video and audio components in Mr. City’s circuitry should be checked out thoroughly and a little drug testing might also be in the Senor’s future, as well.

But anyway, being the card-carrying cynic that I am, I wonder about the above character’s claim that he was on his way “to church” last Saturday night when the accident occurred. Such an old dodge brings to mind some of the ridiculous ploys I have seen on the TV program, Cops. I am always amazed at the almost child-like stupidity of some criminals. I’ve lost count how many times on this program a burglar or thief is busted and on the back bumper of his get-away truck is an American flag sticker, a yellow ribbon or some such patriotic type of crap. I’ve also lost count of how many drug busts were made on the program and how many of these cuffed space cadets were wearing a D.A.R.E or a “Just Say No!” baseball cap or an “I Support My Local Police” t-shirt. I remember at least one drunk mom behind the wheel wearing a MADD sweat shirt.

I guess the criminals’ line of reasoning goes something like this: “Hey, like cops would never guess, you know, that we’re thieves or dope fiends or drunk drivers or what have you, if we, you know, like camouflage ourselves as like patriotic Americans or something, or maybe, you know, like advertise that we are, you know, down on drugs and drunk driving or something.” Brilliant!

Note: I’ve been burglarized several times in my overly-long whirl on this big blue ball but the thieves who stand out were the ones who had an “If You Don’t Like My Driving You May Kiss My (picture of a mule’s keester)!” bumper sticker on the rear window of their beat-up truck. I got a glimpse of these guys and the only thing that really stuck out was that stupid bumper sticker, of which I duly reported to the sheriff. These two were caught. No one will ever confuse burglars with brain surgeons.


That Big Ditch in Arizona--In 1869, John Wesley Powell was the first great explorer of the Colorado River. Can you imagine what Powell and his handful of oarsmen must have thought upon entering the Grand Canyon in those little boats, on the roiling river, under that scorching sun? If one can envision the first mission of men to Mars, one would probably be just about dead-on. Imagine a canyon so vast that there was no earthly standard to go by. It is easy today to see the grand adventure in rafting the Colorado through this colorful chasm because we were brought up on these images via TV, movies, calendars, and tedious home slide shows. But Powell & Co. had no such luxury. They were the first men on Mars, so to speak. For all these explorers knew there were giant lizards just up ahead waiting to gulp them down like popcorn, or a great whirlpool around that next bend which would suck this Jason and his American Argonauts down to the center of the earth.

Bravery has many faces. This grand adventure in the grandest canyon of them all was one of America’s grandest moments. What Powell did ranks right up there with other famous American explorers, including Lewis and Clark, Daniel Boone and John C. Fremont. But guess what? Powell did all his exploring with just one arm. If you imagine that this would not be so very tough, then I suggest next time you jump into a swimming pool or climb a cliff you do so with one arm tied behind your back. I think you will quickly see what I mean.

Does anyone remember “Mr. Merriweather?” He was that crusty character in the movie, Little Big Man, who showed up bye and bye, but each time he did so he was always short another body part? An arm here, a leg there, an eye, an ear. . . .

“Hey, Mr. Merriweather,” laughs Jack Crabb as he lays drunk in the mud. “You better watch out or pretty soon there won’t be enough of you to bury.”

Merriweather reminds me of a fellow I ran into during research for a book.

Back in the 1860s, during a prolonged siege by the Sioux against Fort Phil Kearny, soldiers mysteriously began turning up drunk. When officers investigated they found, just beyond sight of the fort, a mule cart containing two barrels of “rank poison.” Tending this portable saloon was a tough-looking customer, 50 or 60 years of age, who also sported a peg leg. Hundreds of miles of wilderness, the prairie alive with hostile Indians, alone and encumbered by a wooden leg, and yet this wily old pirate somehow managed to not only survive, but make a living.

For the fellow above, for Mr. Merriweather and Major Powell, for tens of thousands of others who had lost limbs in the American Civil War, there were no handicap parking stalls, no ramps at the mall and no rails at the library to aid them; it was a life in which you either sank or you swam.

Surprisingly, many not only “swam” . . . many also conquered.


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