As the William Tell Overture crescendos; Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear! From out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great white horse, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver! The Lone Ranger rides again!
Oh, yeah, I fondly recall, one of my adolescent heroes…daring and resourceful… with a mask and white hat …neither of which ever came off. My dad joined me every time the Lone Ranger came on just so he would be witness to the first time that white hat would fall off in a fight for truth and justice.
I never took note of such things. But my father was astutely vigilant. He would also remark when any of my cowboy heroes, or an adversary, should be out of bullets in their 6-shooters. Not that my dad really knew the market value of precious metals, but he’d also mention “There goes another 10 bucks” when the masked man gave away a silver bullet at the end of each show. “Nobody pays him, so where’s all the money come from for those bullets?”
At times he would sarcastically wonder aloud about who would do the Lone Ranger’s laundry. “You’d think all those clouds of dust would get his clothes pretty dirty”. About that time, my mom would scold him; “Dick, just watch the show.”
My boyish awe brushed off my dad’s cynicism as easily as the wind dusted the Lone Rangers boots to a brilliant shine. Yet, even if dad’s lampooning of early westerns didn’t detract from my enjoyment, I must have inherited a cynical gene from him.
Now that my night vision dissuades me from late nights on the town, I find myself watching more television with Sue as our evenings wind down. If there are no sports saved on our DVI, we might watch NCIS. There are several exciting ‘locations’ for this show and widely varied personalities of cast members, so we are quite entertained by the bantering amongst characters. Additionally, the plot usually has some mystery to it.
Sometimes those mysteries are solved by DNA analysis. For me, more often than not, the mystery is not resolved, but generated, by my cynical DNA. I think I am most mystified by the bombs the NCIS agents find…and must defuse.
Why do so many of these diabolical devices have digital readouts? If I were a heinous reprobate who built a time-bomb, I’d set the detonation to go off with 5 minutes remaining in the visual countdown. That way, the defusing agent’s buddies would still be congregated around the bomb. They would likely deduce; Why leave? The thing won’t blow for 6 minutes. Plenty of time for Mr. Wizard’s ingenious intuition to deduce which colored wire to cut.
“Get out of there NOW.” I blurt out to anyone within hearing range. “Why trust a sadistic exterminator to give you even one humane second.” Silly me…how would the show’s director know to fade to black on the poised wire snippers and cut to commercial with 5:05 left on the clock. With that aside, back to the TV drama.
“Color coded wires? Are they serious. What bomb builder needs colored wire?” I wonder aloud to Sue. My mind, operating closer to dumbfounded than ingenious, short circuits on the reasoning for colored wires. The bomb builder certainly didn’t need the color variances. He knows which post on the timer connects to which post on the detonator and which wire goes to the batteries.
Hold everything…especially the wire cutters. Timer…Wires…Battery. “Find the power source,” I holler at the TV, with a bit of my latent boyish enthusiasm surfacing. “ All they gotta do is pop out the battery and the countdown timer stops,” I reason aloud to Sue—who is more intent on knitting a scarf than unraveling the yarn on TV.
Drats, the villain has wrapped the batteries with Kevlar. No chance of cutting into that stuff without tripping the Mercury switch and if this thing blows, Mercury poisoning is a sure bet. But wait…”Just bend the Mercury switch upright,” I counsel as I lean closer to the on screen action.
Of course, someone still has to cut the right wire. Would someone please turn down that intensifying music. I can’t think straight. Nevertheless, I ask Sue; Why didn’t the mad bomber wrap the wires in Kevlar too.
“Just watch the show, Dick”, Sue mimics my mom.