Some Bits of Humor

Sue’s uncle is a Master Carpenter.  He built his home which included a workshop instead of a second car garage.  Because he recently changed residences, the house would be sold. Sue’s cousin made arrangements for distribution of all of Uncle Floyd’s carpentry items.  Though I dabble at projects involving wood and tools, I think I am closer to being a Master Scrounge than even an “Apprentice” in the carpentry trade.  Therefore, I was granted the pleasures associated with cleaning out Uncle Floyds workshop after all of the major items were gifted.

I was thrilled at this opportunity.  I don’t really have space for large tools, yet always manage to find room for a few more screws.  Despite all the major tools being claimed, I brought home two van-loads of “stuff”.  Today’s Friday Frivolity is my ‘Thank You’ letter to Sue’s cousin.

Sue and I expedited emptying your dad’s workshop by simply boxing up everything that wasn’t breathing.  As we agreed, I was to “clear out” the workshop, keep what I wanted and rummage the remainder.  We didn’t bother with sorting as we packed up.  I would do the sorting on rainy days at our house.  It has rained a lot, so I’ve had many hours to review your dad’s “Home Depot” stockpile

For the moment, set aside your previous assessment that I should be living under the watchful care of shrinks at an Acuity Deficient Residence.  Even Certifiable individuals, who tend to often be on the verge of euphoric orgasm, are capable of “reasonable and explainable” joy.

I had no idea how much I am like your father, or visa-versa.  I sorted out enough hack saw blades to last most DIY guys half a dozen years.  I looked up onto my pegboard to see if I might need any from Uncle Floyd’s inventory.  Hmmm, I had 4…Floyd had 8.  I figured  Floyd’s wisdom is superior to mine, so now I have 8 and still there are 4 to sell at rummage.  Thank You very much.

When I finished with saws and blades, I dumped all the drill bits I found scattered throughout Uncle Floyd’s drawers, cupboard shelves, shoe boxes and old Marshmallow Creme jars onto my bench.  Wow, your mom sure used a lot of Marshmallow Creme.  I must have found at least 50 full of sundry woodworking needs.

Hand “brace” bits—both auger and center bit—are easy to spot, so I sorted those out first. High speed, power drills have just about the “Brace and bit” drills obsolete. But, I still have my grandpa’s hand-powered brace, so a big THANY YOU for some old (1950s) super strong, super long, deep drilling, big hole bits for that brace.  Of course, looking at the longest bit of this type does beg the question of when I might ever be tempted to auger a half-inch diameter hole through a 16-inch thick block of wood…using a hand-cranked brace.

Nevertheless, as a collector of anything potentially useful (as well as stuff with no foreseeable use), I am truly grateful.

Masonry bits are also quickly identifiable so corralling them was my next task.  Measuring their sizes and “branding” each one as I put them in a clean plastic “pen” was going very smoothly.  Smoothly at least UNTIL I picked up a bright chromium, unused, still in its original packaging, life-time guaranteed, Craftsman, tungsten carbide tipped, bit.

So…I’m glad you asked…why would a drill bit in store-bought condition surprise me?  Because it was the fourth 1/4 inch size that I’d found. Yes, it’s true.  Concrete bits do wear out, so having a back up is a rather common practice.  But, why would Floyd have purchased (but not used) a new 1/4” bit when he had 2 other quarter inchers that were in excellent condition. Not to mention hang on to the 4th masonry bit that didn’t have a carbide tip.  Actually, disregarding the importance of carbide tip, it does seem a bit unreasonable to save any broken tool that had obviously bit off more than it could chew its way through.

Alas.  Quarter inch is a common size.  Turns out I had 3 of that size just as Uncle Floyd did.  Yah, like I said.  Floyd and I have very similar thought processes.  Thanks for the shiny new masonry bit.  I know I’ll find something to mount on my workshop cinder block wall.  Hmm, maybe a shelving unit for Marshmallow jars.

Now, with the masonry bits put away, the thirty-pound pile of fluted steel on my work bench only had bits for glass, metal drilling, hole saws—which do not work with a saw, …spade bits—which I suppose could work in the garden, …and even a few spoon bits—which only look like a spoon but couldn’t hold broth let alone a noodle.

I mentioned my collector mentality, didn’t I?  Imagine the excitement of a philatelist finding a stamp he doesn’t have in his collection.  In my sizable accumulation of high-speed ‘twist’ bits, I had never come across a 29/32nd bit.  My heart sped up and I stopped breathing to reread the size stamped on the bright steel bit.  Yup…29/32.

There’s a reason this bit is in pristine condition.  I’d bet it’s never been used.  Who would ever need that sized hole? They don’t make dowels that size. Even if they did, I’d use a 7/8 bit and a big hammer. I mean…how much resistance can a 32nd of an inch of wood put up against me and a ten pound sledge. (Thanks for that hammer, also)

However, most of all, Thanks for the peace of mind that I will no longer worry about not having the right sized twist bit for any job.  Adding in Floyd’s bits now completes my collection—1/16th through 1/2 inch at 32nd inch increments.  I just sat there, mesmerized by that  splendid array of steel.  And not just a complete set.  I now have a back-up …or 3… of each size.  Except the 29/32 bit of course.

I’m done for today. I’ve still got good sized pile (even though I’ve never really understood “good sized” quantitatively) of miscellaneous drill bits to sort through — not to mention the huge assortment of files, hand tools, screws, nails, nuts and bolts still awaiting my attention.  Oh, and paint too.  But paint is a whole different story. Another day maybe….

Friday Frivolity: What’s in the fridge?

How many times do you open the fridge to “see what’s there” but nothing appeals to you.  No, I am not referring to Twilight Zone sounds or voices that nobody else hears.  Those are both issues which should be addressed by a shrink.

I’m thinking about those moments when you don’t really have a specific purpose for opening the refrigerator door. You know…snack attack.  An squad of combatants scaling the walls of your stomach. The enemy is boredom. Your idle moments inspire a reconnaissance mission to the fridge.

Of course, you don’t have a known target when you open the door.  The territory inside the fridge is ever-changing.  Restaurant leftovers hide in ambush beneath Styrofoam lids.  Cold air tumbles out as you reconnoiter each shelf, pushing aside Tupperware of last night’s surplus of tuna casserole.  Though the compressor is screaming close the door, you continue your search for a snack, not re-heat dinner. Nothing on the shelves.

Why is there a veggie drawer.  What are they hiding from.  Tomatoes, otherwise known as love apples, no doubt have their own reason to stay out of public view. But wait, there are Northern Spies in there—close the drawer.

Besides, we don’t put veggies in the veggie drawer.  It’s cheese in ours and shredded cheese will not satisfy a hunger pang.  Ah, hah…there’s another drawer at the bottom.  Don’t bother to open that drawer.  Nothing but onion flavored potatoes there.

You close the door.

Now comes my follow-up question.  Do you actually let go of the handle before you reopen the door?  Certainly you’ve overlooked a tasty tid-bit in your first search.  This time you look in the door shelves.  Foolhardy thought.  Condiments are categorically not snacks in themselves.  The desire is for quick satisfaction not a bologna sandwich.

I don’t know about you, but my hunger pangs are not satisfied by crunching on carrots.  If you do go straight to the veggie drawer, be sure to knock before you pull it open.

Friday Frivolity: un-canned SPAM

I received a SPAM e-mail the other day.  Even though such mail irritates many people, there’s not much that can be done.  Yeah, most e-mail providers have junk mail detectors, but every day phishers and scammers are finding ways to sneak around the filters.  The law isn’t much help either.  The CAN SPAM Act of 2003 makes the practice legal.  No, I’m not making that up and the Act is not relevant to legalizing the canning of a meat product.

I’ll admit that I don’t peruse e-mail that gets routed to my Junk mail box.  But memos in my Inbox at least get a quick look as long as they have a Subject.  The Subject of the particular memo I mentioned above was “USPS Delivery Failure Notice”.  Considering the volume of packages we ship and receive, I considered it plausible.

Considering the severely limited volume of my instinctive brain cells, it is equally plausible that I glanced at the content of that memo.

It was actually quite well contrived.  The USPS logo was certainly authentic appearing.  Yet, the very sight of “USPS” in the header of an e-mail did seem inappropriate, if not counterproductive.   Regardless of deficiencies in my intuition, skepticism is my insurance policy.  Regardless of the potential for one of our packages being stranded somewhere, such a Failure Notice would be in my roadside mailbox, not delivered through cyberspace.  I quickly resolved that I would not click on anything but my tongue…and to report it as SPAM.

But before I deleted it, I did read on.  The first sentence also provided conclusive doubt to the legitimacy of the notice.  It stated they “…couldn’t deliver to you address.”   I didn’t click the link to discover what they’er…I mean, their reason for the failure to deliver.  I was quite certain it would be equally ungrammatical if not totally illogical.

Yet, the longer I stared at the memo, the more my mind attempted to construct what might have been behind the link.  My imagination conjured up………

You’re package is being held do to wrong address information.  The contense of the package only reviled your e-mail address.  Please send additional $25 for extra handlings and good address.  Credit Cards accepted.

No, no, that’s not it.  This is much more enticing……  Were working for Ed McMahon.  He is supposed to deliver a Million-Dollars to you, but Publishers Cleaning House had the wrong address.  It is too risqué to try to deliver it again.  Please give us you bank account number and we will deposit the money.  

Okay, that’s enough fun for now.  I sure don’t want you to think this is SPAM.

Friday Frivolity: Soup for Lunch

[This story is one of 30 in my Laughing in Stitches book.  “…Stitches”, as well as “Laughing at Life” and “Laughing while Shopping” are  available for $8 each—plus postage.  Please order direct from me;]

Once, shortly after we were married, Sue was ill.  Earnestly desiring to impress her with my care giving, I wandered into the kitchen to fix her lunch.

I say “wandered” as the kitchen is a strange land for me to visit without a guide.  In my basement workroom, I can locate hand tools with my eyes shut, find the appropriate fastener with the proficiency of a voice-activated robot, and know where every power tool is stored.  That is my homeland.

The kitchen is across the border.  Regardless that the instructional words on cans, boxes and documents in the kitchen appear to be in English, I am unable to properly translate the subtle variances of stir, mix, blend and fold.  Oh, but I’ve got “beat” quite clear in my mind.  Yeaaah…the difference between beat and whoop are visually acute in my masculine mind.  However, to my mind, the kitchen instruction to “beat” is in an ambiguous category with whip, puree and whisk.  (Though at one time, I thought whisking was what my mom did to me, with a broom, when she wanted me out of her kitchen.)

Considering that Sue—border guard, guide and translator, was languishing in bed, I needed to fix something I was familiar with.  Soup and fruit seemed like a good choice.  Fruit was quite easy.  Get out the trusty “never-needs-sharpening-slice-everything-effortlessly” knife and whack away.  Wow, it really looked easy on TV.

After I put on a band-aid and tossed out the red-blotched banana pieces, I took a much slower approach to the apple.  Even if not picture-perfect slicing and dicing, fruit-cutting was completed without further mishap.

Soup is not particularly challenging to me.  The Campbell kids often join me for lunch.  They are advocates of my open, heat, and eat protocol.

I was one proud guy to escape the kitchen without a fire or bloody stub—the cut should heal sooner than the burn.  Do you know how fast water boils in a dish rag mopping up a little spill on a glass-top burner?

My task of fixing lunch for my ailing wife was complete.  I even made a delectable-looking arrangement on the tray with the fruit, crackers, and some cheese.  Then, with the decorum of Jeeves, and a chest rivaling a ruffed grouse, I strutted into the bedroom with her lunch.

She was so grateful.

Initially, anyway.

Upon sampling the tomato soup she inquired as to what I had used to dilute it.

I proudly responded, “Dilute it?  Oh, no,  dear, I didn’t water it down.”

“Then how much milk did you use?”

“Ahhhh, milk?  I didn’t use milk, either.  I didn’t want to weaken the soup, hon.  You need all the nutrients you can get from each spoonful.”

She quickly rose up in bed.  I was quite amazed that only one spoonful of soup would result in such expedience in her recovery.

“What part of concentrate don’t you understand?”

“Concentrate?  On what?” I meekly offered as the air noticeably hissed from my deflating chest.

“Concentrate on what it says on the label.  Dilute with one can of milk.”

Well, that was it.  No more kitchen privileges for me.  At least not unsupervised.

Sue’s in control of the kitchen.  I cook outside.  Fewer dials, settings, and no recipes to follow.  Toss it on, keep the flash fires under control, and pull it off while the meat’s still limber enough to chew.  That’s about all the cookin’ I can be trusted with.

Friday Frivolity: In the Loop

It’s definitely a slow week in the news room when the headline of this Friday story is an expose on Froot Loops.   But, my news room is always of a frivolous nature.  By now, you shouldn’t be surprised when fine print on cereal boxes possesses my mind like a fiendish demon.  I was hungry for food and starved for entertainment.  Besides reading, what else exciting is there to do when you eat breakfast alone.

Normally, Sue fixes me breakfast and eats with me.  Not much to read on eggs, sausage & toast and not much reason to peruse Peanut Butter jars when she’s there to converse with.  However, the other morning I was up very early and my stomach growls for satisfaction about every two hours whether Sue’s awake or not.  So, I grabbed milk and a box of cereal.  It had been a long time since I’ve tasted Froot Loops.

As milk dissolved the loops into swirls of color, I challenged myself to identify which fruits each color represented.  I felt the need to validate my guesses by reading the Ingredients.

All I can say is Kellogg’s is safe from FDA investigation.  Though phonetically implying Fruit, I believe “Froot” is actually hydrogenated vegetables.  Not a single fruit is represented within the box.  Not in any form—flavor, fiber or filler.  Colors may infer fruitiness, but what flavor is Yellow 6, Red 40 or Blue1?

Oh, and what can you make this pronouncement on the box:  CORN USED IN THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS TRACES OF SOYBEANS.  Kinda made me wonder if the Oats were tainted with dandelions, but not enough to warrant such a disclaimer.

With great skepticism, I reached for a second cereal box.  This one proudly advertises “Mixed Berry; naturally and artificially flavored.”  Aside from the obvious question of what other way there might be to flavor something besides naturally or artificially, I hurriedly rotated the box to the Nutritional Facts panel.  Mixed Berry?  Humph…since when is Apple a berry.  Apples were the top “Berry Flavored Filling” ingredient.  I love apples but don’t try to sell me them as berries.

Unlike the circular “loops”, the second box of cereal I selected was Grape Flakes, #3.

REALLY?  Flakes made from grapes?  Okay, I’ll admit grapes may be round and berry sized but a berry flake, …NOT.  I mean, come on, berries make great toppings for ice cream.  Even with a name like Smuckers®, they don’t make a Grape syrup.  Black, Blue, Straw, Boysen and Triple but no Grape.  Beats me why someone would think grape in flake form would be a big seller.  Let’s see, hmmm, do they even make Grape Nuts any more?

This investigation got the juices flowing in my stomach…and I’m not talking fruit juices.  My Omeprozole™ couldn’t turn off the influx of gastric acid into the cereal mix I had ingested.  In the future, it would be better for me to eat cereal before my eyes…or my mind…can focus on the deceiving of Flakey and Frooty cereal ingredients.

Friday Frivolity: Have you seen…

“Have you seen my shoes?”

No, that wasn’t me.  I put my shoes away when I take them off.

It was Sue and we were about to leave.  I was standing at the door.  At times of in-climate weather she might leave her shoes in that area.  Often she sheds them near the couch as she raises the foot rest.  I surveyed the surroundings…none.  Not even a pair that she might not wish to wear for this outing, so I reported: “Nope, they’re not here”.  Off Sue went, muttering about just seeing them somewhere.  Off I went too.  Not physically, but my mind went back to a era when I wasn’t so meticulous about putting stuff where it belonged.

Whenever I’d openly utter such a question as “Where’s my shoes?” my dad would remind me “They’re not my size.” so why would I expect him to know where they were.  Mom would ask the obvious; “Where’d you put them?”  A mother’s words are often quite irritating in their profound logic.

In my adolescent years, my shoes, shirts, and jackets could be almost anywhere….school, neighbors, our hideout were just about as common a place for me to leave them as any room in our home.  But not the closet where they belonged.  The closet was a fail-safe.  It was the location of back-up shoes in case I couldn’t find the ones I wanted.

My adolescence was pre-NIKE.  Actually pre-anything except oxfords or crepe soles.  Oh, sure, I had “tennis shoes”.  Converse Hightops, but they were for gym floors only.  I recall having only 3 pair of shoes which could be worn “outside” — Good, school and play.  The trick was to try to get my school shoes past my mom when I couldn’t find my play shoes.  I’d strategically wait in my bedroom until she went to the kitchen.

The path from bedroom to front door was out of her line of sight.  With the stealth of a lion on the hunt, I’d slink toward escape.  From the kitchen “blind”, big-game hunter mom would take aim.  More often than not, just about the moment I reached for the front door she’d holler; “You’re not going to wear those shoes to play in.”  Shot down in my tracks.

Did I mention how irritating my mom’s profound logic could be.

Back to real time.  Sue is still wandering and muttering about where she didn’t leave her shoes.  I’m wondering why she doesn’t just go get a different pair.  After all, I don’t have my mother’s logic so she could wear most any shoes and I wouldn’t know if they were play shoes or not.

Finally, she returns with a pair of shoes.  As she sits to put them on, I inquire about where she finally found them.  With a sheepish smirk she answers.  “I hate when I can’t find them, and they end up where they belong.”  For me, where they belong is rarely a problem.  Generally, for Sue, that’s the last place to check.  But then, isn’t everything in the last place you’d look for it.

Friday Frivolity: Answer me this

This Friday Frivolity is to initiate something for my readers to participate in.

Most days I publish a ? of the day.  Even though my questions are typically rhetorical—that is to cause you to think, not necessarily answer, I am seeking witty answers.

Even if my silly questions cause you to smile, I believe there is even more humor in answers to my puzzling questions.

For example, I once asked:  If a cow won’t give milk, is it a Milk Dud? 

I got these answers:  That’s udder nonsense.

                       And :   I might even say it’s bull.

With that in mind, I’m hoping many of you will visit my web page —  Look through the ?s I’ve posted there in the past.  Think of a clever comeback.  The aim to get lots of my readers, Facebook friends, and anyone else that happens to surf their way to my web page to submit humorous, if not punny, responses to particular ?s of the day.

Remember, I said funny.  Once I posed:  So…what is the speed of dark? One of my “genius” friends actually sent me the formula.  Also I do have some readers who search Etymology to tell me the source or logic for a word or phrase.  Those may be enlightening, but truth nor logic are what I seek.  Phrase your “answers” to give a chuckle to other readers.

Let’s have some fun. Who’s going to be the first answer today’s ? of the day Is it easier to see the pie in the sky if you’re pie-eyed?

Better yet, who can tell me:  How do you get down from an elephant?

Friday Frivolity: Age Turning?

Why is it that we commonly refer to a birthday as “Turning” a particular age?  Even considering my convoluted mental processing, I cannot ever recall any noticeable turn during any of the celebrations of my birth.  I went straight through the day without any noticeable corner at the precise time of my birth.

So if aging is such a slow, nearly imperceptible arching rather than turns, why do we remember so many age benchmarks?  Very often, I hear birthday celebrants wish they were some other age again.  I thought maybe I’d embark on that delusional retrospect into my age benchmarks.  What age would I like to have remained?

The first obvious stop was One year old.  I looked at a few pictures.  It looked quite inviting to me to loll around in a swing that played music.  Hmmm, why does the music not keep the same metronomic beat as the ratcheting swing spring?  Ahh, but that’s an adult recollection.  I didn’t ponder that anomaly at one year old.

Fact is I didn’t ponder much of anything.  I got just about everything that I wanted.  At least I think I did.  However, that’s the problem with being One…you can’t remember much.  Hmmm.  That’s not much different than today.  I guess I don’t need to be One.  I’m sure I’ve got about everything I want….I just can’t remember where I put it.

I can remember 10, though.  Except for taking out the trash and doing dishes, I had no responsibilities.  Gee, wouldn’t that be great era to languish in.  Come to think of it, I’m not particularly responsible now, and still take out the trash and help with dishes.  So 10 doesn’t really hold much of an advantage over today.

How about the teen years?  Oh, now there’s an age to be.  There’s definitely a tempting mystique about being a footloose and fancy free youth.  Yet even those foolhardy years had drawbacks.

Girlfriends…or lack thereof, was a constant and often overwhelming challenge for me.  And so was wrestling.  No, not with the girls—fat chance of that happening.  Actually, for me, it was a slim chance.  Yet slim did keep me wrestling against boys my size.  Being small was certainly not a disadvantage in the sport of wrestling.

Diminutive size was definitely a disadvantage in all my other athletic endeavors.  My body took a severe beating in most every sport I tried.  Low and behold, today my body takes a beating in about every game of softball I play.  So, why should I desire to be a skinny teen?

Oh, for the glory years of post teen.  Twenty would surely be the age to be.  Independence at last.  Free to do as I please, when I please.  So why did I choose to renounce that liberty and go to college with its restrictive scheduling, required attendance, obligatory studying and incessant testing. Not to mention hectic pace.  Why would I want to trade the leisure of my current retirement for that constraining regimen.  Besides, even at my age I can still have an “all-nighter”.  Of course, in my college days that meant staying up all night.  Now?  it is NOT getting up all night.

You know, now that I contemplate my past, it was certainly filled with wondrous moments, yet I’m not so certain I want to repeat any year of my life.  I suppose that’s what they mean by the “Myth of Nostalgia”.  Our wistful thoughts of our past are often filled with grandeur, yet with closer reflection, our life then was not without drawbacks.  I think I shall very happily turn all future age changes without yearning to go anywhere else than around the corner and onward.

Friday Frivolity: Alabama Adventure

I truly enjoy my time with my brother, ‘Bama Bob.  Just visiting with him and his wife in Alabama is good, but the real fun…if not funny time is accomplishing a “project” with him.  Last summer was one of those times.

The project was replacing a broken roof beam supporting a tool & implement shed.  This project also entailed re-setting one of the posts beneath the busted beam.  Consequently, we had to remove the broken concrete foundation beneath the old post.  Necessarily, we needed a pick-ax to dig through rock-hard clay.  Unfortunately we needed to kneel to hand chisel out pieces of concrete.  Regrettably, we hand-chiseled into an ant colony. Incidentally, we is a generic pronoun more precisely, ME.

In a flash they were all over me like ants on honey.  Oh, wait, they were ants.  Ahhh, they were all over me like flies on fresh…never mind.  Let’s just say there were lots of them and none of them happy.

But, I needed to dig the hole still deeper and could not accomplish that standing up.  To protect me while kneeling, I asked.  “Hey, Bob.  Do you have some ant spray?”

“Sure do.”   Came his assurance and off he went.

I wiped the sweat from my brow along with the ants from my pants.  And a few under my pants too.

I walked over to get a drink of water.

I walked back.

I could have taken a nap before he returned.

I was well rested when he returned.  “Gee, the spray wasn’t where I thought it was.”

He handed me the can.  I took dead aim at the heart of the ant population and pressed the atomizer trigger.  Pfst.

Please take note.  That was a 4 letter pfst.  Not the extended pfssssst I was anticipating.  There were a couple ants that looked up at me wondering if I was blowing a cool breeze their way.  I shook the can vigorously and pressed the atomizer button with all the force my forefinger could muster.  Pft

Please note, 3 letters…no s… Just a puff of exhaust from the can.

Bob quickly exclaimed; “Hmmm, I thought it had more in it than that.”

“I don’t suppose you have a new can somewhere.” I doubtfully queried.

“For an old guy, you’re darned good at supposing.”  He countered

The ants had calmed considerably by this time.  I took several new pick-ax pokes into the hole.  Oh, yeah, that got into the heart of the colony.  I exclaimed; “Break time.  We’ll get the loose dirt out after they go in for the night.”

In the meantime, we decided to go to up the hill to the woodshed for the needed piece of lumber.  The beam we had to replace was quite long.  At the woodshed, I pulled out an identically dimensioned beam.  Identical in width and thickness but was its length sufficient for our need.  So, I asked the logical questioned.  “How long a piece do we need, Bob.”

“That one is long enough.”

“How do you know, you haven’t measured it yet?”

“I know it’s long enough because we don’t have any that are any longer.”

Let me just say that “any longer” we might have gone that day would have been a bumpy ride downhill.  Did I mention that the woodshed is atop a fairly steep rocky hill.

Friday Frivolity: Sign Language

Summer is fast approaching.  That is a time when we spend a lot of time “on the road”.  Here’s a Frivolity I wrote a few years ago about a trip “out east.”

There’s so much to see while driving. Even though I keep close watch of traffic, many highways are divided so I can also gaze a bit at the scenery without much risk of weaving into oncoming traffic.  On a trip to Eastern PA, I discovered that Ohio and Pennsylvania highways are divided not only between east and westbound lanes, it is also divided into toll segments.

I guess I’m really getting old and my memory chip needs an upgrade.  As we approached the first toll booth, I told Sue to get the change out of the glove compartment.  She responded, “Ed, you don’t use change for tolls any more.  Give me your wallet.”  You no longer need a bag of coins for tolls.  You need a credit card.

In addition to divided roads to protect sight-seeing drivers from head-on crashes, they now have washboard strips along the road almost everywhere.  I suppose they are intended to alert a driver when they cross over onto the shoulder.  No doubt you’ve rolled over such wrinkles in the road.  But, did you know that in some locales the highway department actually formed the strips to play a short ditty tune?  I have not yet experienced any noticeable tune, yet I think Pennsylvania’s rumble strips have the mellowest tone.

Pennsylvania is also exciting to drive in for other reasons.  If you happen to be a Demolition Derby fan, Pennsylvania actually puts signs up in good viewing zones.  At least I interpret a sign denoting a “High Crash Area” as a good place to pull off the road, get a good seat and wait for the next Derby to begin.  Pennsylvania also alerts you when you are about to enter an area where reckless driving is rampant…”Beware of Aggressive Drivers“.   Yeah, that’s actually a PennDOT sign.

On one occasion, just after one of those Beware…signs, I came upon a sign alerting drivers of a Duck Crossing Zone.  I was on the alert for ducks yet my mind did wonder if there PennDOT would caution the ducks…Beware of Aggressive Drivers — fly you dumb ducks.  Then I realized such a sign would be wasted.  With aggressive drivers in the area, just how many ducks could there be left to cross the road?

There was another sign which caused me considerable wonderment.  “Targeted Enforcement Area“.   If the sign was indeed true and there was such an area,  why warn drivers.  Wouldn’t that be self defeating for any Sheriff’s department in dire need of cash flow.  Moreover, it wasn’t working as a deterrent.  I was ten over and at high risk of getting rear ended.  The sign was worthless.

Another sign that isn’t worth the money to erect: “Speed Enforced by Aircraft“.  Who’s kidding who?  Enforce the law by aircraft?  What are they going to do, send up Cobra Gunship Helicopters to strafe offending drivers.  And even if the choppers only gun is of the radar variety, how many tickets would it take to pay for an hours worth of aviation fuel.  Once again, the idea of such a sign being a deterrent is faulty.  I’m thinking the warning sign needs to be augmented.  How about hiring a few kids to sit on the mountainside remotely flying drones to buzz speeding drivers.

Regardless of whether the signs are worth the tin and paint, I hope they don’t take them down.  After all, they provide me with many miles of entertaining wonderment.