Saturday, September 30, 2017

Slipping away....


 
 I suspect I’m not the only one with this problem, but things have a way of slipping up on me without notice. We have a metal roof on our shop that has been there for over 50 years, and every once and a while I have to give it a coat of paint. I see it every day, when I come home from working on other people’s buildings, and it fades and rusts so slowly that I don’t realize when it needs a little attention. This summer it got so bad that a couple of guys drove all the way up from Alabama and offered to paint it for me.

             After they stopped by, I decided it was probably time for a fresh coat of paint, but even then I didn’t know how bad it needed it until I climbed down for another bucket, looked up, and compared what was painted with what wasn’t. It looks pretty fresh now, but I’m sure if I live long enough, it will slip up on me again.

             That’s just one of many things that slip up on me. The other day our daughter-in-law told me that our Granddaughter’s basketball game was being played at the high school gym. When I asked if it was the old high school gym or the new high school gym, I was informed that there was only one high school gym.  I realized it had been the high school gym for 46 years, and the old high school gym had been the grade school gym for the same amount of time. That one slipped up in a hurry.

            I’ve also noticed that our government tends to slip into areas of our lives where it wasn’t before. Sometimes when we don’t realize it, sometimes when we realize it but don’t care, and sometimes when we realize it and care, but are too busy taking care of other things. Slowly but surely, it’s ended up in just about every area of our lives. It’s been a long time since most of us could name just three things that the government doesn’t tax or regulate.

            Last week President Trump scolded some NFL players for not standing when the national anthem was played before a football game, and then made a disparaging comment about their parentage. I don’t think it was anything official, but the people who don’t like the president thought it was a terrible case of government slipping in somewhere it didn’t belong, and the people who like the president thought he should  have slipped in a little more.  I thought it was more of an employer/employee squabble, and that they should work it out between themselves as best they could.

             But then someone said that since the taxpayers paid for the stadiums the NFL uses, they should have a say in what the players say and how they act during the game and pre-game.

            What? Taxpayers are paying for the stadiums that millionaire NFL team owners and millionaire players are using?

            Well, when did that happen?

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Shiftless....


          The first car I ever drove legally was a 1965 Rambler American. My Dad bought it when my older brother Charles got his driver’s license, and I shared it with him when I got mine. We also had to share it with Mom when Dad was driving the station wagon, or with Dad when Mom was driving the station wagon. Mom and Dad had 8 kids, so we were used to sharing a lot of things, but when you’re 16, it’s tough to share a car with anybody.

            I don’t remember exactly how big the engine was, but I do remember it was somewhere under 200 cubic inches. I got a ticket for attempted speeding once, but as long as you came to a complete stop when you were supposed to, we didn’t have too much trouble with the local police.

            It also had a 3-speed manual transmission, with the shifter located on the steering column, as I believe God intended. That’s where shifters were found for years for the most part, unless you had a really fast car, or sometimes a truck. Then it was probably on the console or the floor board. Even when you graduated to an automatic transmission, the shift lever was usually still on the column, unless you had bucket seats, which were cool if you were cruising around, but not so cool if you wanted to drive with your arm around your girlfriend.

            I’ve been driving legally for 49 years, and my truck’s shifter is still on the steering wheel column, across from the turn signal lever. Sometime back they moved the dimmer switch off of the floorboard and incorporated it with the turn signal lever. I handled that change pretty well, and only got my foot tangled in the steering wheel a couple of times before I adapted to the new location. I think most dimmer switches are in the same place now, and all you have to figure out is whether you need to pull it towards you or push it away from you to change from bright to dim.

            Sometimes when we travel somewhere with Mom and Dad nowadays, I drive their car. They have an automatic transmission, but they have bucket seats with the shifter on the console. I suspect if they would have had bucket seats years ago, they wouldn’t have had 8 kids and I wouldn’t have had to share so much. Anyway, whenever I drive their car, I always reach for the lever on the steering wheel column and turn on the windshield wipers before I get the car in reverse and back out of the garage. I’m not sure Dad believes my explanation that I’m just checking to make sure the wipers work just in case it starts raining, but so far he hasn’t challenged me on it.

            My wife traded cars a couple of weeks ago, and as luck would have it, they moved the shifter again, and this time it’s not even a lever. It’s a knob on the dashboard, and every time she lets me drive I spend the first couple of minutes grabbing air where things used to be, reaching for a key that doesn’t exist, turning on windshield wipers that don’t need to be turned on, and dimming lights that don’t need to be dimmed.

            I read a story the other day about somebody working on a car that drives itself.

            I think I’m ready.