Things I don’t un­der­stand

The Covington News - - OPINION -

There are many, many things in this world that this old boy just doesn’t un­der­stand. Folks who know me know that I pretty much wear my feel­ings on my sleeve, and that what you see is what you get. I’m not long on sub­terfuge, have great dis­taste for those don­keys who try to im­press the rest of us with how im­por­tant they think they are, and ev­ery once in a while get fed up with things and just vent to any­one within earshot.

That’s be­cause some­where in the long ago, some­body told me that I’d get wiser with age. And I keep wait­ing for it to hap­pen. Nowa­days I’m think­ing that whoever said that was just play­ing a trick on me, and that the only way I’ll ever fig­ure things out is as the old hymn says: in the sweet bye and bye.

Well, I don’t want to wait that long. So I thought I’d just ram­ble a lit­tle to­day about things I don’t un­der­stand, in the hopes that when I run into you on the square or at Kroger or at one of the up­com­ing East­side High foot­ball games over at Sharp Sta­dium you can en­lighten me.

And I won’t even men­tion heavy things like the sit­u­a­tion in the Mid­dle East, the up­com­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, re­li­gion or why Michael Vick should rot in prison.

No, I’ll keep it sim­ple, for I’m a sim­ple man, who sim­ply does not un­der­stand.

The other day I was head­ing east on Floyd Street and sought to turn south onto Dear­ing. It was all I could do to make the turn be­cause a ve­hi­cle was sit­ting there on Dear­ing fac­ing the north­bound stop sign, and spilling over onto my side of the road.

At first I thought it to be a sim­ple case of a dumb driver on a cell phone not pay­ing enough at­ten­tion to his po­si­tion in the lane. Closer ex­am­i­na­tion, how­ever, re­vealed that it was a case of the ve­hi­cle just be­ing so ex­trav­a­gantly huge that it took up the whole dog­gone road.

Get a load of this, friends. It was a Lin­coln Con­ti­nen­tal pickup truck. That’s right. A Lin­coln Con­ti­nen­tal dog- gone pickup truck was fill­ing up his side of the street and spilling over the cen­ter line, mak­ing it tough for me to make a sim­ple turn. I don’t un­der­stand. I need some­body to ex­plain to me what has brought Amer­ica to the point where Lin­coln Con­ti­nen­tal mar­kets a pickup truck. I mean, what kind of per­son drives such a truck?

Who, other than a don­key who wants to im­press the me­nial servi­tude with his own lofty so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus, would need such a ve­hi­cle?

Pickup trucks are for folks who work for a liv­ing. They’re hon­est, hard- work­ing folks who are painters, car­pen­ters, plumbers or brick lay­ers. Pickup folks coach foot­ball, haul ma­nure and loads of fire­wood, chew to­bacco and drink beer.

In other words, pickup folks sweat. They’re for real. And al­though I per­son­ally am par­tial to Chrysler prod­ucts, the truth is that when I think of pick­ups I think of only two va­ri­eties: bow ties or blue ovals. In my mind, a pickup is ei­ther Chevy’s “ heart­beat of Amer­ica” or is “ built Ford- tough.”

What in the world is a Lin­coln Con­ti­nen­tal pickup truck? What’s it for? To take serv­ings of Rus­sian caviar and French cham­pagne from the re­frig­er­ated stor­age shed in the back yard to the ser­vant’s en­try­way near the palace kitchen?

I mean, if you drive a Lin­coln Con­ti­nen­tal pickup truck, who are you try­ing to im­press? Work­ing folks? Are you plan­ning on haul­ing some chicken ma­nure in that thing that costs more than a school­teacher is paid for a year’s work in the class­room? Do you think that be­ing seen in it makes oth­ers think you ac­tu­ally sweat? I just don’t un­der­stand. Sim­i­larly, I don’t un­der­stand those folks who spend scads of money on a Har­leyDavid­son mo­tor­cy­cle, then haul it on a cus­tom­ized trailer be­hind their 21- foot- long Sub­ur­ban or Ex­pe­di­tion, and ride it through the Smok­ies or on “ the strip” at any beach town to im­press folks with how real they are, as they give those know­ing waves to other bik­ers.

I mean, what are they about? Do they re­ally think that pass­ing mo­torists be­lieve they were at Wood­stock? Or left home to sell flow­ers at Haight- As­bury? Or are char­ter mem­bers of the “ Hell’s An­gels” mo­tor­cy­cle gang?

I just don’t un­der­stand.

An­other thing that has me a bit miffed is the sit­u­a­tion re­gard­ing storm drains in our neck of the woods.

De­spite our present dearth of pre­cip­i­ta­tion, it hasn’t al­ways been so. A few months ago we had such fre­quent del­uges of rain that sev­eral of our city streets were flooded. They flooded so badly, in fact, that the runoff ru­ined the yards and flower beds of a con­sid­er­able num­ber of tax- pay­ing cit­i­zens.

Th­ese cit­i­zens raised an out­cry, and the city not only made resti­tu­tion for the dam­ages, but in­stalled spiffy new grated storm drains in those trou­bled ar­eas to cir­cum­vent fu­ture in­stances of a sim­i­lar na­ture.

The prob­lem is, when the spiffy street sweeper ma­chine comes around, it piles up de­bris all across the face of those spiffy grated storm drains, ef­fec­tively block­ing them and cre­at­ing even more of a po­ten­tial haz­ard than had ex­isted be­fore they were in­stalled.

And de­spite weekly vis­its by trash crews who du­ti­fully take away garbage, re­cy­cling ma­te­ri­als and other trash which home­own­ers pile up by the curb, no­body takes the time to sweep the grates clean and clear ob­struc­tions from the spiffy storm drains. I just don’t un­der­stand. Next, there’s the most con­fus­ing and most in­ter­est­ing case of all for me: the hous­ing mar­ket. In the old days, a house was a place where folks set­tled, lived, raised a fam­ily, built mem­o­ries, grew old, en­joyed the twi­light years to­gether and then left to their suc­ces­sors.

Nowa­days, a house is a state­ment. Where you are tells folks what and who you are. How big, how costly, and how dec­o­rated your house is, I think, the name of the game.

What ever hap­pened to a house ac­tu­ally be­ing a home? You know — a place where life hap­pens — not just a place to keep in pris­tine, per­fect or­der so that it looks like the cover of South­ern Liv­ing.

And prices for houses th­ese days bog­gle my mind. I saw an ad for a brand new home in a ritzy, in- town neigh­bor­hood, re­duced to only half- amil­lion dol­lars. That’s … re­duced. And the first thing the new owner will do will be to buy wide plank, plan­ta­tion­style blinds and shut them so no­body can see in. Of course, that means the owner can­not see out, ei­ther. So they’ve just paid half- a- mil­lion bucks not to be able to see out.

Hey, even pris­on­ers can see out of their cells. I just don’t un­der­stand. Fi­nally, though, I find my­self most con­fused con­cern­ing re­cent events in­volv­ing un­ruly cit­i­zens who failed to fol­low in­struc­tions be­ing shot dead by law en­force­ment of­fi­cials.

Just this week a po­lice of­fi­cer in a metropoli­tan At­lanta county pulled an er­ratic mo­torist over. The po­lice of­fi­cer in­structed the cit­i­zen to stay in the ve­hi­cle and to keep his hands in plain view. Ac­cord­ing to tele­vised news re­ports, the mo­torist jumped out of the car and ap­proached the of­fi­cer, mak­ing threat­en­ing ges­tures. The cop shot him dead. Now, I’m not the bright­est crayon in the box. But if an armed po­lice­man tells me to act in a cer­tain man­ner, I com­ply. In th­ese crazy times in which we live, po­lice of­fi­cers are at risk just by be­ing in uni­form in the pub­lic eye. So when an of­fi­cer tells me to do some­thing, I fol­low the Nike shoe slo­gan mantra: just do it.

But I guar­an­tee you, there will be an inquest into the mat­ter in the neigh­bor­ing metro county. It’ll turn into a witch hunt, and folks will try to por­tray the of­fi­cer as the wrong- doer.

News re­porters will feast on the pro­ceed­ings, and of­fi­cials not even re­motely con­nected to the in­ci­dent will make grandiose com­ments as if they were eye wit­nesses. And the cop, whose life was at risk, who gave clear in­struc­tions to the man who was threat­en­ing him, will go through a most dif­fi­cult time as it plays out. I just don’t un­der­stand. For you see, I know a lot of peo­ple. I mean, re­ally, I know a lot of peo­ple. And of all those folks I know, only two are li­censed and have hand guns with them at all times. Just two. And none of the folks I know would jump out of a ve­hi­cle and charge at a po­lice­man while mak­ing threat­en­ing ges­tures. None of them.

Per­haps when I run into you on the square, or at Kroger, or over at Sharp Sta­dium, you can ex­plain it to me. Oth­er­wise I guess I’ll just have to wait ‘ til the sweet bye and bye to know what makes some things tick.

But for now, I just don’t un­der­stand.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.