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Thursday, March 1, 2012


Greetings fellow travelers, do you all have your towels? The answer is 42. I don't care what the question is.

My apologies to Douglas Adams for borrowing his material. He may now have it back. 

Responsibility and reality have delayed my writing this morning as I attempt to balance what I have to do, with what I want to do. It is a common problem that we all share and part of that whole "acting like a grown up" thing, but I hold to the premise that we don't HAVE to like it.

The weather for beautiful downtown Fallon has gone a bit damp with a high predicted to be in the neighborhood of 44 Fahrenheits, with mostly grey skies looking like dirty cotton balls. Rain chances are about two thin dimes less than four bits (think children!), and around 40 mph of "where is my lawn chair, and where did this chicken come from" wind from the West. Just to be sure we see it all, the wind will shift to the North tonight and maybe we will see a few snow flakes, maybe not. With the temperature dropping to 16F, my guess is no.

Anna and I made the trip to Reno and back last night with no weather problems, and only a few frayed nerves on my part as we took a slightly different route through south Reno. 

I hate having cars all over me as I try to maintain the posted speed, stay in my lane, and find my turn in the dark. No matter how fast you are going, someone wants to go faster and THEY all know where they are going. I really do try NOT to be that old fart jamming up traffic as his Model T does 15 mph in a 55 mph zone. We have all seen people slowing down, trying to read street signs or address numbers. It IS maddening for both parties. I did not scream when my navigator told me to turn and we ended up in a bank parking lot.

We did finally make the correct turns and arrived at the Reno Herpetological Society meeting place just fine. I fussed around the parking lot until I found a place that I could back the Subaru into and still give us enough room to get the doors open. There were a lot of vehicles in that lot! 

The RHS meetings average four times the number of people that we see at Mensa monthly meetings, and they don't have food! Unless you want frozen rats; there is almost always a bag or two of those handy. Our leader noted last night that he really, REALLY, doesn't want to forget a bag of frozen rats in the freezer of our meeting location again, (which happens to be a large church) and have to get another telephone call from the secretary who found them while looking for ice. Judging by the redness of his face as he recalled the incident, I would love to have heard THAT call.

I successfully avoided winning anything in the raffle, again, I am very good at picking the "donation only" tickets. The money raised allows us to bring in really good speakers from outside of the area to supplement our local volunteer presenters and helps keep the interest level high. There are many lessons to be learned about how to run an organization from this young group of leaders. They are tech smart and good communicators, and put the good of their group ahead of their own wants. I am taking notes.

In light of our recent meeting and because I feel the need for some humor right now, I am going to include a previously written story today, and yes, there will be another tomorrow, so I will get fussed at for sharing too many. No disrespect intended in this story and let me know if it made you laugh too.


It was the summer of 1973 and at the time I was in the army stationed at Ft Benning, Georgia. We lived in a little town called Smith Station, Alabama which was about thirty minutes drive from the base. The road I traveled to get to work brought me in through back side of the military reservation, on the opposite side of the Chattahoochee River from the Lawson Army Airfield. 

The airport control tower was my destination on this slightly damp day and I had reached the Alabama side of the base, just across the river from the NW end of the runway. Ahead of me on the two lane road which was lined by Kudzu vines making it tunnel like (but with an open top), was a sedan blocking the road.

I slowed down to a speed which didn't even register on my speedometer, because ahead of me the car was backing, and pulling forward, then backing again. It was like they were attempting to do a three point turn around, but had omitted the turning part.

When I got closer I could see that it was a military police (MP) vehicle with two soldiers inside of it. At about two car lengths away I came to a complete stop in my travel lane and waited. That is what one does when an official vehicle is blocking the road in front of you on a military base.

The driver finally noticed me sitting there and brought his vehicle into the opposite lane. He sat there with his window up and his face mashed against the glass, looking for all the world like, (and forgive me my police friends) Porky Pig. That nose smashed upward so you could see the nostril openings, his fat pink cheek jowls, and that bus driver style hat pushed back on his head. I had to shake my head to clear the image.

He looked at me and waved me forward, then pointed down at the road next to his car. I crept forward and leaned out of my open window to look, much to the horror of the MP driver who had his window rolled up tight. As I pulled alongside his vehicle I noticed that he even had his door locked. This guy was really scared of something. He kept gesturing and wildly pointing downward. I looked and looked and all I could see was a bicycle inner tube with a red patch on it lying on the center line of the road.

By gesturing like I was operating a window crank, I finally got the frightened MP to roll his window down a couple of inches so I could hear what he was saying.

"SNAKE!" he said, and pointed down, nodding his head "yes" vigorously for emphasis.

I looked again to be sure and then leaned back into my vehicle, struggling hard not to laugh. I made a motion like drawing a pistol out of a shoulder holster and Porky nodded, then turned and spoke to his right seat partner, who pulled his sidearm. I gave the OK sign and saluted. Officer Porky-in-Charge returned my salute with a snap.

Continuing on to work, I looked in my rear view mirror and was not at all surprised to see the MP patrol car continuing to kill that bicycle inner tube snake. They are very dangerous you know; they can leap straight up off the pavement and through car windows if you give them a chance.

I suppose that I should have felt safer, knowing that our Military Police were on the job, but somehow all I could see was Porky Pig killing an inner tube when I closed my eyes.


Again, no disrespect intended towards any police force military or civilian. People have all kinds of very real fears to deal with and I know this first hand. But, when a situation is funny, especially absurdly funny, it is also wrong to not be allowed to laugh at it. So forget the guilt trip, laugh at funny stuff. You will live longer.

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