As I’ve written many times, things change. This week’s topic is not the one I had planned. But, the congruence of circumstances makes topical versatility a must when you write for public consumption.
Three things happened this past week, beginning on Wednesday and going through Thursday. Let me explain.
First (Wednesday), my monthly encounter with a group of elderly folks (AARP—age range, 70-88) created a tsunami of “it’s just not the same as it was when we were young” baloney.
The second thing, which occurred about the mid-point of the FIRST thing, was me losing the mood for listening to such crap!
And, the third thing, you may be wondering? A friend and former colleague—I’m gainfully retired—sent me a video clip, which I will link to shortly.
So, bear with me. If I seem overly critical of OLD people, I’m not. I, too, am old and getting older. However, I’m rapidly losing all tolerance for stodgy OLD FARTS!
These people seem to operate in a singular mode: BELLYACHING… about EVERYTHING.
The world, according to these folks, is going to hell in a hand basket. I get the impression from many of them that they truly believe that the world will fall apart if they’re not around to save it.
Before long, you’re in the middle of a prolonged tirade about how well THEIR generation produced much STURDIER products, ALL of which were made IN America BY Americans.
They go on, ad infinitum, about how morality followed prayer out of the classrooms and out of our lives. Just ask them; they’ll tell you in a heartbeat how much tougher THEIR teachers were and how much stricter THEIR parents were.
As well, I’m sick of hearing them criticize the entire younger generation as a testament to this country’s alleged intellectual and moral bankruptcy.
Concisely, they’re (the younger generation) neither intellectually nor morally bankrupt; as well, neither is this country.
Good teachers have a knack for teaching students HOW to think rather than WHAT to think. And students don’t prevent teachers from accomplishing this feat; Neanderthal parents do.
But, this is fodder for another time. For now, though, if you wax nostalgic as I described above, you need to understand that you are an OLD FART, the essence of what I’m talking about. And you need either to get over yourself or just die.
I’m also growing tired of some of these people in their early to mid-seventies calling me a YOUNG, educated progressive, as though I’m some sort of “green behind the ears” kid. In many cases, I’m only a couple of years younger than they are.
Besides, progressives (young and old) are not responsible for the destruction of ancient, OLD FART traditions or for snuffing out complete decades of their yesteryears.
Educated? I’m gratefully guilty! Progressive? I’m proudly guilty. Young? To quote O. J. Simpson, “Absolutely, one hundred percent, NOT guilty.”
It takes genuine intelligence and progressive thinking to cure, and in many cases, eradicate disease. Without these, there would be NO old farts.
Finding Earth’s context in the Cosmos is going to take progressive thinking. But, if all we do is teach our children WHAT to think, we’ll never find it, let alone understand it.
But, once again, this is fodder for another time. For now, I want to concentrate on Bart.
He’s real—I’ve known him and his wife (living proof that opposites DO attract) for the past six years. And, at 77-years of age, I swear, he seems to have a bit of difficulty with the concept of walking upright.
I’m not “talking” behind his back. I’ve written nothing here that I have NOT said to his face. Regarding many issues, we’ve simply agreed to disagree, in a civil manner, of course.
He’s as sincere as the light of day, generous to fault, and as pig-headed as a Jehovah’s Witness trying to convert you on a Saturday morning. He’s also every bit as empathetic as Formica.
He believes, with every fiber of his being, that women who work outside the home are guilty of moral felonies. And, you don’t want to get him started on never-married mothers!
But, I’m not going there, either. Instead, I want to concentrate on one of his persistent pet peeves: the collapse of the U. S. Automobile Industry. He’s absolutely convinced that Detroit stopped making decent cars in 1976.
In his words, “They built em like tanks back then. People could survive all kinds of bad accidents. Now, all they make are deathtraps on wheels. A strong wind can blow em off the road.”
I’m writing about this NOW for two reasons. The first is the video link my friend and former colleague sent me last Thursday evening. It blows his theory right through the stratosphere.
The second reason is pure coincidence. On a sunny, Wednesday morning in May of 1956, my father was driving one of those “sturdy” cars designed to withstand all sorts of accidents: a 1956 Chevy Bel Air.
It was his day off and he was taking my 3-year-old little brother to visit his grand mom and pop-pop. They never made it. Both were killed instantly when an 17-year-old BOY, home sick, hit them, three-quarters head-on, while drag racing his father’s 1950, 4-ton Cadillac.
In 1976, a group of Paramedics published an article titled, Buckle Your Seatbelts. Of course, in 1956, seatbelts were still an option, an “extra” people had to order.
I’ve lost my copy of the article. So, I’ll do my best to convey the article’s original tenor. However, my post-graduate status from the University of Physics-R-Us, qualifies me to reproduce the timing of the sequence of events and their associated gore.
Here’s the link. But, as you view it, understand that slow motion makes it virtually impossible to understand how fast things actually happened. So, as you watch it, keep the sequence and timing of the events, as I describe them below, uppermost in your respective minds.
As difficult as it is to believe, the time, from the point of initial impact of the two cars in the video to the likely death of the imaginary ’59 Bel Air driver, is less than a full second.
In just seven-tenths of ONE second, the Bel Air’s front bumper and grill disintegrate, causing the hood to collapse (accordion-style) and push back through the windshield.
Even though its frame has stopped, its rear wheels are off the ground and still spinning at the initial impact speed. Its imaginary driver’s legs would have snapped (both of them) from slamming on the breaks and bracing for impact.
The steering wheel would have crumbled away from the steering column, leaving the exposed column’s end to await the arrival of the driver’s chest, which would still be going forward at the initial impact speed.
The imaginary driver’s chest meets the exposed steering column tip. The steering column does NOT give; the driver’s chest does. It plows through the chest wall, collapsing the lungs and filling them with blood.
The car’s frame has buckled; the driver’s head has smashed into the windshield as flying broken internal seat parts hit the back of the driver’s head.
It’s over. It took a mere seven-tenths of one second to kill that imaginary driver. The remaining three-tenths of a second is the time it takes for matter to settle to a complete halt as observers come to grips with the horror of it all.
In just seven-tenths of ONE second, that imaginary Bel Air driver went from a living, hopeful being with a family awaiting his return, to an inanimate object in a coroner’s process.
Think about it! In less than a second, an entire life’s day-planner… canceled FOREVER!
The impact of that video on me was personal. My father wasn’t an imaginary driver, nor was my 3-year-old brother an imaginary passenger. And, my mother, brother, sister, and I did not attend an imaginary funeral; it was painfully real.
It happened fifty-three years ago. But, in all that time, not a day has passed during which I have not thought about my father and brother and the things that might have been.
Until the day she died, my mother cried every Christmas day and each of my brother’s birthdays.
So, Bart, watch the video. Not only are you dead wrong about the safety record of our automobiles, surely you must realize that if the OLD FARTS had their way, there would be NO progressives because we’d still be dying from things like consumption!
Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.