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Listen up, Toyota—relocate the brake pedal!

Listen up, Toyota—relocate the brake pedal to save lives!

This is my suggestion to Toyota and to all the world’s automakers. The first company that accepts my concept and converts its models in accordance with that concept has a unique opportunity to make a quantum leap ahead of every other automaker in the world. There should be no more sticking accelerators, and claims that the accelerator malfunctioned and contributed to an accident should be reduced or completely eliminated. Also it is my sincere belief that my suggestion, if adopted by all the automakers, would significantly reduce the number of rear-end collisions.

Move the brake pedal to the left side of the steering post, just as the gas pedal is to the right side of the steering post, then institute the go, no-no concept for controlling automobiles. Color the pedals red and green, with dashboard lights prominently reflecting the use of each—the brake pedal red for stop and the gas pedal green for go, just as traffic is controlled as directed by red and green traffic light signals.

Simple, huh? Make those dashboard lights prominent enough to alert any driver that the wrong pedal is being used. If you want to stop or slow down an auto and the green light is on, you are using the wrong pedal, and conversely if the red light is on and you want to go, you are using the wrong pedal. And car makers perhaps should consider adding a warning horn system and voice announcements similar to those used on commercial planes to alert the pilots in situations such as landing gear not down and locked, or airspeed is too high for landing.

And on the subject of airplanes, in the absence of an autopilot system the pilots of those conveyances use their hands on the controls to manipulate the ailerons left or right to tilt the plane to one side or the other. They also use their hands on the controls to manipulate the elevators, pushing forward to push the nose of the plane down and pulling back to put the nose of the plane up—can you guess what they use to manipulate the rudder to make a turn, either to the left or the right?

If you guessed that they use their feet to manipulate the plane’s rudder, you win the stuffed teddy bear. Yep, they push in with the left foot to turn left, and push in with the right foot to turn right. I feel that we can equate the functions of foot pedals on a plane to an automobile’s brake and accelerator pedals.

Our government apparently believes at least some of such accidents were caused because the driver confused the accelerator with the brake, and accelerated the car’s forward motion instead of slowing it, a conclusion that in my opinion appears valid.

One needs only to observe the proximity of the accelerator and the brake pedal. In a case of a runaway automobile, the first instinct is to get off the accelerator and hit the brake. In such cases the driver gets off the gas and goes for the brake, but because of the proximity of the brake pedal to the gas pedal, the driver simply hits the accelerator again and thinking that the foot is on the brake, holds it firmly on the accelerator up to the point of impact.

The error is caused by the fact that the right foot is used both for slowing and stopping and for achieving, maintaining and reducing the vehicle’s speed. In a case of a runaway auto, the driver takes the right foot off the gas pedal to change to the brake pedal then, under extreme stress, simply returns the right foot to the accelerator instead of the brake.

And at this point I must note that throughout all this action, the left foot is available but doing nothing to help out—oh, if an accident is imminent the left foot is probably exerting tons of frantic foot-pounds (get it?) of energy against the floorboard but it’s energy wasted, and that pressure will probably result in major damage to that stiffened left foot, leg and hip of the driver if a major accident occurs, plus extra stress on various related internal organs if a major accident occurs.

I am passing my suggestion on to the automakers in an effort to bring the auto industry into the twenty-first century—yes, it’s still in the early twentieth century.

Before I continue let me establish my right to speak on this subject. I began driving at the age of 12 and have been driving motor vehicles of every size, weight, color, horsepower and style including personal cars and trucks, US military and US Civil Service government vehicles for the past 66 years. For the first eight years of that 66 years I used my right foot to accelerate, maintain and reduce speed and to slow and stop vehicles with manual transmissions—the left foot was reserved exclusively for the clutch operation.

For the past 58 years I have used my right foot for go and my left foot for no-go, and I intend to use my feet in like manner for whatever number of years I retain the privilege of driving before being curtailed by old age—or otherwise.

In those 58 years I have never had an accident involving an attempt to occupy the same space as another object, whether the object was mobile or immobile. Conversely, in the first 20 years and in my first automobile, I had a head-on collision with an immovable object, namely the corner of a concrete retaining wall on a beach in Jacksonville, Florida.

I was alone and the hour was late and the night was dark and I was in strange surroundings, and I missed a turn and found myself on the beach. And on that dark night and at that late hour on a beach I learned an immutable truth of physics, namely that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. I had a head-on collision with the corner of a concrete retaining wall on a beach in Jacksonville, Florida.

Traveling along beside the high concrete retaining wall that overlooked the beach, I saw a break in the wall ahead and I started a right turn in order to leave the beach and return to the highway. In retrospect, I don’t believe I reduced my speed before beginning the turn, and I saw the 10-foot high wall rushing toward me at a high rate of speed. As I went into the turn my lightweight high-center-of gravity 1948 Chevrolet coupe raised up on its two left wheels, so I spun the wheel left to get all four tires on the ground, intending to stay on the beach instead of turning over or hitting the wall. Yes, spun—my steering wheel boasted a suicide knob, an add-on that enabled young punks such as I to spin the wheel swiftly with one hand. Read on, and you’ll learn why it was labeled a suicide knob.

I was partially successful with my spinning the wheel to the left. I managed to avoid rolling over, but I hit that wall right at the 90-degree point. Whatever my right foot did, whether it hit the brake, stayed on the accelerator, or left the brake and returned to the accelerator was not enough to avert significant structural damage to the auto and to me—the  retaining wall suffered only minor scratches.

I struck the wall at the corner point where it came down to the beach from the highway, and there the wall made a 90-degree turn to the right. I would have been satisfied—nay, happy even—with side-scraping it, either to the left or to the right but preferably to the left, so the contact with the wall would be on the opposite side from where I sat.

The only other part of my anatomy that could possibly have been instrumental in preventing the accident or reducing the damage wrought was my left foot, and I have no recollection of any helpful action taken by that worthy. I had a habit of resting my left foot on the clutch pedal and may have been doing that just before I hit the wall, so the only action the left foot could have taken would have been to push the clutch pedal to the floor, thereby disengaging the gears, decreasing the drag of the transmission and thus increasing the speed of the car en route to the retaining wall.

My 1948 Chevrolet business coupe with a vacuum-shift manual transmission survived the collision. Both the coupe and I suffered front-end damage, major damage to the coupe but relatively minor to me. I unwittingly— and unwillingly—used the bridge of my nose against the steering wheel to slow my forward motion, and managed to break both the wheel and my nose on impact. I suspect that chest impalement and other significant—perhaps fatal—injuries were prevented by my habit of leaning to the left while driving—when everything stopped moving my body was wedged between the left door and the steering column with its broken steering wheel.

A few weeks after eliminating my paltry accumulated savings to recover the Chevrolet coupe from the body shop, I immediately traded it for a sky-blue 1951 Ford convertible with an automatic transmission, and a whole new world opened up for me. I quickly learned that rather than using the time-honored and time-wasting two-part action of lifting the right foot off the accelerator and placing the same foot on the brake to slow or stop the car, I could use my left foot on the brake and needed only to reduce the weight of my right foot on the gas.

Yep, that’s my suggestion. Simply move the brake pedal to the left and teach drivers to use the left foot for braking and the right foot to control speed. As Sophia of Golden Girls fame would say, picture this:

When an accident is apparently imminent the driver must lift the right foot off the gas, move it over to the brake pedal and push hard, and perhaps avoid an accident. But what if the foot when lifted is not lifted high enough and moved far enough to the left, and the sole of the shoe hooks on the side of the accelerator, or the sole of the shoe is not placed squarely on the brake pedal and slips off to the right and back on the accelerator? Disaster is imminent, and even milliseconds saved could mean the difference between life and death.

In summary the crux of my suggestion, and this rambling post in support of it, is that the left leg and foot do nothing to assist a driver in operating a motor vehicle. It remains idle while the right foot is constantly at work, moving from gas pedal to brake, and from brake to gas pedal, ad nauseam.

If the left legs and feet of drivers could speak, they would probably say that they would like to be involved in the vehicle’s operation, and would probably claim that they could do a better job than the right, much as the political left in our nation feels about the political right.

And furthermore, I’ll bet that an atrophy study of the legs and feet of drivers would show that the left is far more susceptible to the disease than the right caused by lack of use, simply because it is allowed to stagnate while the right does all the work—and there again it appears that a parallel can be seen in our political parties.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Postscript: There’s more to the story, including my involvement with a sheriff’s deputy, the US Navy’s Shore Patrol, the people that returned my 1948 Chevrolet coupe to service, and what happened in Jacksonville the night I recovered my car and entered the city over a high bridge and lost my brakes on the way down to street level, and I’m even less proud of that than I am of my bout with the retaining wall. However, I’ve rambled on too long already, so I’ll save the rest of the story for a later post—stay tuned.

 

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Neighbors ‘R Us . . . (via The King of Texas)

The original posting has been available since September of 2009, and has garnered zero votes and a similar number of comments, so I’m bringing it out of the Stygian darkness of past postings and into the brilliant light of a South Texas August sun. Casting any semblance of modesty aside, I can truthfully say that is beautifully written, tremendously interesting and well worth the read—enjoy!

Neighbors 'R Us . . . The purpose of this posting is to share a recent e-mail from my next-door neighbor and my response to that e-mail. The posting includes titillating observations on house-sitting, cats, iguanas, the Galapagos Islands, timeshares, exotic places, lawyers, teachers, builders, grammar, Fox News, McDonald’s, skiing, Texas, Colorado, refrigerators, snot and more—it’s a veritable smorgasbord of completely unrelated items—brace yourselves for a bumpy … Read More

via The King of Texas

 

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Redux: Neighbors ‘R Us . . .

This is a re-do, or re-post, of a prior listing, a mini-essay that spells out the trials and travails of maintaining watch over my next-door neighbors’ home and its contents during  their numerous extended absences, times during which they jet off to exotic resorts in various states to rest and relax, to shrug off the tedious tasks of watering and maintaining lawns and plants and to be relieved of the tedious tasks of caring, feeding, petting and grooming their cat and their two large iguanas.

Actually, I haven’t really petted and groomed the iguanas, mainly because the girls (both are female) have a nasty habit of snotting at people. I’m unsure whether that is an expression of contempt  or respect or love—I am sure of its nastiness—I was struck just above my right eyebrow, a strike made without warning, not even a hiss or a growl or whatever iguanas do to signal a snotting. I am re-posting the original story and using these comments as a lead-in to the fact that my duties have been severely truncated. I still have the home and yards and plants and the cat to tend to, but the iguanas are gone, and in the words of that worthy from the 1960’s (MLK):

“I’m free at last, thank God all-mighty, I’m free at last!”

And now for a speedy disclaimer: Almost none of the above rant is true—almost everything in that drivel is my pathetic attempt at being humorous. The truest part is the fact that I do, in fact, voluntarily act as the caretaker for my neighbors, and I am generously compensated for my efforts, compensation that for a long time included the use of an upscale condo, one located in a very desirable area. However, they finally despaired of me and my family for not utilizing the condo, especially not for extended lengths of time, so they sold it—bummer!

The most untrue part in the above paragraphs is any indication I may have given to a reader that I’m glad the iguanas are gone. That of which I am glad is the fact that they went to the home of a doctor, a licensed exotic reptile collector, one that will undoubtedly attend to every wish and whim of the iguanas.

I’m happy for them, but I miss them—their care was never a burden for me. Well, I suppose the part that involved removing their potty pan from their cage, cleaning it, refilling it with water and returning it to the cage was not my favorite task, but it never detracted from the care I lavished on the ladies. I had my favorite, of course. The larger lady actually winked at me occasionally—not that I consider her act a come-on—it was probably just a friendly gesture meant to reinforce the bond that existed between us. The smaller one never winked at me, not even once, and she in fact was the one that snotted on me. I’ve been rejected by females many times over the years—well, not really that many times—but never so strongly and never so final! The iguanas are no longer part of my neighbor’s lives, nor of mine. I have a sneaky hunch that they do not miss them nearly as much as I do—in fact, I can truthfully state that the pleasure they display when we discuss the iguanas borders on ecstacy.

And now on to my redux of the original iguana posting—you can find it here.  Both the original and this redux are long reads, mini-dissertations if you will, but in my humble opinion are well worth reading. The original post is dated September 27, 2009.

The purpose of this posting is to share a recent e-mail from my next-door neighbor and my response to that e-mail. The posting includes titillating observations on house-sitting, cats, iguanas, the Galapagos Islands, timeshares, exotic places, lawyers, teachers, builders, grammar, Fox News, McDonald’s, skiing, Texas, Colorado, refrigerators, snot and more—it’s a veritable smorgasbord of completely unrelated items—brace yourselves for a bumpy ride!

A rather lengthy (but highly educational) prelude to the e-mails:

Please overlook my ending the next sentence with a preposition—sometimes in writing, one must simply suck-it-up and run with an improperly located preposition.

In the house on the immediate west side of my home reside two of the best friends and neighbors any reasonably sane person could wish for.

There—I did it—I ended a sentence with a preposition. Look how silly it would be to end the sentence thusly: “. . . for which any reasonably sane person could wish.” And here I must echo the words of Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister and hero of World War II, as regards the prohibition of never ending a sentence with a proposition: “This is a situation with which I will not up with put.”

I rest my case.

AIntoThisStuffMy next-door neighbors own several timeshares, broadly scattered around our fifty states. They share their domicile with a cat and two large—quite large—iguanas. Well, they don’t share the actual domicile with them—the cat rambles everywhere, but has a pet entry into their garage for his return at nightfall and at sunup. As for the iguanas, they pass their days and nights in a comfortably large outdoor cage on the backyard patio, a cage with natural climate control aided by a cool-water misting system for summer and a heating system for winter. Both iguanas are ladies by nature, although both lay eggs—lots of eggs, with no contact or input (so to speak) from the opposite sex—which is probably a good thing—if there were contact and input we would probably be up to our waists in iguanas.

The ladies spend their waking hours eating lettuce and iguana-food pellets (enhanced with a sprinkling of orange juice), dumping into a large water-filled pan and hissing menacingly at passers-by. Incidentally, iguanas have a nasty habit of marking spectators. At first I thought they were expectorating (I got hit just above my right eyebrow), but I later learned that the iguana was not spitting—it was snotting.

ALizzieBigYep, the material came from its nostrils. I suppose the word snot as a verb would be conjugated as follows: present tense snot (Do iguanas snot on people?), past tense snotted (The iguana snotted on me), and future tense snotted (By this time tomorrow the iguana may have snotted on me again—but I hope not). My online research revealed many things, not the least of which is that iguanas in the Galapagos Islands snot salt—an environmental curiosity, I suppose. And sometimes the snalt (combination of snot and salt) is green in hue, a color caused by a bacterial infection. In my case I was not subjected to the “green sheen” category—obviously my neighbor iguanas are healthy.

Yeah, I know—TMI (Too Much Information). It’s simply that I enjoy sharing trivia—even gross trivia. Just imagine throwing up (so to speak) this tidbit of information for consideration by attendees at a crowded cocktail gathering—why, one would be spotlighted and lauded by all! And all would welcome learning a new word—snalt. And just consider the possibilities for spirited speculative discussions—should an iguana be fed pepper, for example, the nasal output could be called snepper. And I would suppose that if it were black pepper and a bacterial infection existed, the snepper would perhaps be tinted black, and if red peppers, the snepper would be tinted red. And if fed green peppers, the snepper would probably be green, similar to to the ocean-green hue of snalt, as documented in the Galapagos Islands.

AMineAllMineI would like to believe that the action of my neighbor’s iguana stemmed from mutual respect and admiration, but I believe it was delivered to the tune of, “Stop staring at me!” Since that single incident I have kept my distance with my cap pulled low—just above my eyebrows.

They both work (the neighbors, not the iguanas). The husband is a highly talented builder and the wife is an educator in a local school district. They have vacation timeshares and occasionally jet off to some exotic location for a week or so of rest and relaxation, this time in Colorado.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must reveal that my family also has a timeshare. We gather in the spring at an exotic location for several days, a location that has all the amenities one could desire. And also in the interest of full disclosure, I must state that the location is only a short drive from home, and is made available to us by our neighbors. Their action is purely altruistic and is in no way related to my house-sitting, cat-sitting and iguana-sitting in their absences. If I felt that it was in the form of compensation I would reject it.

Yeah, right—of course I would—not!

AMyOnlyRegretThis is my neighbors’ original e-mail, sent just prior to their departure for one of said exotic locations:

Hi—our brand new refrigerator has a busted condensate pan! It is, of course, under warranty but we didn’t have time to meet a service tech before we left. Consequently, sometimes when it goes through the defrost cycle a little water leaks out onto the floor. I share this information with you not so much as a warning, but as a disclaimer against any potential legal action filed as a result of a slip and fall by a good-hearted neighbor in the process of feeding our critters! In the meantime, instead of getting packed, my wife is cleaning the house from top to bottom because she doesn’t want that same good-hearted neighbor to think that we are a bunch of slobs (as for me, I just issue disclaimers).

I’m going to send this now before my beloved bride reads this, because she might not appreciate my humor!

And this is my response to their e-mail:

Hi—I’m sorry to hear that your new fridge has a problem, but I’m sure the company will make it good. If you like, you can ask for the service tech to come in while you folks are out of town. We aren’t going anywhere. You can give the company my land line number and my cell number. Just tell them to call me and we can set up a mutually acceptable time for him (or her, or them) to fix the problem. I’ll make the fridge available and stand by to ensure that he (or she or they) do not abscond with either of the girls or Rhalph.

Is Rhalph spelled properly? Or is it Raff? Rhalph looks right to me.

Thanks for the heads-up and the disclaimer. I’m already considering my options in case some calamitous event precipitates a lawsuit. You know, of course, that my son-in-law is an attorney affiliated with one of the most prestigious law firms in the Dallas area.

However, please don’t even think of canceling and rescheduling your sojourn to the mountains. In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that the firm, and therefore my son-in-law, handles only lawsuits lodged against corporations—lawsuits against McDonald’s, for example, in the case of “Elderly Lady Spills Hot Coffee in Lap While Leaving Drive Through Lane,” thereby suffering extreme physical damage caused by the beverage coming in contact with certain highly sensitive epidermal tissue, and irreparable mental anguish caused by the depilatory action of the hot coffee.

As Sean Hannity of Fox News is wont to say, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” My son-in-law is the only lawyer I know, and I have no desire to know any others—nay, I have a pronounced aversion to knowing any others.

Oh, and still in the interest of full disclosure, I made up the part that reads, “. . . one of the most prestigious law firms in the Dallas area.” The firm could well be such, but I have never heard, read or seen the claim in any forum—not in discussions, not in print and not in radio or TV commercials.

Hey, I just realized that today is Saturday (I didn’t really realize it—my wife just told me) and y’all are already on your way, so obviously my offer to stand by while the fridge gets fixed is moot. However, I will give myself full credit for making the offer, albeit a day late, and I’ll still send this e-mail—otherwise I’ve wasted a lot of typing. And I’ll make the same offer for next week, or whenever, just in case you both need to stay on the job.

Enjoy, and be careful—I know that most skiers take the lift up and ski downhill. If you do ski, you should reverse that practice—ski only uphill and take the lift back down, and you’ll never be in danger of attempting to occupy the same space occupied by a tree, a situation that is impossible due to an immutable law of physics, namely that “No two objects can occupy the same space at the same time.” And if you should happen to encounter a tree while speeding uphill, any damage, either to you or the tree, should be negligible.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it—I’ll get back to you later with more details.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Neighbors ‘R Us . . .

The purpose of this posting is to share a recent e-mail from my next-door neighbor and my response to that e-mail. The posting includes titillating observations on house-sitting, cats, iguanas, the Galapagos Islands, timeshares, exotic places, lawyers, teachers, builders, grammar, Fox News, McDonald’s, skiing, Texas, Colorado, refrigerators, snot and more—it’s a veritable smorgasbord of completely unrelated items—brace yourselves for a bumpy ride!

A rather lengthy (but highly educational) prelude to the e-mails:

Please overlook my ending the next sentence with a preposition—sometimes in writing, one must simply suck-it-up and run with an improperly located preposition.

In the house on the immediate west side of my home reside two of the best friends and neighbors any reasonably sane person could wish for.

There—I did it—I ended a sentence with a preposition. Look how silly it would be to end the sentence thusly: “. . . for which any reasonably sane person could wish.” And here I must echo the words of Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister and hero of World War II, as regards the prohibition of never ending a sentence with a proposition: “This is a situation with which I will not up with put.”

I rest my case.

AIntoThisStuffMy next-door neighbors own several timeshares, broadly scattered around our fifty states. They share their domicile with a cat and two large—quite large—iguanas. Well, they don’t share the actual domicile with them—the cat rambles everywhere, but has a pet entry into their garage for his return at nightfall and at sunup. As for the iguanas, they pass their days and nights in a comfortably large outdoor cage on the backyard patio, a cage with natural climate control aided by a cool-water misting system for summer and a heating system for winter. Both iguanas are ladies by nature, although both lay eggs—lots of eggs, with no contact or input (so to speak) from the opposite sex—which is probably a good thing—if there were contact and input we would probably be up to our waists in iguanas.

The ladies spend their waking hours eating lettuce and iguana-food pellets (enhanced with a sprinkling of orange juice), dumping into a large water-filled pan and hissing menacingly at passers-by. Incidentally, iguanas have a nasty habit of marking spectators. At first I thought they were expectorating (I got hit just above my right eyebrow), but I later learned that the iguana was not spitting—it was snotting.

ALizzieBigYep, the material came from its nostrils. I suppose the word snot as a verb would be conjugated as follows: present tense snot (Do iguanas snot on people?), past tense snotted (The iguana snotted on me), and future tense snotted (By this time tomorrow the iguana may have snotted on me again—but I hope not). My online research revealed many things, not the least of which is that iguanas in the Galapagos Islands snot salt—an environmental curiosity, I suppose. And sometimes the snalt (combination of snot and salt) is green in hue, a color caused by a bacterial infection. In my case I was not subjected to the “green sheen” category—obviously my neighbor iguanas are healthy.

Yeah, I know—TMI (Too Much Information). It’s simply that I enjoy sharing trivia—even gross trivia. Just imagine throwing up (so to speak) this tidbit of information for consideration by attendees at a crowded cocktail gathering—why, one would be spotlighted and lauded by all! And all would welcome learning a new word—snalt. And just consider the possibilities for spirited speculative discussions—should an iguana be fed pepper, for example, the nasal output could be called snepper. And I would suppose that if it were black pepper and a bacterial infection existed, the snepper would perhaps be tinted black, and if red peppers, the snepper would be tinted red. And if fed green peppers, the snepper would probably be green, similar to to the ocean-green hue of snalt, as documented in the Galapagos Islands.

AMineAllMineI would like to believe that the action of my neighbor’s iguana stemmed from mutual respect and admiration, but I believe it was delivered to the tune of, “Stop staring at me!” Since that single incident I have kept my distance with my cap pulled low—just above my eyebrows.

They both work (the neighbors, not the iguanas). The husband is a highly talented architect and builder, and the wife is an educator in a local school district. They have vacation timeshares and occasionally jet off to some exotic location for a week or so of rest and relaxation, this time in Colorado.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must reveal that my family also has a timeshare. We gather in the spring at an exotic location for several days, a location that has all the amenities one could desire. And also in the interest of full disclosure, I must state that the location is only a short drive from home, and is made available to us by our neighbors. Their action is purely altruistic and is in no way related to my house-sitting, cat-sitting and iguana-sitting in their absences. If I felt that it was in the form of compensation I would reject it.

Yeah, right—of course I would—not!

AMyOnlyRegretThis is my neighbors’ original e-mail, sent just prior to their departure for one of said exotic locations:

Hi—our brand new refrigerator has a busted condensate pan! It is, of course, under warranty but we didn’t have time to meet a service tech before we left. Consequently, sometimes when it goes through the defrost cycle a little water leaks out onto the floor. I share this information with you not so much as a warning, but as a disclaimer against any potential legal action filed as a result of a slip and fall by a good-hearted neighbor in the process of feeding our critters! In the meantime, instead of getting packed, my wife is cleaning the house from top to bottom because she doesn’t want that same good-hearted neighbor to think that we are a bunch of slobs (as for me, I just issue disclaimers).

I’m going to send this now before my beloved bride reads this, because she might not appreciate my humor!

And this is my response to their e-mail:

Hi—I’m sorry to hear that your new fridge has a problem, but I’m sure the company will make it good. If you like, you can ask for the service tech to come in while you folks are out of town. We aren’t going anywhere. You can give the company my land line number and my cell number. Just tell them to call me and we can set up a mutually acceptable time for him (or her, or them) to fix the problem. I’ll make the fridge available and stand by to ensure that he (or she or they) do not abscond with either of the girls or Rhalph.

Is Rhalph spelled properly? Or is it Raff? Rhalph looks right to me.

Thanks for the heads-up and the disclaimer. I’m already considering my options in case some calamitous event precipitates a lawsuit. You know, of course, that my son-in-law is an attorney affiliated with one of the most prestigious law firms in the Dallas area.

However, please don’t even think of canceling and rescheduling your sojourn to the mountains. In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that the firm, and therefore my son-in-law, handles only lawsuits lodged against corporations—lawsuits against McDonald’s, for example, in the case of “Elderly Lady Spills Hot Coffee in Lap While Leaving Drive Through Lane,” thereby suffering extreme physical damage caused by the beverage coming in contact with certain highly sensitive epidermal tissue, and irreparable mental anguish caused by the depilatory action of the hot coffee.

As Sean Hannity of Fox News is wont to say, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” My son-in-law is the only lawyer I know, and I have no desire to know any others—nay, I have a pronounced aversion to knowing any others.

Oh, and still in the interest of full disclosure, I made up the part that reads, “. . . one of the most prestigious law firms in the Dallas area.” The firm could well be such, but I have never heard, read or seen the claim in any forum—not in discussions, not in print and not in radio or TV commercials.

Hey, I just realized that today is Saturday (I didn’t really realize it—my wife just told me) and y’all are already on your way, so obviously my offer to stand by while the fridge gets fixed is moot. However, I will give myself full credit for making the offer, albeit a day late, and I’ll still send this e-mail—otherwise I’ve wasted a lot of typing. And I’ll make the same offer for next week, or whenever, just in case you both need to stay on the job.

Enjoy, and be careful—I know that most skiers take the lift up and ski downhill. If you do ski, you should reverse that practice—ski only uphill and take the lift back down, and you’ll never be in danger of attempting to occupy the same space occupied by a tree, a situation that is impossible due to an immutable law of physics, namely that “No two objects can occupy the same space at the same time.” And if you should happen to encounter a tree while speeding uphill, any damage, either to you or the tree, should be negligible.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it—I’ll get back to you later with more details.

 

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