May 16, 1996
I have to make a special trip to Colombo tomorrow to check the final plans for the Freethinkers’ Institute (construction to begin sometime in 2020) so I’m coming to you a little early this week.
Is it just me or is there a world wide plot to kill pedestrians? I read in history class once about a man who hated pedestrians so much he invented a machine designed to eliminate them entirely, but very few people like to think of Henry Ford as a psychotic on a mission.
More and more, though, I’ve begun to think that cars do something to their owners that makes anyone crossing the street look like they have a giant bullseye painted right on them. And it’s getting worse.
Now they’ve started conspiring with each other. The other day, while waiting to cross a three-lane one-way street–at the crosswalk, by the way, although I’m proud to say I’ve exercised my pedestrian right to cross the street anywhere in eleven different countries–a car stopped in front of the crosswalk in the lane nearest me and the driver motioned to me to cross the street. He didn’t seem to notice that a mighty automobile river was flowing through the other two lanes at forty miles an hour. So, he and I looked at each other for about ten minutes, me keeping one eye on the still massive flood of traffic and he continuing to motion for me to cross. He was obviously getting frustrated that I was not taking advantage of his courteous offer to turn me into a streetburger, and I was getting worried that eventually he was going to get tired and drive up onto the sidewalk and come after me. Finally he drove off in a huff, and, with all three lanes now open, the flood turned into a trickle and I successfully slipped by an accelerating pickup truck.
The moral of this story is simple and obvious. It also eludes me at the moment. Enjoy this week’s offering.
Stupid Criminal Hall of Shame
Kentucky: Two men tried to pull the front off a cash machine by running a chain from the machine to the bumper of their pickup truck. Instead of pulling the front panel off the machine, though, they pulled the bumper off their truck. Scared, they left the scene and drove home. With the chain still attached to the machine. With their bumper still attached to the chain. With their vehicle’s license plate still attached to the bumper.
South Carolina: A man walked into a local police station, dropped a bag of cocaine on the counter, informed the desk sergeant that it was substandard cut, and asked that the person who sold it to him be arrested immediately.
Indiana: A man walked up to a cashier at a grocery store and demanded all the money in the register. When the cashier handed him the loot, he fled–leaving his wallet on the counter.
England: A German "tourist," supposedly on a golf holiday, shows up at customs with his golf bag. While making idle chatter about golf, the customs official realizes that the tourist does not know what a "handicap" is. The customs official asks the tourist to demonstrate his swing, which he does–backward! A substantial amount of narcotics was found in the golf bag.
Arizona: A company called "Guns For Hire" stages gunfights for Western movies, etc. One day, they received a call from a 47-year- old woman, who wanted to have her husband killed. She got 4-1/2 years in jail.
Texas: A man convicted of robbery worked out a deal to pay $9600 in damages rather than serve a prison sentence. For payment, he provided the court a check–a *forged* check. He got 10 years.
(Location Unknown): A man went into a drug store, pulled a gun, announced a robbery, and pulled a Hefty-bag face mask over his head–and realized that he’d forgotten to cut eyeholes in the mask.
(Location Unknown): A man successfully broke into a bank after hours and stole–are you ready for this?–the bank’s video camera. While it was recording. Remotely. (That is, the videotape recorder was located elsewhere in the bank, so he didn’t get the videotape of himself stealing the camera.)
(Location Unknown): A man successfully broke into a bank’s basement through a street-level window, cutting himself up pretty badly in the process. He then realized that (1) he could not get to the money from where he was,(2) he could not climb back out the window through which he had entered, and (3) he was bleeding pretty badly. So he located a phone and dialed "911" for help…
Virginia: Two men in a pickup truck went to a new-home site to steal a refrigerator. Banging up walls, floors, etc., they snatched a refrigerator from one of the houses, and loaded it onto the pickup. The truck promptly got stuck in the mud, so these brain surgeons decided that the refrigerator was too heavy. Banging up *more* walls, floors, etc., they put the refrigerator BACK into the house, and returned to the pickup truck, only to realize that they locked the keys in the truck–so they abandoned it.
(Location Unknown): A man walked into a Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled– leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars.