We were driving down a busy two-lane surface street in Portland, Oregon. We were in the left lane. A few blocks away we would need to make a right turn in order to reach our destination which was, ostensibly, the ultimate goal of the expedition.
You can probably see where this is going. Kudos to me. I have done my job as a writer. This is called foreshadowing.
Everyone in the right lane was somehow able to sense my need and aggressively squeezed together like sardines in a can. It was truly something to behold.
Dammit, I thought angrily to myself. I knew I should have changed lanes when that open spot presented itself 42 miles back. Who knew that would be my one and only opportunity? But that’s the way this shit works.
I could have done what everyone else does and slammed on my brakes while nudging to the right daring everyone to miss me but that’s not my way. I like to be different. I like the path not taken.
In this case that was a few blocks further on down the road. And that’s where this adventure really begins.
This is one of those topics on which I harp on from time to time. And by “harp” I pretty much mean the instrument my family members must be playing up in Heaven. Right after they accidentally burned down the family tree with a carelessly discarded lit cigarette.
Apparently I’m the proverbial apple that fell far from the tree. Or, in Taker family terms, I’m a mutant. Ironically, at least in this context, I’m a dying breed. You see, I don’t smoke and I never have.
I grew up in the “typical” American family. Our core family unit consisted of mom, dad, a sister, myself and 2.3 cats. Assuming the smoking rate back then, the math is already amazing. For simplicity’s sake we’ll say the odds of an adult smoking were one-in-three back when I was a youngling. Based on that, the odds of me being the only non-smoker in a family of four was about 1 in 27.
But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there. My sister had some children. 4 out of 4 of them are smokers. I had a son. He’s a smoker. My wife had a son. He’s a smoker. My son just announced his pending nuptials on Facebook. Nearby was a picture of the lucky couple. Both were proudly holding cigarettes.
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Sure, football is stupid, only a game, and something certain so-called manly men do to squeeze precious nectar of testosterone out of their nutsacks like an orange on a juicer.
In other words, you have come to the right place for inciteful NFL postseason analysis.
It’s the playoffs.
Those of you who caught my microblog on Twitter of the San Diego Chargers vs. The Denver Broncos already know what to expect. I’m going to hit it and I’m going to hit it hard.
The San Diego Chargers could have beaten Peyton Manning and The Denver Broncos in Mile High Stadium if they had followed my carefully developed strategy. Since Peyton’s offense was too powerful, my advice was to not field a defense and allow the Broncos to score at will. (This is essentially what happened.) Then, when on offense, the Chargers could break out their secret weapon and run the fake punt on first down. Every first down of the game.
–Tom B. Taker
Alas, the Chargers failed to heed my advice, so I’m forced to offer my predictions for the rest of the playoffs.
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I am proud to be an American.
Whoa! What the fuck was that? And, more importantly, who’s going to help me change my diaper?
So let me get this straight. You love America, too. And to prove it you’re going to make something go boom boom. Do you mind if I get some background information? Are you the same guy from elementary school who got paper towels wet and threw them into ceiling lights until they blew up? Are you the one who was so fascinated with fire that he set his junior high school locker ablaze? Do you think shooting a gun up in the air is good clean fun? No, no, don’t tell me. Let me guess. All the same guy, right?
Just in case you doubt my cred to discuss this topic, please know that one time I visited the game store where
my son the gerbil liked to hang out. Staff regaled with me with stories of my son’s exploits in the back parking lot shooting bottle rockets using his ass as the launch platform. So I think I’m qualified!
In 2012, 60-percent of the year’s fireworks injuries occurred between June 22nd and July 22nd, sending an average of 200 people per day to the hospital. … All six fireworks-related deaths that happened last year involved illegal or homemade fireworks.
–Source: All the Amazing Facts About Your Fireworks Injury (Gizmodo)
Fireworks are a product. I know for a fact that those who make them have a profit motive. What I secretly suspect, however, is that they also hate America and are out to conquer us one body part at a time. Yes, it’s a theory, but it fits the available facts, dammit!
There’s no such thing as a zero error rate in the manufacture of products. Stay with me here. I’m building a logical proof piece by piece (if you’ll pardon the expression). That means some percentage of fireworks legally sold in this country are inherently flawed. Use of those products is, therefore, a calculated risk. Fuck that. I’ll stick with the craps table. I deem that to be an acceptable level of risk, but hey, that’s how I roll. Your mileage may vary.
Some, like me, might argue further that just the existence of the product is an intentional design flaw, but I won’t go there.
I’ll just say, like I am often wont to do, “What could possibly go wrong?” Life is dangerous enough. Why do we deliberately go out of our way to do nonsensical things that have no logical purpose that increase the odds against us? That makes absolutely no sense to me.
At ease, people. Blow ’em up if you got ’em.
BTW, the fireworks we give to youngsters make a lot more sense. Sparklers. So pretty. And what are they? Pieces of metal burning at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees or about as hot as a blow torch.
What could possibly go wrong? (Oops. There I go again.) I can’t understand how sparklers are responsible for 12 percent of reported fireworks-related injuries.
Transportation increases the odds of accidental fatalities. However, remaining stationary does not reduce the odds to zero.
–Tom B. Taker
In other words, getting from Point A to Point B can be inherently dangerous. Any method of transportation that moves your body through the physical universe increases the chances you’ll take it in the shorts. The moment you begin to move your odds of dying increase. This can take many forms. It may be a flight from Los Angeles to New York City. It might be your morning commute to work in your car. Or it could be as short of a journey as stepping into the bathtub. Or even just getting up out of your chair.
So you might think to yourself, “I’m not moving. I’m going to sit right here and remain safe.”
A nice thought. Except that death may still find you.
For example, you could be on the bed in your very own home when a sinkhole suddenly opens up and you’re just gone. Or, ripped from the headlines just yesterday, you could be standing in your home when the ceiling violently gives way from the impact of a jet aircraft. There are no reports of deaths on the ground in this latest incident, but a young boy did get nicked on his forehead. Come to think of it, the last time I wrote about this theory, I used the example of a jet aircraft engine landing on a house. As always I hate being right.
Being alive can be dangerous.
Maybe it would be a good idea to go for a walk, clear my head and think things over. (Hint: It’s not.)
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