Expensive Good Samaritanism

Laugh Tracks in the Dust


I learned the hard way last week that being a Good Samaritan can turn out to be expensive. Here’s what happened:
On the day before a forecasted crop-killing freeze, I picked about two bushels of green tomatoes off of my plants with intentions of giving them away to my neighbor who wanted them for making a lot of green-tomato salsa and relish.
Before I gave them away, I wanted to sort off a batch of the ripest and keep them for ourselves — an end-of-gardening-season tomato bonus. So, I sat a bushel of ‘maters on a working table in our garage. Before I started the sorting work, I laid my glasses on the table because I don’t need glasses for such close-up work.
After I finished sorting off our tomatoes, I started to set what was left of the bushel back on the floor. Alas, inadvertently, in the process I knocked my glasses off the table and onto the floor and, as Murphy’s Law would dictate, I planted one foot squarely on the wire-framed glasses — smashing them flat, popping one of the lenses 15 feet away on the garage floor, and twisting the wire frames.
I invented some new words as I searched for the popped-out lens. After a minute or so, I found the lens and had a chance to fully assess the damage done to the glasses. Luckily, I wuz wearing my old “work” glasses, not by best ones. I decided to try to self-repair them.
First, with small needle-nosed pliers, I somewhat straighten out the wire frame. Then I struggled, but finally managed, to snap the lens back in place. I kept working at the ear-pieces, and the nose-bridges, and eventually had the glasses back into what resembled a normal shape — except they didn’t fit right.
That’s when I knew ordering new glasses wuz gonna be a necessity.
So, that afternoon, I made a trip to my optometrist, ol’ T. Ryan Fittum, and ordered a new pair of glasses. And for good measure, I ordered a twin pair of prescription sun glasses, because Ryan had a special if I ordered two pair of glasses at once.
Before I left, my Good Samaritan deed cost me around $350. But, looking on the bright side, I now have a new pair of driving glasses and a new pair of sunglasses. I also have two pair of “working” glasses and my old sunglasses. Plus as bonus, before I left, Doc Ryan, voluntarily repaired my “squashed” glasses back into usable shape. All in all, I’m “glasses rich” at present.
Since the frost I’ve noticed a succession of trees lose their leaves. This fall the drought squelched most of the fall color, but we’ve had a little. It’s interesting that the ash trees lost all their leaves the day of the frost, followed the next day by the hackberry, walnut, red bud, locust, and hawthorn trees. As I write this column, the maples, hedge, mulberry, Chinese elms, apples, cherry and apricot have lost probably half of their leaves. The pin oaks, the burr oaks, and the (I think) lone red oak are still hanging tight to their leaves. If it’s like most years, the pin oaks won’t drop most of their leaves until spring.
I see protesters around the globe are still screaming for the “end of oil.” They are demanding that all oil drilling stop to save the planet. I even saw one bunch of zealots had glued their idealistic butts to the pavement in protest.
That got me to thinking of a world without oil. A simple Google search revealed that 8-10% of all the oil consumed in the U.S. is used for plastics manufacturing. I assume it’s the same everywhere in the industrialized world.
In the future, do the “no-oil greenies” want to live their pampered lives with no plastic? That means a life without plastic containers, plastic wrap, plastics in furniture, flooring, windows, roofing, street coverings, clothing, and even vehicles. The list is endless and probably includes glue. Hope they like cotton and wool.
I found that, assuming that an average car weighs 1,300 kg and that plastics content represents 12-15% of its mass (50% of car volume), this amounts to 150-200 kg of plastic per vehicle, and this is expected to increase in the coming years due to a growing demand from the market for high-performance, lightweight and better fuel-efficiency. Say goodbye to all of that.
And, just think of how much heavier vehicles will be — electric or not — with no plastics. All those millions of tons of extra metal rolling down the “no-oil” gravel roads are going to require more electricity generation.
If I recall correctly, not all that long ago, it was similar “save the forest” protesters demanding we all switch from paper grocery bags to plastic grocery bags to save the trees.
I don’t have anything against protesting. It’s the American way. But, I’d suggest a little critical thinking would be helpful before hitting the streets.
Sadly, I report that passing of another American rock & roll music icon. I learned that “The Killer” — Jerry Lee Lewis — hit the final note of his 87-year life this week. What I hadn’t realized is that Jerry Lee wuz inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame just recently — deservedly so.
Back in my teens, I sweat a lot and had a ton of fun on the dance floor dancing to the music of Jerry Lee Lewis. He was one of a kind. RIP.
Words of wisdom for the week: “Turn the music up so loud you can feel it in your bones.” Have a good ‘un.


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