Banks County Opinions...

October 24, 2001


Column

By Adams Fouche
The Banks County News
October 24, 2001

Cell phones don't cause wrecks, singing does
People I see out on the streets come up to me all the time. Some of them throw money and gifts at me, but most just stop and talk.
"Fouche, what exactly is wrong with you?" they ask me.
"Well, not too much. But I will tell you that I like to sing along to music while in my truck and while home alone."
That conversation never actually happened. But it is a good lead-in to today's topic-singing.
Go ahead and admit it. You all do already it don't you? Sure you do. I see you blushing all ready.
You're in your car, driving home from work, listening to your favorite cd (which for you old fogies would most likely be the Bee Gees or STYX or something antique like that).
And then the mood hits you. You check your mirrors to make sure no one is close behind and you slow down to allow a little distance from the car in front of you. You clear your throat and look around.
You always start out kind of muted, singing softly without much emotion. But as the song gets going, you get into the song. Suddenly, you're thrashing around in your seat with your head thrown back, singing at the top of your lungs. And to yourself, you sound like a true superstar with moves that would make even Brittany Spears jealous.
But to the outsider, you look like a doofus covered in honey on a beehive farm, jumping around to shake the bees off of you. And you couldn't carry a tune to save your life.
And just what in the world are you doing with your hands? You're not Phil Collins, but you think you can play the air drums better than he ever played the real thing. Undoubtedly, some of you probably move your arms out from your body and back in again, opening and closing your hands as your arms move, like all those people in dumb boy bands do.
Anyway, you're all into this singing thing and suddenly you come across a bit of traffic. Immediately, you turn the radio down and sit back up in your seat. You kind of just shyly sing out of the side of your mouth, hoping that cute girl in the car next to you is laughing at something funny on the radio.
But deep down you know she's laughing at you because you look like an idiot, especially when she realizes you're singing the theme song to "Titanic" or some crap like that.
Eventually, though, the traffic breaks up and you're back on your own again. You turn the radio up and apologize to your "audience" for the intermission.
Within minutes, you're back into the routine, imagining yourself on stage at Phillips Arena. All is fine until you realize that you were so into the "performance" that you didn't see that car slowing down in front of you. You slam on your brakes but politely bump the car anyway.
No one gets hurt but it's just bad enough to have the police come out and write up a report.
"So what happened here?" the cop asks you.
"Oh, well, I-I-I looked away from the road for a minute," you say.
The policeman just looks at you, then scribbles some notes down on the accident report. Sure, you think you've fooled him. But he knows you really wrecked because you just had to give that "encore performance."
Trust me, he's seen the same thing a million times.
Anyway, back to the point. The moral of the story is this: We don't need to put restrictions on cell phones-they aren't the real cause of wrecks. No, instead, we need to just ban those encore performances. If you're going to sing in your car, keep your show at a three-song minimum. Please, safety on the road is a must. Plus, if you were as good as you think you are, you'd have your own cd by now.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is fouche@arches.uga.edu.

Column

By Phillip Bond Sartain
The Banks County News
October 24, 2001

In the zone
This is hard for me to talk about, but I have to do it. Everyone tells me I need to express my emotions at a time like this. But how do you tell a bunch of strangers that you just lost your best buddy? We'd been together through thick and thin for nearly 11 years. And then, in the blink of an eye, it was gone.
In other words, I sold my truck. It was a perfectly fine little SUV. No major repairs, decent gas mileage, and new tires. Sure, it had a few scrapes and bruises, but it worked. That's the most puzzling part of the whole nasty affair. I had to sell a perfectly good vehicle for no good reason.
My friends had all tried to warn me. "It's gonna happen to you, man," they said.
"Get outta here," I rebuffed them. "You guys just can't handle a little fussiness. I'm in total command of my car."
I should have know I was in trouble when they just shook their heads and shuffled back to their houses to haul another load of used toys to the Potter's House. My own brother pulled me aside. "You'll see. One day you'll be cruising along and then suddenly your brain will explode."
I laughed out loud at that one. "What's the big deal? My children love each other. They'd never do anything like that." He was rolling his eyes as he faded away.
When the final blow fell, it was totally unexpected. It was a short trip to the grocery store with my three kids. I was armed and ready for a potential ambush there. We had negotiated a deal whereby they would only get one box of sugar-laden cereal each, one exorbitantly priced coloring book and one cheap plastic toy while I got a gallon of milk. I can be iron-fisted when I have to be.
But then, when I wasn't looking, I entered into the No Touch Zone. In other words, World War Three broke out in the back seat of my truck. It started out as a simple mindless complaint by one of the girls and quickly escalated into a territorial free-for-all.
"Daddy, Carey is over on my side."
"Carey," I said calmly, "Give your sister some room."
''But, Daddy," Carey whined, with all the precision of a surgeon. "Callie has all the room and I can't move my feet."
I was pretty amazed at what was happening. But then I remembered that I was the parent and that I was, more or less, in charge. So I took a stab at a truce, "Callie, get yourself back where you belong and ...."
But before I could get any further, Susanna, who had been sitting quietly, suddenly took her Arthur book and slammed Carey across the knees. Even before she could wail, Carey retaliated and landed a solid blow to Callie's head, who of course was totally unprepared and responded with some reflexive, but well-placed hair-pulling.
We only live five minutes from the store. And within four, the backseat of my little truck looked like a nest of rabid squirrels fighting over the last acorn on the planet.
My friends had been right all along. After I called 911 and the fire department hosed down the girls, we went straight to the car dealership. I bought the biggest vehicle on the lot so that each girl could have their own seat, six feet of space on either side, and motion sensors to detect intruders.
It's been a week now and I still miss my buddy. I would probably be OK except for what happened last night. I let the girls go with me to the store in our new air bus on wheels. By the time we got there, the girls had all shifted seats so that they were all three squeezed into a single bucket seat. When I looked back, they were all huggy and giggly and kissy with each other.
You know, sometimes I think they do this stuff on purpose.
Phillip Bond Sartain is a Gainesville attorney.

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