Banks County Opinions...

APRIL 9, 2003


Column

By: Phillip Sartain
The Banks County News
April 9, 2003

Not so lost and found
I couldn’t believe it. No one stopped to think about the consequences at all. Everyone was just looking for the quick fix. Some fix.
The problem was stray cats. Nothing new there—as far as I’m concerned, all cats are stray and they’d be the first to admit it.
There is no such thing as a domesticated cat, only cat owners with a deluded sense of possession.
The solution to stray cats in large urban areas was to implant a microchip under the skin for permanent identification purposes. When Tabby turns up at the pound, just scan him and send him home.
Think about it, guys. We’re next.
I don’t want this to sound sexist, but I do want to say it: Women have a need to know where their men are at all times.
Men, on the other hand, have a need to periodically disappear. Even when they’re not doing anything wrong or stupid, they still need the comfort and security of vanishing into thin air every now and then.
And for thousands of years, everything has worked out okay. First, there was the extended hunting and gathering trip, where cave guys would be in the primal forest for days on end. Then came the pioneers, checking out the wilderness and paving a path for the wife and kids to follow in a wagon.
But once we began to grow our own food, and the land was pretty much explored up, men had to resort to other opportunities for disappearing for a little while. That’s how neighborhood bars came into existence.
But with this new technology, all men are now in peril. If they can implant a chip in a cat, why stop there?
And it has less to do with identification purposes than it does with total accountability.
Think about it—if they can sew a chip under your skin to identify you, why can’t they sew one under your skin to find you?
In other words, when you slip off to attend a friendly poker game down the street, how do you know that you won’t be tracked down? If a transmitter in you left hip begins to beep in the middle of the game it could be the signal to come home or else. That would sort of take the glory out of a royal flush, wouldn’t it?
Or consider the time honored male ritual of the yearly guys-only camping trip.
Into the dangerous and remote hinterland we go, to smoke cigars, tell dirty jokes, and cough and gag in front of the campfire. It’s the perfect disappearing trick for the modern man.
But with a computer chip nestled under your armpit, the women of the world can use sophisticated triangulation techniques to electronically pinpoint your exact location.
That way, just when things are getting really juvenile, they can pull right up to the campsite in the mini-van, stick their head out the window, and let you know that they’re okay and to hope you’re having a good time.
There will be nowhere to run and hide. No cave will be dark enough, no mountain high enough, and no seas remote enough. We might as well stay home and clean up after the cats.
Thanks a lot, Sylvester. You ruined it for all of us.
Phillip Sartain is an attorney in Gainesville.

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Column

By: Rochelle Beckstine
The Banks County News
April 9, 2003

What to do when pollen levels rocket
1. Stay inside. Do not go to work. Do not get the mail. There can’t be anything really important out there anyway; all the good stuff comes by way of email or the internet. Stay inside and catch up on daytime television. Judge Judy is on three times a day and Dr. Phil has been moved to 5 o’clock. If the air outside appears balmy and the day beautiful, remember the pollen count. Think of the thousands of miniscule allergens just waiting to attack you should you step outside to pick up the weekly paper.
2. Change your air conditioner filters frequently, making sure your filters will remove infinitesimal particles like pollen. It’s important to breathe only the best filtered air.
3. If your boss calls to tell you that you must come to work (or you forgot to run to Quality Foods to buy up all of the bread and milk when the first hint of pollen was sighted), have boxes of rubber gloves on hand and several white masks. Wear them any time you must step outside and discard the soiled gloves and mask as soon as you’re breathing filtered air again. Be sure you remove the gloves without actually touching the outside. Pollen is a sticky little bugger.
4. Shower twice a day to wash off any stray pollen that might have grabbed onto you when you dashed from the house to the car or vice versa. Wash your clothes in hot water to kill the pollen. Add twice the amount of bleach you would have normally.
5. Change your bed sheets daily. You’ll breathe better at night knowing the hot water killed the pollen and your sheets are free of the yellow stuff.
6. Use a pressure washer to blast the pollen off of your car. Some of it could blow into the car’s vent system and make its way into your nose causing an allergic reaction. If you have time, do the same to the driveway, the mailbox, the bushes, the house, the yard, well, you get the picture-pressure wash the outside.
7. Buy up all of the local honey you can get your hands on and eat it on everything. It will help you build immunity to pollen so it won’t hurt as much next year.
8. Pray for rain because rain is the only deliverance for allergy victims. If it rains, go outside and stand in it. Give thanks. This is the allergy-sufferer’s spring. Now is the time to get your spring flowers planted and clean out those gutters. But first attach a lightning rod far from where you’ll be working. (It’s better to be safe than sorry.) Just don’t forget the mask and gloves, pollen may be able to do its work if the wet pollen touches you.
9. Visit the drugstore—there’s an OTC for everything. Eye drops for the itchy, watery eyes and a second set of drops for the burning, irritated eyes. Nose sprays which relieve congestion. Kleenex for the drippy nose. A multitude of medicines for the scratchy throat and the cough and the bloated head feel.
10. Watch the news and realize how much there is to give thanks for. Pray for our soldiers and our President. Have faith that the people in power are making the right decisions and we are left to live our commonplace lives, concerned about the pollen count and traffic in Atlanta. Step outside and breathe deeply. Enjoy the day for it will be the only day like it ever.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.


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