Bonfire of the Ice Shanties
Love – in the time of age spots.
Amor en el tiempo de las manchas de la edad
I originally planned a different topic for this week’s column. A subject that may be of significant interest to those familiar with AARP, audiologists and prunes.
The intent was to write on the subject of romance after 70.
Romance was not my word choice to describe the particular activity I had in mind. However, I am reluctant to use the “S” word in The Pocahontas Times.
Although our adult readers are likely familiar with this term, and a fair share of older teens is probably current on the subject, as well.
Still, I thought that the “S” word might be one of the seven words that George Carlin warned us could never be said on television. I reasoned that the same rule must apply to our wonderful newspaper.
So, older readers, I know our intellectual clocks tick a bit slower at our age, but I assume you have gotten the drift of my intended topic.
I may still write an article about septuagenarian intimacy. Not because I have any particular expertise in this area, I don’t. But, the smiling faces of the aging couples on the Cialis commercials suggest that such activity is not altogether out of the question, even at our age.
Still, I decided to postpone my article on physical intimacy in the golden years.
Author’s note: This is really pathetic; I can’t keep looking up synonyms for the word that really expresses what I want to discuss.
There, I said it.
I pondered the idea of writing about sex during an age when it’s not an uncommon occurrence to go down to the basement to get something. Then, once there, realizing you have forgotten what it was you came down to fetch.
So, feeling foolish and a little frightened of early-onset dementia, you grab a pack of toilet paper, a can of sardines, and something else you don’t really need. I mean, you’ve risked your life to get down to the basement, so you might as well drag something back up the steps to make the trip worthwhile.
Don’t fool yourself, though; the stairs are an avowed enemy of the old. They lie in wait, preying upon fragile bones and diminishing balance.
As for ascending back up the steps, your stairs are counting on the fact that you’ll go back upstairs with both hands full.
Do not listen to the siren song of stairs, “No need to use the handrail dearie; you can make it. You still have it, kid.”
Remember, fellow oldsters, those steps do not have your welfare in mind.
But I shelved this particular topic, not because of the prurient interest it may arouse in readers, but because retirees enjoying intimate relations is just not newsworthy.
If you don’t believe me, just ask anyone under 30. But, expect a response like, “Eww, gross!”
Enough already with these digressions. Back to the topic of this week’s column.
Brothels on ice
I wish to draw your attention to a recent incident in a small town in northeast Ohio. Not because this anecdote is in itself a big deal. In fact, it was a bit overblown. But, it seems to be emblematic of a growing failure to think and speak rationally and reasonably.
The Age of Reason began more than 300 years ago. By all appearances, we are witnessing a major backslide into the Dark Ages regarding critical thinking.
The following story is right out of the “You can’t make up this s**t” department.
A couple of weeks ago, the city council of the aforementioned small town in Ohio debated whether to allow ice fishing on their municipal lake. The mayor was firmly against the whole idea.
Now, if his reservations about allowing ice fishing were based upon safety, that might be understandable. There are some risks in fishing through a hole in the ice. The ice could break, and you could be trapped under the ice or die of hypothermia in the icy water.
But, that was not the mayor’s concern – not at all. Basically, he said that ice fishing leads to ice shanties, and ice shanties lead to prostitution.
Perhaps, the mayor thought it was common sense that ice fishing naturally leads to engaging in the illicit sex trade. That ice fishing is just a cover for “Johns” who purchase wax worms and auger holes in the ice to divert suspicion from their real intentions, is just not a distinct possibility.
Yes, ice fishing may very well lead to ice shanties. I think that we can all agree on that.
As a former ice-fisherman, shanties are not only a comfortable way to fish in frigid weather, but they are a tradition that has been around for many years.
But the mayor’s rationale falls woefully short of deductive reasoning. His conclusion is not a logical assumption from his first two statements. It’s a quantum leap from enjoying ice fishing and erecting a shelter to creating a brothel on ice.
That, or the mayor failed to observe the old maxim, “Before putting mouth in gear, be sure your brain is engaged.”
The following is a typical example of deductive reasoning: All spiders have eight legs. A tarantula is a spider. Therefore, all tarantulas have eight legs.
Or another way to state it; A is equal to B, B is equal to C, so A is equal to C. In the mayor’s approach to reasoning, both A and B are correlated. However, C (prostitution), does not necessarily follow A and B.
Clearly, the mayor had not thought his statement through to a rational conclusion.
Or, perhaps he imagined the following scene.
“Despite the warnings of the mayor, the ice fishermen began installing red lights over the ice shanty doors. In response, the righteous citizens of the town, led by the mayor, formed a mob, wielding torches and pitchforks.
“When the melee was over, the mob had burned down the ice shanties and run the prostitutes out of town on the tines of their pitchforks. The political strategy worked and the mayor was re-elected.”
This scenario sounds eerily familiar!
Hells Angels on the bike path
Several years ago, I attended a city council meeting with a friend in a small town in southeast Ohio. It was a meeting to allow public comment on a proposed bike path through the town.
All of the comments from the citizen attendees were favorable towards the bike path. Additionally, grant money was available for the project. It was felt that it would bring much-needed business and attention to the community.
Many in attendance that evening were shocked when one of the city council members expressed opposition to the bike path. Because, as he stated, “We don’t want those “biker-types’ coming into our town.”
Now, I think this gentleman imagined Hell’s Angels roaring into town, raping and pillaging. Yet, clearly, the topic of the public meeting was to discuss a “bicycle” path.
A bike path would attract families, Cialis couples and serious cyclists. Likewise, “bikers” resplendent in colorful spandex, sporting tiny mirrors on their sunglasses, and wearing geeky helmets do not exactly inspire fear in people.
We expect our doctors to stay current on medical issues. When stepping onto a commercial jet, we have a right to expect that the pilot knows how to fly the plane.
We expect a certain amount of competency in many professions we rely upon. Is it too much to ask of elected officials to be familiar with the contemporary world outside their offices?
What happens when our government representatives are not in touch? The answer is “nothing.” And, that, friends, is the problem.
“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” ~ JFK
Until next week,
A huge thanks to Larry Simonetti of Akron, Ohio, for the tip-off on “Shantygate.” And Mark and Marti Reed for refreshing my memory on the bicycle path debate, out of which rational thinking finally prevailed. Cambridge, Ohio, now has a Great Guernsey Trail hosting thousands of cyclists, hikers, and to date, no fully-dressed Harley riders.