Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll has posses on some widely applicable advice: USE EXTREME CAUTION! She writes:

No, my dear friends, that is not a warning which must be legally appended to the New York Times, Washington Post, or Red Star of the North Tribune, to prevent you from taking any information therein with anything but a grain of salt substitute.

I have recently been on yet another long road trip from Arizona back to Minnesota to see my elderly Papa. We have had a lovely week – going out for lunch and coffee, visiting friends, and watching a nightly movie once I get the DVD player set up, which rarely takes me more than half an hour.

Did I ever mention how many electronic and mechanical devices hate me on sight? When Anthony “Bawling Tony” Weiner’s first creepy photos of himself went viral, his First Lie was that he had been “hacked” (sound familiar?) and he tweeted, “What’s next? Attacked by my toaster?” Initially, I actually thought to myself, “Well, THAT could totally happen.” I have had several unpleasant encounters with blenders, juicers and the like. But I digress…

Since I have made the cross-country journey multiple times in the 3-plus years of the column, I have shared most of the observations about this trek that there are to make. And yet, another column is due! So, here are a few more random thoughts:

Where the posted speed limit is concerned, most generally law-abiding Americans firmly believe that “7-10 miles over the posted limit” is what the sign-posters really meant. And they are very aggrieved if the Highway Patrol does not agree. This is universal, by the way, and cannot be corrected for obvious reasons: if you made the speed limit 120, people would believe that 127-130 should be fine. Ad infinitum.

In fact, it makes me wonder – what with this demonstrable and admirable anti-authoritarian streak in Americans – if we wouldn’t be better off with an Autobahn situation with no speed limit at all. In many parts of Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas, the speed limit runs 75-80 mph, but I do not feel comfortable going 80, except when passing. I will tool along in the right-hand lane, with the Cruise Control set at 77. However, 77 is what I like to go even when the speed limit is 55. In the words of our Israeli cousin who has his own phone-book sized record of driving offenses, “This is how I go.”

Thought Number Two (hardly the first to notice): We have become a Great Big Nanny State with warnings about everything. When exactly, did we become a nation whose drivers need to be told not to “drive into smoke and fire”? Was it before or after the lengthy list of warnings for a Dustbuster included “Do not vacuum up water?” and “Do not vacuum glowing cigarette ashes?”

I have also been reminded repeatedly on this journey not to pick up hitchhikers in the vicinity of prisons. Did somebody’s brother-in-law own a lucrative road sign making company, or does the government think that a small, weak, elderly (though armed) woman alone will offer a ride to a lot of nervous men wearing orange jumpsuits?

I have mentioned before my great amusement at the enigmatic sign “Dust storms may exist” and its companion a few feet down the road, “Visibility may be zero.” If visibility were zero, wouldn’t that make both signs impossible to see, in which case, what was the point? The next sign is moderately useful: “Do not stop in the traffic lane.” This is always good advice, dust storm or not. And bringing up the rear is “USE EXTREME CAUTION.”

No, this is not a situation that calls for ordinary, garden-variety caution. Your caution should be extreme. What that entails is not made clear, other than not stopping in the traffic lane. You probably should just leave the freeway at the nearest exit and go back home. Lock your door, shove a hefty piece of furniture against it, grab a plush toy or Play-Doh and hide under your bed. In any event, something EXTREME.

This sign is quite an apt metaphor for the current political climate.

We have to use EXTREME CAUTION when expressing any mildly political opinion, lest we inadvertently commit a microaggression and lose our jobs. We have to use EXTREME CAUTION when sending our little boys to school, lest they bite a Pop-Tart or piece of bologna into the shape of a gun or, worse yet, point an index finger at another little boy and say “Bang.” We Deplorables did that as children, and look at how terrible WE turned out: voting for Literally Hitler!

Use EXTREME CAUTION when ordering ice cream. Under no circumstances should you be caught having two scoops of ice cream when others have only one. This will result in a screen grab of the news crawl that will be beamed all over the world and to distant planets. This is what they now teach in journalism schools constitutes a “scoop.”

Have a nice day. Unless you don’t want to. I would never presume to try to define for you what a “nice day” even is. Maybe it’s putting on a dress and going into the ladies’ room if you were “assigned” male parts by the Cosmic Parts Assigner, not to be confused with God. Maybe it’s putting on an ISIS-chic little black outfit and starting something on fire. There are no bad ideas in Antifa World.

But whatever you do to make your day “nice,” which is probably some way a racist word, because black people have a disparity of nice outcomes, the important thing is always and at all times to USE EXTREME CAUTION.

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