A New Sign of the Times

by Bob Sparrow

The age-old sign of insolent ill will

No, not a remake of the Harry Styles hit, ‘Sign of the Times’, and, no, I’m not going to pontificate on how times have changed, how we’ve become so polarized or why people don’t want to go to work anymore.  This is much more important than all of that.  As you regular readers know, and even those who aren’t regular (Sorry, they have medication for that), I mostly like writing about travel, and struggle with blog topics when I’m not preparing for a trip or on one.  With Covid and unrest in various parts of the world, my travel has been a bit restricted.  Oh yeah, I still work, so sometimes that gets in the way too.  Given the environment we are currently in, I look to find travel stories wherever I can. This one takes place less than a mile from my home – so technically it’s a ‘travel story’.

I’m driving my car and I do something that I don’t normally do, something we’ve all done, but try to avoid; I cut off a person as I was making a turn.  It was a two-lane, right turn and I was in the right-most lane and as I turned, I didn’t see the car to my left, also making a right turn, and I drifted into his lane and cut him off.  He saw me, honked, swerved and sped by me, as I’m sure he was thinking he wanted to get as far away as possible from this idiot.

As he drove by and gave me that ‘Where’d you get your license, K-Mart?’ look, I wanted to apologize and tell him that I was genuinely sorry; while I knew I couldn’t speak to him, I wondered if there was some gesture I could make that would convey an apology.

Several gestures came to mind:

  1. A wave and smile – It kind of says, “Hi, not sure who you are, thanks for letting me borrow your lane for a while.  Have a nice day.  I’m an idiot!”

 

 

 

 

 

2. Thumbs up – this sort of acknowledges that you understand what happen, but a thumbs up is a ‘positive’                                 gesture’, so you’re really saying, “Pretty cool that I cut you off, huh?  I’m OK!”

 

 

 

 

 

3. Peace sign – This really says ‘peace’, don’t kick my ass, ‘you lived, I lived, it’s all good, brother’

4. Hang loose sign – this says, ‘Don’t sweat it man, this happens all the time, just relax and accept it – chill.’

5. I even thought about saying I’m sorry in sign language, which is a fist rubbing circularly on your chest over your              heart. Aside from the fact that he couldn’t see that, the odds are he wouldn’t have understood what it meant                          anyway.

He sped away pissed off, and I continued on my journey, frustrated, a bit more cognizant of the boundaries of my lane, and wondering if there was a hand signal that says ‘I’m sorry’.

I Googled it.  No such animal.  So, I saw this as an opportunity to invent one.   It’s got to be a hand gesture, something easy to do and visible to a passing car.  It’s got to be the opposite of the middle finger or the shaking fist.  I’ve got it! Open the hand up and spread the fingers.  The open hand is the opposite of the fist and all five fingers is not the single middle finger.  The five fingers could stand for five words, like:

I’M SORRY!

1. I’m the one to blame

2. Sorry I cut you off

3. My mistake, I’m so sorry

4. Thank you for being alert

5. Please accept my sincere apology

 

 

Now it will be up to you as one of our readers to get the word, or the hand, out.  This could be a movement and you could say you were on the ground floor.

OK, I’m traveling this week, we’ll see if my travels are blog-worthy, although this one probably lowered the blog bar!

 

 

THE GREAT POTATO CHIP CAPER

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Well, by now I’m assuming everyone has not only heard about the food shortages and supply line problems but has experienced them first-hand.  We’ve seen empty shelves since the pandemic started, but I sensed it was easing a bit until a few weeks ago.  Now, once again, going to the grocery store has all the certainty of placing a bet on the crap table.  Pundits on TV have blamed the war in Ukraine, but it seems to have started long before that.  This morning when I perused the pasta aisle I was met with a lot of blank space.  I grabbed the last bag of sweet potato fries and cinnamon graham crackers from their respective shelves.  I secretly applauded myself as if I had won the lottery.  But still, I haven’t been able to get the sugar-free wafer cookies that my husband loves in almost a year.  I think they are imported from Canada so I’m sure there is a customs problem at the border.  Too bad they don’t come from Mexico so they could sail right through.

In any event, the other item that has been very hit and I miss are Lay’s Baked potato chips. They are the brand that my husband’s cardiologist recommends (well, to the extent he recommends potato chips at all) but they have been impossible to find.  Obviously, I scour the shelves at our local Safeway once or twice a week, but I’ve been skunked at all of the other local markets as well. I’ve tried Target and CVS pharmacy – no dice.  Finally, last week I was in Walgreen’s when the Lay’s rep had just been there.  There were four bags on the shelf.  I furtively looked around, hoping no one was watching, and put all four bags in my cart.  I normally would never take the last of something.  Our mother always taught us that you never take the last cookie or the last piece of cake.  Advice which seems ridiculous.  Of course we wanted the last piece of cake! She never said, “Don’t take that last Brussel’s sprout!”.  Upon reflection, I realize that there was never just one sprout left.

Anyway, as I walked around Walgreen’s picking up the rest of my necessities, I ran through what excuses I might offer the check-out guy as to why I was depleting their entire stock of Baked Lays.  A graduation party?  Or, more appropriate for my age, a celebration of life? In the end, I just put my goods on the counter and proceeded to check out.  I didn’t look the check-out guy in the eye, lest he pose the dreaded “why?” question.  I felt guilty as I drove home, certain that a seven-year-old somewhere is Scottsdale was going to be deprived of potato chips in his lunch pail.  But when I walked in the house with my ill-gotten gains my greediness was rewarded.  My husband looked at me like I was Olivia Newton-John (his girl crush).  I can’t remember the last time he looked at me that way.

I’ve heard that we’re in for even more food shortages this summer.  What’s more, because fertilizer may be in short supply, they are going to spray manure on the crops, including potatoes.  Perhaps I need to tell my husband that, thus reducing his desire for the chips.  And, unfortunately, me.

 

When NFL Scouts Get It Wrong

by Bob Sparrow

NFL scout career path

Last week Sis gave a great history of the NFL Draft as well as some interesting sidebars.  As luck (not sure if it was good or bad luck) would have it, I was in Las Vegas last week during the festivities, although far enough from ‘The Strip’ to avoid most of the hoopla, but close enough to feel the vibe.

Suzanne mentioned the embarrassment of quarterback, Brady Quinn (or most likely the draft organizers) who was put in a very visible spot, thinking that he was going to be drafted in the first or second round, when in fact he wasn’t picked until round 22!  So, he surely entered the NFL with a chip on his shoulder.  Unfortunately, that chip was probably on his throwing shoulder as his NFL career was less that sterling.  He ‘played’ in the NFL for 7 years, was on 5 different teams, only played in 24 games in his total career, and had more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (12).  So, the NFL scouts got that one right.  But before you feel too sorry for Mr. Quinn, he currently works for Fox Sports as a football analyst at a salary of $715,000 a year and has a net worth of over $10 million.

Giovanni who?

But many times, in fact more than you’d think, the scouts get it wrong.  I say more than you think, because the process of hiring an employee in the NFL is very different from most businesses.  Employers, rather than looking at resumes that most likely have a few hyperboles in it, and having an hour-long interview with a potential hire, NFL scouts have several years of game films to look at, doctor reports, work outs at the NFL Combine and extended conversation with a potential employee’s last boss (college coach).  So, getting the draft wrong would seem highly unlikely, but it’s not.

The quintessential “NFL Draft Oops” was in the 2000 draft when Tom Brady, now arguably the greatest player to ever play the game, was picked in the 6th round, making him the 199th player selected – six other quarterbacks were drafted before him – you’re not alone if you don’t recognize any of their names, Spergon Wynn, Tee Martin, Chad Pennington, Chris Redman, Marc Bulger and Giovanni Carmazzi.  I’m not making these names up!!

NFL’s biggest flop

Other notable ‘Oops’ are Shannon Sharp, drafted 192nd in the 1990 draft, who became an All Pro tight end and was ultimately inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.  Joining him in the Hall was Joe Montana, drafted 82nd in the 1979 draft and lead the 49ers to four Super Bowls.

The scouts get it wrong the other way as well.  Ryan Leaf, was the 2nd player picked in the 1998 draft behind Payton Manning.  In his NFL rookie year, Leaf threw 2 touchdowns and 15 interceptions; and that wasn’t the worst of it, he was a jerk who was despised by both his teammates and his coaches.  He played four uneventful seasons in the NFL and threw for 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.  But, apparently being a ’NFL Quarterback Bust’ is a career path to being a football analyst for a major network, as that’s what Leaf is doing now for ESPN.

I’m guessing that some of those scouts involved in the aforementioned draft picks are now working for Fox or ESPN . . . as janitors.  With the NFL draft now over, football season cannot be far off – can’t wait, especially for the colleges!  Go Utes!!!