Mummers - I'm from eastern Pennsylvania. You know. The good side. My bride spent some time on the western frontier, and I've been trying to persuade her since our betrothal that it's a wasteland. So far no luck. I'm giving up, so many of you reading this from Pittsburgh can put away your firearms and lay aside plans to jump me in my new hometown.
In Philly they have a New Years tradition that goes back generations. It's a parade, participants and spectators well lubricated with the spirits of the season, with waves of marching clubs. As I recall, the first wave are all clowns. Not so good. They are followed by the string bands. Better. To be closed out by the fancies. Damn good.
I've returned after a hiatus of over two years. Not Covid-induced, but definitely my share of various other afflictions. Including sloth. I awoke this morning inspired by a nugget from UPI, which runs a adaily "Odd News" segment, even on News Years, which is often filled with hangover-soaked oddities. This one starts, like many a New Years morning, with a grim jolt, but has a happy ending (not that kind).
Manchester, an otherwise sleepy town in Connecticutt, sometimes encounters bizarre roadway incidents that make the UPI stream, which pushed the story to just about every social media site that projects into the continental United States. Maybe even Alaska and Hawaii. Probably Hawaii. On December 29th a vehicle traveling on I-384 plunged headlong into a single car, multiple object, collision. The Manchaster FD Facebook page declared this to be "miraculous", and it surely was since the occupants were but slightly injured. Mere scrapes. The other object was a guardrail that arrived pointy-end-first, so other accounts of the incident raised the stakes, giving virtual rubberneckers some satisfaction by observing (virtually) that the (imaginary) victims were very nearly "impaled". A very powerful term given the fact that nothing really happened. Poetic license, which is always virtual.
Something like this really happened in 1848 when Cavendish, VT was the site of "Phineas Gage's workplace accident in which an iron tamping rod entered and exited his skull." After surviving the procedure he went on with what, in perspective, were mild personality changes. No word on what Phineas was like before getting impaled. Could have been an improvement. To complete that little detour and frolic, Phineas went on to contribute immensely to the field of neuroscience. And there was nothing virtual about it!
Phineas Looking Dapper After the Impaling
To add virtual insult to virtual injury, "Manchester’s Fire Department posted images of the road incident straight out of a Final Destination movie on Facebook". Despite the lack of grievous bodily harm, those involved in the collision were surely traumatized. No need to add to their emotional baggage with gratuitous Facebook postings and comparisons to modern equivalents to 20th century disaster flicks. Pheneas never had it so bad.
Evidently these things aren't as obscure as I thought. According to the US Sun "a Jeep Grand Cherokee in New Mexico was shown parked on the side of a road with a metal beam smashed through its windshield". Again, thankfully, no injuries. The image is too fearful to view and, besides, the source won't make it available in a format that I can upload to this site. It's really not that bad. The Jeep's ownere made up for it with this declaration: “The f**k bro? I almost fu**ing died!" (asterisks added). That was some real sh*t.
All of these things, despite momentary trauma, have happy endings. Here are some real-word analogies:
Babysitting - This is an odd one. Instead of a linear path from bad to good, this pivots from good to annoying to relief. I'm a step-grandfather, which means I get to spend lots of tot-time. Quite a lot. While the kids are good, they're needy. And all have been blessed with both an X and a Y chromosome. All three are six and under and child psychologists started adding a year to the "terrible" phase when the kids were one, so we've just left the "terrible fives". On the cusp of anticipating pre-adolescence, when you can have a real conversation with them.
I like the kids. See them several times a week when they come over for babysitting adventures. These usually start out happy but often drift to annoyance as the kids do what toddlers are apt to do. And I'm an old fart. By this point I'll close my office door for peace and mental health. Finally, there's a happy ending. The kids go home!