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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Wednesday, October 2 2002 

Age rage

Connie (Smith) Cox, who moved from Blacklick Township in 1955 and graduated from Ebensburg-Cambria High School the following year, writes in response to yesterday's closing: "When did you graduate from middle to old age. When does that happen? I'm old and didn't know it till I read it here!"

Ouch! You're only as old as you feel, Connie, and even though you graduated from high school before I did, you don't have to graduate to old age if you don't want to; I've never been given the gift of leadership. This suggests a whole panoply of topics that we'll probably get to eventually, but not wanting to turn the Forum into a geriatric one, I'll mete them out judiciously, slowly.

I did say I'd think about and get back to you on how "old age" (mine) affects my rage. It was road rage yesterday, but I realize it only comes out on the highway more easily than other places. The highway is more impersonal and I don't flip people off, despite my desire to throttle them (see today's funny below for more on that). The age-rage connection has been best and forever stated by a poet, Dylan Thomas, in his classic but 20th century "Do not go gentle":

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.*

Though I was exposed to Thomas' work in my freshman poetry course at Johnstown College, it really struck me when the leader of my first visit to England, Wales, and Ireland, in 1994, recited it from rote as we rode on the tourbus near Thomas' Welsh native home. I'm always impressed when someone can recite something like that, but doubly so as this leader was the esteemed pastor of the church I attended then, the bus passengers were all people from the church, and Thomas is a thoroughly "secular" figure.

(Come to think about it, Connie, "when I graduated" was probably when some bird in a ticket booth asked if I qualified for the senior discount and I said "yes.")

I'll defer more comments today in the interest of encouraging instead that you read the poem again, and think about it. (And what a change after writing here a couple of months ago that I just don't "get" poetry.)

*From The Poems of Dylan Thomas, published by New Directions. Copyright © 1952, 1953 Dylan Thomas.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Road rage wisdom

I was driving to work yesterday when I observed a female driver cut right in front of a pickup truck, causing him to have to drive on the shoulder. This evidently ticked the driver off enough that he hung out his window and flipped the woman off.

"Man, that guy is stupid" I thought to myself. I always smile nicely and wave in a sheepish manner whenever a female does anything to me in traffic and here's why.

I drive 38 miles each way, every day, to work. That's 76 miles, of which 16 each way is bumper-to-bumper. Most of the bumper-to-bumper is on an 8-lane highway. So, if you just look at the 7 lanes I am not in, that means I pass something like a new car every 40 feet per lane. That's 7 cars every 40 feet for 32 miles. That works out to be 982 cars every mile, or 31,424 cars, even though the rest of the 34 miles is not bumper-to-bumper. I figure I pass at least another 4000 cars. That brings the number to something like 36,000 cars I pass every day.

Statistically, half of these are driven by females; that's 18,000. In any given group of females, 1 in 28 are having "the worst day of the month." That's 642. According to Cosmopolitan, 70 percent describe their love life as dissatisfying or unrewarding; that's 449. According to the National Institutes of Health, 22 percent of all females have seriously considered suicide or homicide; that's 98. And, 34 percent describe men as their biggest problem percent; that's 33. According to the National Rifle Association, 5 percent of all females carry weapons, and the number is increasing.

That means that every single day I drive past at least one female that has a lousy love life, thinks men are her biggest problem, has seriously considered suicide or homicide, is having "the worst day of the month," and is armed. No matter what she does in traffic, I wouldn't dream of flipping her off.

—Sent by Trudy Myers

The series T-shirt sayings will be resumed tomorrow.

Thought for today

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

Sent by Bob Kennedy

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