April 06, 2020
Column

Semi-annual file purging

Vast research on my part shows this: When we switch to Eastern Standard Time this weekend, the people who will aggravatingly refer to the change from “Daylight-Savings Time” when what they mean is “Daylight-Saving Time,” are generally the same people who will read the gasoline station sign offering gas at $1.21.9 a gallon and insist that the gas is selling for $1.21 a gallon, rather than $1.22.

We’re talking not only average bears here, folks, but seriously educated citizens as well. If you encounter them in your travels, be kind and don’t waste your time disabusing them of their strange notions. Because, mark my words, come the next seasonal time change they will speak of “Daylight-Savings Time” and come the next trip to the gas station they will still believe they can put one gallon of $1.21.9 gasoline in their lawnmower gas can and pay the guy behind the counter $1.21 for it. Trust me. I know these people. Some of them are my very best friends.

But I’ve flogged that dead horse enough over the years. Let us get on with the business at hand on this fine Saturday morning …

With the demise of Daylight-Saving Time and November waiting just around the bend, it’s long past time for the semi-annual purge of the dawg-eared folder slugged Potential Material For Columns That Seemed Like Swell Ideas At The Time. My tickler file, as we in the newspaper biz call it.

Twice a year the file is emptied of shopworn newspaper clippings, notes to myself, e-mails and snail mail from readers, jottings too cryptic to decipher at this late date, and assorted flotsam. Then I start building the pile again, so some time next spring I can engage in another clean sweep, fore and aft.

There is this note to myself about an item I once thought showed promise for development before other stuff seemed more pressing: “Pix on A-3 shows ‘professional’ sand castle builders at work. How much coll. degree cost? Where get? Mum/dad proud?”

Another: “TV pictures re: smokers smoking. Always close-up shots nostrils/moustache. Why moustache fetish?”

There’s a scribbling regarding a television reporterette who spoke of University of Maine scientists going “up” to Antarctica: “Like going from Presque Isle up to Bangor? Confused w/Arctic? Directionally challenged?”

I find a jotting about a roadside sign in a rural Maine town advertising “fiddel-heads” for sale. Cheap. And one about a television reporter referring to a pasture as a “cow field.”

There is e-mail from reader Don Nathan of New York City concerning a BDN headline, “Maine author lost at sea in 1982 sues over children’s book.” Nathan marvels at the doggedness of lawyers in finding clients willing to go to court.

There is snail mail from Richard Eaton of Fairfield, who enclosed a clip from a Pennsylvania newspaper in which a reader chided editors for the malfunctioning headline over a story about a formerly lost dog. “Wily golden retriever captured after two years on the lamb,” read the header, and I was happy to be reassured that the BDN isn’t the only peddler of the occasional dubious headline.

There are other newspaper glitches in my stash, stapled together for safekeeping. I wouldn’t want to lose these beauts: A classified ad offering a good deal on “Phonograph – antique wined-up.” A story which tells of suspicious activity in a Maine town “early in the mourning” of Tuesday last. Another telling of a pregnant woman who had been rushed to the hospital after experiencing “contradictions.”

A recent Associated Press article reporting that New York City officials had ordered another search of parts of the World Trade Center for remains of 9-11 victims includes the usual maddening anonymous source. Police and forensics experts had recently found some remains in an abandoned manhole, the story reported, and were searching for more “said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of instructions not to speak publicly about the matter.”

So much for following instructions.

From the bottom of the pile comes a really old joke off the Internet, which I can’t recall having unleashed upon you, although I may have done so. Six guys playing poker. Smith loses $500 on a single hand, clutches his chest, drops dead of a heart attack. Guys draw straws to see who will tell his widow. Loser promises to be discreet. Walks to Smith’s house, knocks on door. Wife appears and asks him what he wants. Man replies, “Your husband just lost $500 playing cards.” She shouts at him, “Tell the old fool to drop dead.”

Man nods and replies, “I’ll tell him.”

NEWS columnist Kent Ward lives in Limestone. His e-mail address is olddawg@bangordailynews.net.


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