Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'll believe it when I see hear it

I used to lose a lot of sleep worrying about work. Specifically, I'd toss and turn fearing that when I arrived at the office before dawn I'd be greeted by the journalistic equivalent of Mother Hubbard's news.

I feared our team of reporters would collectively fail in their efforts to generate news stories and since I was (and still am) the last line of defense, I'd have to scramble to "find" news to keep the audio meters twitching.

I'm not sure when it was exactly, but at some point I realized that despite all my sleepless nights, and even some pretty bleak news days, my worst fears never materialized. So I stopped losing sleep over it.

Still, I'm often asked, "What do you do if there's no news?"

My standard, and now rather stale response is always, "I just make stuff up."

Today, I thought someone really was making stuff up. I read a story about a lawmaker in California - you know that state known for its intense commitment to the environment - who is seriously worried about the proliferation of hybrid cars.


At first I giggled and presumed it was some goofy satirical piece from "The Onion" or a similar website which had been mistakenly been construed as real.

Then I did a Google news search...which turned up some 300+ articles dealing with this weighty issue.

In a nutshell (nut being highly appropriate in this instance) this state lawmaker in California is worried about blind people...or "visually impaired"....sight deprived...whatever the politically correct term in California is for people who can't see.

His concern?

He's worried blind people are going to get run over by hybrid cars...because the cars are too quiet.

I am not kidding.

He's so worried in fact that members of the California legislature, representatives of organizations involved with the visually impaired, and others are going to form a committee to study this issue.

(Insert clueless leading the sightless gag here)

They are seriously talking about somehow requiring hybrid vehicles to be "noisier."

I couldn't make this up if I tried.

I really am serious.

Do a "Google News Search" for "blind hybrids" yourself if you don't believe me.

Exactly how many blind people are run over in California? Is this something that happens a lot? Are blind Californians regularly flattened by bicyclists, electric wheelchairs, and or joggers?

This has to go down as one of the silliest things I've ever heard any state lawmaker discuss, and believe me I've been around a lot of state lawmakers, but most of their livers failed before they lost this many brain cells.

Yet since I'm such a magnanimous guy who wants to save California taxpayers the expense of "studying" this crucial matter...and because I also am not in favor of any blind person being inadvertently smushed by a hybrid car, a deer, or a well muffled Zamboni...I've come up with a solution.

I couldn't bear the thought of people losing sleep worrying about how to solve this "crisis" so I put on my thinking cap and vowed not to take if off until I arrived at the answer.

Admittedly I was able to remove the cap in about 4 seconds, but maybe I'm a genius.

Here's what I came up with...(drum roll please - that's for the benefit of any blind person walking past your computer who obviously can't read over your shoulder and realize the monumental importance of my solution).

How about requiring the manufacturers of hybrid cars to put something in them to warn the apparent throngs of blind people aimlessly wandering the streets of California that vehicles are rapidly approaching which are apparently destined to mow them down?

I don't know...maybe something, like this?

No need to thank me California. I don't want the credit. Feel free to utilize my profound wisdom gratis.

After all, I never was one to toot my own horn.