I’m Steaming And It’s Not Because Of The Weather!
Memories come back in the strangest ways.
Don't you wish you had a job like mine? All you have to do is think up a certain number of words! Plus, you can repeat words! And they don't even have to be true! ~ Dave Barry
I‘m hopelessly trapped in a vortex somewhere between the late summer blues and early fall euphoria. As much as I had looked forward to the warm weather, veggie gardening and summer vacations; I’m ready for the cool, crisp autumn air and the unmistakable, musky fragrance of fallen leaves.
The fall season invokes a lot of nostalgia for me. Neighborhood football games and ripped dungarees loaded with grass stains (no such thing as ‘jeans’ back then); rolling around in the enormous piles of leaves heaped up against the stonewall by the cemetery next to the old library and the Park Row School; eating crabapples off our neighbor’s tree (and the ensuing stomachache); hayrides with the Youth Fellowship at the Orthodox Congregational Church and so much more.
During my high school days there were the Saturday afternoon football games at Memorial Park – no Friday night contests under the lights back then – all afternoon games. One of my fondest memories of those days is coming home after a game, all beat up and bruised; limping through the back door into our kitchen, and smelling the hot dogs, baked beans and brown bread my mom was making for dinner; a true Saturday night New England tradition. (with apologies to my Italian friends who were most likely scarfing down pizza).
It’s funny the things that stick with us. Back in 1963, if someone had told me the smell of hot dogs and beans would be one of my most cherished memories; I would never have believed it.
Fall has always been my favorite time of year. I suppose if I could spend my summers hanging out at the beach or in the mountains, I’d be more partial to summer, but I can’t - so I’m not.
Something disturbing came to my attention this past week, quite by accident. Is the football field at Oliver Ames High School still named Valentine P. Muscato Stadium? I wasn’t paying that much attention as I passed through the school parking lot the other day, but I believe I saw that the name of the stadium had been covered by an advertising banner. Am I wrong?
I certainly understand the need for revenue generation in these tough financial times but I sure hope that, simply for the opportunity to raise a few dollars; we aren’t willing to devalue the prominence of the man who put Oliver Ames sports on the map. Val Muscato is the only coach, other than my own of course, whose name I remember from my football days at Mansfield High. He’s a legend!
I'm hoping I’m wrong about this. I’m hoping my eyes have deceived me.
The reason I ended up driving through OA’s parking lot is that my wife and I were on our way home from Brockton and we were trying to avoid the backed up traffic at Five Corners. We were on Center Street and turned on to Lothrop Street, passing the police and fire stations, cutting through the school and going out on to Summer Street by the football field, which is how I happened to notice the ad banner – or at least I think I did.
There’s always the possibility that I was wrong. After all, I was wrong one time before when I thought I was wrong about something and it turned out I was right. That’s an old joke, but I’m an old guy so what do you expect?
I was going to turn left out of OA on to Randall Street and then shoot over to Bay Road via Summer Street but, as the old adage goes; the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, especially if you’re driving through Easton trying to get from point A to point B. Well, the part about driving through Easton isn’t really part of the old adage, but it will be if these construction projects aren’t completed soon.
As I started to turn on to Randall, I noticed there was a detour sign in the middle of the road so I had to turn right. I drove for a while before I reached another detour sign directing me left on Knollwood Street, which connected to Kingsley Road, which then dumped me out on to Bay Road. I then turned left on Bay Road, turned right on Beaver Dam, turned left on Poquanticut and drove to Foundry Street where I sat at the stop sign for at least four or five minutes waiting to get into the backed-up traffic coming from Five Corners – the traffic that I had tried to avoid in the first place. Good thing I took a shortcut!
If this sounds vaguely familiar to you; it should. Because I live in the area of the construction, I’ve been dealing with this horror show for months. Many of you have too; it’s just that you don’t have a personal forum through which to vent your frustration. I do [have my own forum] and I do [vent] - frequently!
As long as I’m on the Five Corners construction fiasco; I’m at a slight disadvantage because this column is written a couple of days prior to publication so things may have changed between the time this is written and the time you read it, but the last time I drove through that dreadful intersection the left turn signal that leads directly into oncoming traffic, which I summarily exposed in last week’s column, Reading This Just Might Save Your Life! Unless You Happen To Be A Coyote, had yet to be disconnected or covered over.
This leads me to at least four possibilities as to why nothing has been done.
1) My column doesn’t have the clout I thought it might.
2) Those who have the authority to effect change didn’t read the column.
3) No one has made those in charge aware of the situation.
4) Those in charge of this project have a blatant disregard for public safety.
Oh, come to think of it, I’ve come up with a fifth possibility as to why nothing has yet to be done about this extremely hazardous situation. It’s The Peter Principle.
I’ve mentioned this in my previous writings, but for those who either don’t remember or didn’t read that particular offering; the Peter Principle states that, “in an organizational hierarchy, every employee will rise or get promoted to his or her level of incompetence. The Peter Principle is based on the notion that employees will get promoted as long as they are competent, but at some point will fail to get promoted beyond a certain job because it has become too challenging for them. Employees rise to their level of incompetence and stay there. Over time, every position in the hierarchy will be filled by someone who is not competent enough to carry out his or her new duties.”
Yuh, I think I’ll go with that one. It’s definitely the implementation of The Peter Principle. Someone involved in this left turn signal deal has reached their level of incompetence; the question is who? Who is responsible for this patent stupidity? Who sanctioned suspending a left turn signal above a lane that leads directly into oncoming traffic? If someone is tragically injured or killed at this intersection; who does the victim’s family sue?
I think I’ll make a few phone calls.
Make it a great week!