A Modest Proposal

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

I read a great article a few years ago by Zoomer Magazine freelance writer, Judy Gerstel. At the time she was the Living writer for the Toronto Star and interviewed Carl Honoré the author of, In Praise of Slow, a book promoting the advantages of people dropping out of the fast lane and living a life free from the pressures of our go-go-go society.

What a brilliant idea when you think about it. We all need to slow down if we are going to enjoy life. We have just barely survived the most ridiculous time of year. We hurried to finish shopping; hurried to get home to wrap whatever we hurried to buy, which wasn’t what we hurried to buy in the first place. Someone else hurried to the store and bought what we were hurrying to buy. And some days we hurried for no other reason than we thought we were supposed to. Let’s stop this stupidity and quit running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off.

We don’t need to drive up and down the 400 at 140 kilopascals an hour to get someplace 10 minutes early. There’s plenty of booze to go round. Write your MP and MPP and tell him or her that we want the speed limit lowered to 25 miles per hour. (Since we are changing society, we might as well get rid of that metric stuff at the same time. Whose bright idea was that anyway? It certainly wasn’t mine.)

I believe 25 is a sensible speed so let’s put governors on every car and truck in North America, with one exception, police cruisers will be set at 20. That should cut down on the back-up problem in the traffic courts. If a cop is all that fired up to give you a ticket, let him get out of the car and chase you on foot. A nuisance for the OPP perhaps but as Mr. Spock always said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” – or something profound like that.

Just think of the advantages of such a radical change. If you are standing in the middle of a road and a car is careening down at you at 25 mph, you will have time to go home and change your underwear. When you get back to the highway and get pranged by this speeding maniac, at least the nurse won’t pull down your pants and see tell-tale grey underwear. Your mother will be so proud. I can see her at the funeral saying, “I know Myron’s spleen is plastered from here to North Bay, but even the Minister of Health commented on how white his under-britches were. On the other hand, if Myron was wearing his wife’s underwear, mom may choose to sit quietly in the back row with the neighbours.

There would be no reason for people to run red lights, like the idiot woman who went by me this morning at the corner of Front and King Streets having just passed a three-car collision a half mile down the road.

Life would be so much simpler if we slowed down. If you stop at McDonalds for breakfast, the lady at the counter might say, “your Egg McMuffin should be ready around 11:30 or quarter to 12, although the chickens in the coop out back don’t usually get up till noon. Tell you what, why don’t you go home and I’ll call you.”

The fast food advertising in the Yellow Pages will say, “Your pizza delivered in 5 days or it’s free.”

Judy’s article also mentioned that music, cooking and life in general would start to move at a snail’s pace and even our sex lives would slow down — although I don’t know how it could get much slower than ours. Sometimes we fall asleep and when we wake up we don’t remember if we are just starting or whether it’s time for a shower.

Although the slow sex thing would make little difference for the old guys, (I understand from the boys at the Legion that some couples in their 90s have slowed down to two or three times a week) it could be a problem for you young folks.

He might say, “It’s Sunday morning, Blanche. We don’t have to go to work and the kids are at your mother’s, why don’t we go back to bed?” She would have to say, “I’d love to Harold, but we don’t have time. The girls are coming over for Bridge on Tuesday afternoon.”

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