Will the real terrorist please stand up?

A few years back, as the ‘terror level’ of the people of the U.S. started to subside, Attorney General Ashcroft apparently decided that it had to be kicked back up a notch.  Bam!  Threat Level Orange!

In a now famous attempt to kick-start the fear factor going into a mid-term election, Mr. Ashcroft encouraged all Americans to be prepared for a chemical attack, by keeping duct tape and sheets of plastic on hand.

My Mom, knowing that i dabble in technology and stay current on such things, asked me if it would be a good idea for her to keep supplies on hand, ‘just in case’…

“Mom.  First i want you to do three things.  If you do these three things, then we can talk about the need for duct tape and plastic.”

    “Stop smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day.  I know you’ve done it for almost 65 years, and other than the congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and persistent cough, it hasn’t hurt you a bit… and yes, we think the tar is holding some of your internal organs in place.  Still, it’s a significant risk factor in your life.

     “Wear your seatbelt every time you ride in a car.  Especially when you are driving.  While smoking…

      “Stop eating a bacon sandwich, with a side of sausage and gravy shots, for breakfast.  Oh, and try to get out and walk just a little bit every day.

      “These are the three things that are most likely to kill you.  You are also more likely to die at the hands of an axe-wielding mime than to suffer the effects of a chemical attack, so the fourth item on the list might be mime-repellant.”

<sigh>

A New Geriatric Eye Test

My Mom is 79, and in fairly poor health.  But she still lives alone in her house, is very independent and drives.  We’ve been concerned about her eyesight for a few months, and wondering whether she really should be driving. 

I brought her to visit me over the holidays – and used the opportunity to get a better idea of the current state of her vision.  On the drive to my house, she read a few roadsigns, so that was promising.  She could also clearly see the 60′ tall fiberglass Jesus statue along the highway as we drove (more on “Touchdown Jesus”, aka “Swamp Jesus” aka “Jesus of the Interstate” at a later date…).

As part of our weekend together, i modeled the cute little halter dress i would be wearing out for New Years Eve.  This was even more enlightening than my ad hoc vision testing on the road…

Standing 5 feet away from her – across the kitchen – her first words were “that’s a little short, isn’t it?”  Squinting a little bit, she then went on to say “Are you planning to wear a bra with that?”

She demonstrated the visual acuity to spot free-range nipples at 5 feet.  She’s still driving…

In the process, perhaps i’ve discovered a concept to entice a few more senior citizens to take the damn test?