So much is scary today – global warming, wars, floods, hungry school kids in B.C.
There’s a need for comic relief.
That’s why I’m heading down a new tributary. It’s a list of the ridiculous things people say, patterned after Anderson Cooper’s Ridickulist, his regular roasting of politicians, celebrities, and ordinary folks on CNN’s nightly news.
When Cooper opted to call his new segment the Ridickulist instead of the Ridunkulist – his first choice, I was ready to recycle.
Our first Ridunkulist begins with the abuse of the English language on our road signs.
A local equipment rental business was looking for staff. It’s sign read: Half ton truck driver needed.
So, nobody under 1,000 pounds should apply for the job? The problem is a misplaced modifier. The correct wording: driver needed for half ton truck.
You see incorrect grammar everywhere. The district has a sign at the foot of 216th Street that reads Drive safe. I’m sure more than one school kid has told mommy the word should be safely. Adverbs need ‘ly.’
Incorrect grammar is heard even more than it’s seen. Watch TV interviews with the man in the street. He’ll say, “I seen the bozo in the pickup. He come right through the crosswalk.” (saw and came are the correct verb forms, bozo is the right noun).
Grammar might not be emphasized in school these days, but it’s important. It says something about you.
Spelling is important, too. When the Knight and Day restaurant occupied the BCAA office on Lougheed Highway, you’d see a teenager on a ladder, composing the daily lunch sign. I’m sure the feature one day was baron of beef, but you couldn’t be sure because the kid printed bear ‘n beef. Had conservation officers found a use for all the bruins they shoot around here?
Shooting bears because someone reports one in a park is as silly as featuring bear ‘n beef on your lunch menu.
One of my favorite signs reads free range eggs. It’s posted outside a farmhouse on Dewdney Trunk near the Pitt bridge. I visualize cute eggs with little feet running around. There’s free range chickens, but no free range eggs, and no free range beef, either (cattle, maybe), even if a local meat market thinks so.
Middle spot on this Ridunkulist goes to district road safety analyst Michael Eng for suggesting that pedestrian lights aren’t needed along 224th Street, even though seniors are terrified by drivers who don’t respect crosswalks.
Try to get out a bit, Mr. Eng. When you say vehicle volume doesn’t warrant push button lights, and the old folks should hold out their hands to stop cars, sort of like kindergarten kids on field trips to the park, you’re being insensitive and ridiculous.
“I think we’re listening,” says Mr. Eng.
Older folks I spoke to don’t think so. One said motorists weren’t considerate of seniors, as Mr. Eng claims. Another thought Mr. Eng was probably not a senior with a “bum” knee or a walker.
Vehicle numbers don’t suggest a pedestrian light? What about seniors volume? Maple Ridge has centralized our elderly along 224th Street. That’s where the Legion sits. Add this coefficient to your formula, Mr. Eng, and you get a strong case for pedestrian lights. White Rock noted its aging population and installed push button lights the length of 16th Avenue all the way to Ocean Park.
Last, but not least on this Ridunkulist, is “something has to be done about horse droppings,” a recent letter in The News from a dog owner claiming discrimination against her pet.
“If dog owners have to pick up droppings, what’s being done about the horse droppings?” asks the writer.
The answer is nothing. Here’s why. Dog poop is foul stuff. Track some onto your carpet, or drive in a closed vehicle with it on your shoe. Dog poop wreaks because it’s made from stinky animal byproducts.
Horses have a natural diet: fibre-rich grass, and oats now and then. The result? Horse poop, unlike dog poop, is something that would make your vegetables grow.
• Ideas for Jack Emberly’s Ridunkulist can be sent to email@example.com, subject line: Ridunkulist.
Jack Emberly is a retired teacher, local author and environmentalist.