Thursday, September 16, 2004


This morning I was driving to work and listening to NPR on KPCC as I often do. I enjoy the random stories they tell. I often learn new and interesting things. Like one morning they had a story about people who do research on hibernating bears to see if there are possible benefits for humans. When a bear hibernates it’s heart resembles that of a human in congestive heart failure, but after sleeping for six months, during which time they do not get up to pee, their heart is miraculously healed. Sounds amazing and if there’s some way to figure out how that happens (not to mention how they can go six months without peeing) that would be great. I am very glad that I am not a bear researcher though. Part of the job involves crawling into the den of a hibernating bear and taking it’s temperature with a rectal thermometer.

I know that I would wake up if someone snuck up on me when I was sleeping and stuck a rectal thermometer up my butt. And I would be mad. Imagine what kind of a reaction you'd get from a damn bear.

Anyway, this morning they had a story about a truck drivers and how they cover many long lonely miles and what they do to keep themselves occupied. They interviewed a truck driver named Jim who travels with a life size cardboard cutout of George W. Bush strapped into the passenger seat with a seatbelt. Jim says, "Yeah, he's got this good ol' boy expression on his smilin' face, just makes everyone feel real comfortable."

Um - okay, if you say so Jim, but politics aside if I see anyone driving down the road with a cardboard cutout of anyone strapped into the passenger seat I don't think comfortable describes what I would feel. More like, "Get away from this freak. Do not make eye contact." Jim talks to Cardboard George during the late night hours on the road and describes him as a good listener. He says that Cardboard George illicits lots of comments from the other truck drivers at the truckstop. Uh-huh, I bet he does. Some comments are positive and lots are negative, but Jim says that the important thing is that Cardboard George has got the truckdrivers buzzing down there in parking lots at truckstops across the country.

Jim says that if his cardboard passenger gets truck drivers to send in for an absentee ballot and vote, then he figures he's doing a lot more than just keeping Jim company over those long dark miles through the night.

And he's got a point there.

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