Old codgers find new fire trucks too fancy

The Old Men of the Mountain met on Tuesday, April 2 (this scribe’s birthday), at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh. The OMOTM had another pleasant morning heading out to breakfast even though there were reports of morning temperatures from 16 to 19 degrees for this beginning of April.

The OFs began talking about fires and fire trucks. There is a precursor to this because many of the OFs are or were firemen and seem to be of one accord.

The OFs think the fire trucks are too fancy now for what they are supposed to do. Small volunteer companies can’t afford these trucks with all the trimmings and gold-leaf lettering. This has nothing to do with putting out fires.

What they really need are trucks like Army trucks only painted so they can be seen and not so they disappear into the scenery. The fire trucks need to have really good tires, and dependable equipment like engines and pumps, not these things that are so ornamental they don’t want them to get scratched.

One OF said the trucks are required to have seats in them like we are going for a 1,000-mile ride.

“Shoot,” he said, “if we go 10 or 15 miles, that is a long hike for us to get to a fire or accident.”

Another OF said, “What we do need are more volunteers.”

And yet another OF added, “They have the rules so tough it is almost impossible to get new, younger volunteers.”

One OF mentioned that young people have so much going on with their kids and the school’s demands now. It’s not like it used to be when school was school and home was home. Now the school and the state have taken up a lot of the parent’s time just keeping up with these requirements.

Pawns in  Spectrum’s game

The OFs were in a mood Tuesday morning and this scribe thinks it is because most received their Spectrum bills and all were higher, not by a little bit, but by quite a lot. One OF mentioned that he thinks it is not a coincidence that the big hike in the bills came as Spectrum is being saddled with a large fine from the state for not fulfilling its contract with the state.

The OFs rhetorically asked the question: Do you think Spectrum is going to sit back and take that hit?

“Heck no, they are going to pass it along to us. Did you notice how quick they had that price increase out there? This spike was planned long ago and I think the state knew it,” one OF opined. This OF further stated, “We are just pawns in one big chess game.”

Pro players need higher nets, lower salaries

Then the OGs started talking about sports, especially salaries, and basketball. In the sport of basketball, these guys make tons of money and one OF added, “Like they all do.”

Another OF brought up that he thought it was the players who turn into super stars, because not all make the big bucks. This OF thought they all make enough money, but we usually hear only about the big guys, no pun intended.

One OF wondered where the gene pool is for all these guys who can run down the floor and jump so their hand is over the basketball basket by almost a foot. With the court about 90 feet long, and with these guys so big, it takes only 15 long strides to go from line to line.

When this scribe told his better half what the OMOTM talked about, she said (as she has said many times before) that she thinks professional basketball hoops should be 12 feet high. It is not fair that kids in junior high school should be trying to put the ball through a hoop that is the same height as the pros.

The rims have always been 10 feet high since basketball rules were posted in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891. The average height of the player at that time was 5 foot, 6 inches. Today the average NBA player is 6 feet, 7 inches. The better half rested her case.

The OFs think there should be some kind of a cap on the money these guys make playing sports. One OF said he doesn’t watch much sports any more or even care. Who wants to watch a bunch of millionaires run the bases? Not him.

This OF maintains by attending his local high school’s baseball game (or any other sport like track, or basketball), he can watch a good game.

“Humph,” he said, “some of the pros are drafted right off the high school diamond.” One thought he brought out is that he does get some looks like: What is that old codger doing here?

“Doesn’t bother me,” the OF said.

Hairy dilemma

Somehow the OFs began talking about hair growth! Again!

This is wishful thinking on the OFs’ part. However, one OF claimed there is a product on the market that will grow hair no matter how old you are.

This has to be a scam. If there were such a product, it wouldn’t be a secret that only one OF would know about it. This product would be advertised all over the place, especially on the sports channels.

The OFs asked, “What color does it come in? Will your hair come in white, or black?”

One OF said he used to have red hair, and asked, “So does it only come in black?”

The OF then said he would be OK with it if it were white.

One more OF added, “We are just past April Fool’s Day. Are you just putting us on?”

The first OF said he saw it on television and was going to watch that channel again and write down what it is and if it is “as seen on TV only,” not sold in stores.

Everybody said, “You do that.”

All the OMOTM who were at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh are waiting for the answer to the hair-growth cream, or salve, or maybe lotion and those OMOTM were: Roger Chapman (and yes, he was there last week; he even rode with the scribe), Miner Stevens, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter (loved the hat), Jim Heiser, Kenny Parks, Gerry Irwin, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Ted Feurer, Jake Lederman, Marty Herzog, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, and me.