The Flatlander's View

Stupid Human Tricks: Vol. XXVII

By Steve Moseley
Posted 3/21/24

The vacuous behavior of human beings never ceases to amaze … and I’m not even talking politics.

In a recent example, proof was again provided during a drive to and from the Junior …

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The Flatlander's View

Stupid Human Tricks: Vol. XXVII


The vacuous behavior of human beings never ceases to amaze … and I’m not even talking politics.

In a recent example, proof was again provided during a drive to and from the Junior College National Championship wrestling tournament in neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa.

I was there to cover the Trappers, still beloved to me despite an absence from Powell that’s grown to more than two decades. That said, let me make it immediately and abundantly clear Coach Jim Zeigler and his wrestlers played no roll in this latest installment of Stupid Human Tricks. None whatsoever.

No, the mind-numbing stupidity of which I am about to speak took place on the 3 1/2 hour round-trip drive to and from ‘the Bluffs’ as the city is known colloquially here upon this wind-cursed, barren plain.

It was championship Saturday and the day’s action was to begin at 9:30 a.m. There being not one but two Cracker Barrels en route (one each in Nebraska cities Lincoln and Omaha), it was certain I’d grab a hearty (read carb-loaded, diabetic unfriendly) breakfast at one or the other.

All of which is a ponderous way to simply say I left early … and was met immediately at the end of the driveway by a blanket of fog.

The lousy visibility was bad where I live in York, Nebraska, but not impassable. It worsened as I trekked east, however my Trappers were at war, so on I slogged through the cloud on I-80 to the Missouri River, across the bridge and into the Bluffs.

This Stupid Human Tricks saga quickly made itself obvious as I met car after car after car in the opposing lanes displaying no lights whatsoever, not even those silly, useless-in-fog tiny parking lights.

This specific highway vexation has tortured me for decades. The difference this time, I believe, is that all was made worse for the fact I, a person facing birthday 75 in July, have been rendered intolerant, grouchy and generally miserable through outliving my usefulness.

So there I was, meeting all these dim-witted humans while muttering to myself like Popeye the whole way.

At first, I endeavored to count them in case I maybe would write a column someday. That plan circled the drain in short order when reality dawned about just how daunting this task would be over that much distance.

Then I scaled back to just taking inventory of the white and gray vehicles alone. It requires a full-blown, slack-jawed ruminant to intentionally make their car invisible in fog.

But again, too many to record and drive safely myself. Whatever the number, it must be doubled to account for what logic predicts to be as many mouth breathers in my own two lanes.

Toss in the special Darwin Award candidates who were compelled to maintain the posted limit of 75 mph (which everybody knows really means 80) in fog-hued cars with no lights. Perhaps now you gain a sense of the vulnerability I felt that morning.

Folks it’s not so much whether you can see to drive, it’s mostly about giving the rest of us half a chance to see you. Not so hard to comprehend you would think, but clearly not everyone is capable to wrap their tiny mind around the concept.

By the time Cody Pinkerton got hosed for the 285-pound championship in the last match of the day, it was late, the darkness all-enveloping.

Time to saddle up the faithful Canyon pickup and point it west into Nebraska.

Then chapter two of Steve’s Endless Annoyances.

We have suffered relentless wind for weeks now on top of profound drought the last couple years. If not for the Ogallala Aquifer we’d all be destitute or dead. Thousands of acres of grass and cropland have burned at the cost of at least one fire chief’s life. Anybody with at least one eye open and a single living brain cell understands the danger in this country of fire in any form.

So, what do I see a half-dozen times on the return drive? Cigarette butts cluelessly and cavalierly tossed from car windows in front of me, each one bursting into a mini explosion of sparks instantly swept by the howling south wind toward bone-dry vegetation at the highway’s northern edge.

On the good side — the best side — your Trappers soared back to Powell with a repeat national champion in Aziz, Cody’s silver medal, a heart-warming fourth won by Orrin Jackson and a team finish of No. 9 in the United States of America.

Well done.