It’s not part of my bivouac

It’s interesting when people consistently use the incorrect word and can’t tolerate any correction, even when it’s offered politely.

Let me explain:

A friend with whom I once took classes at Highlands had been hobbling around on crutches a couple of weeks ago. I saw her this week, sans crutches and asked how she was doing. “Much better! I’m just glad I’m not ambulatory anymore!”

Now w-a-i-t a second. Maria had fractured a bone in March and needed crutches to help her get around. She was able to walk on her own this week. Obviously, at some point her doctor used the term “ambulatory,” which my friend must have taken to mean “laid-up,” “unable to walk” or “gettable aroundable only with a wheelchair.”

But that’s just the opposite! I hope to remain ambulatory the rest of my life. Apparently, the sense of “ambulance” entered her mind and she pictured herself being wheeled around on a gurney.

And so for that occasion, with Maria in mind, I’ve composed a short essay which purposely mixes correct with substituted terms. Let’s see how many of these terms our readers can find. An email to my work or home address (shown below) with the list of errors would be great.

Here’s the essay:

My neighbor looked at me akimbo. I believe he thinks it’s a doggy-dog world. I feared he was going to get fiscal with me, judging by his expression. For all intensive purposes, he really seemed angry. Irregardless, to my upmost ability, I tried to apiece him, but his tact was simply to glare at me.

He seemed to have cared less how I felt. How would I be able to device a way to cheer him up? I couldn’t illicit any information from him.

Fiscal violence has never been my bivouac. I feared his militias stare as he stood there moot. Well, as it turns out, he was enable to udder any words because he’d swallowed a hot dog which lodged in his throat. He went into a fatal position. That became my opportunity to administer the Heineken remover on him.

It worked. He recovered and literally flew out of the room. My efforts had not been in vein. Otherwise, he might have remained laying on the floor, prostate.

Well, a long time ago, as a matter of principal, I took a first-aid course, and although I felt much less than competent in that area, I believe I learned some aspects of first aid that were commiserate with my abilities. Somehow, I got threw the course. This is not an attempt to flout my knowledge of first aid, but merely to provide true facts.

And I won’t except any complements.

• • •

A post on my Facebook page bears two panels, contrasting yesteryear with today. The top image shows dozens of kids in a park, tossing balls, skipping rope, wrestling, riding bikes, and in short, engaging in strenuous activities.

The lower image ­— several years later ­— shows kids in the same park, the same time of year, but the only sound emitting from that playground is the tic-tic-tic of cell phones, each kid either playing some weird video game or chatting with a friend.

That’s become so-oo common. Once, at Charlie’s Restaurant, I saw a family of four — obviously, Mom, Dad, Sissie and Junior — all pecking away at their phones. It would have been easy for someone to interrupt their daily bread consumption and suggest, “Why don’t all of you put your phones away and talk directly to each other?”

Well, that would have been a bad assumption, as the four probably were chatting with others, not in their family — or else playing Angry Birds or some other video game.

This morning, as I was driving west on Mills, I espied a petite young lady crowding me with her huge Duallie truck.

If I sped up, she did too, and I wondered about her game. Of course, it’s not a good idea for the driver in the leading vehicle to keep looking back at the pursuer, but when I did, I saw the familiar tic-tic of her iPhone. She was just then hanging up and took time to make another call — or play another game.

But what I sensed — and this part is scary — was that she wasn’t even paying attention to traffic: She gauged my car’s movements and used her peripheral vision to tell her when to move.

Can any chat be that important?

Amazing that cell phones have been around as long as my trailing driver has. And though there are painful statistics on how many fatalities have involved a distracted driver chatting on a cell phone, almost nothing has been done to prevent such carelessness. It would be great to have a device that disables a car when a cellphone is in use.

When I mentioned that same point to my wife, Bonnie, she insisted that there may never be such technology. “And besides, what about if it’s the passenger, not the driver, who’s on the phone?” She had a point, but I still worry. And yet, I applaud people who pull all the way off the road to receive or make calls.

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