Go Ask Daddy About Civic Duty, Our Favorite Ravens Receiver and the Story of Dave Duerson


photo credit: stormtrooper christmas 2005 via photopin (license)
photo credit: stormtrooper christmas 2005 via photopin (license)

So it turns out I’m not so swift on the follow-through.

GAD GRAPHICI don’t mean bowling or finishing my pizza crusts. I take a stand in society against two of the biggest travesties to threaten the very essence of our survival: Littering and tail-gating in school buses. Wait, you didn’t realize that’s a thing?

When you drive as slow as this guy does, it is.

I’ve jotted down bus numbers and snapped mobile-phone shots of the offenders, noting the time of day and road traveled and other details. I’m pretty sure Sherlock Holmes would appreciate my attention to detail.

(Not THIS Sherlock Holmes.)

I intend to report to the Swat-a-Litterbug hotline or Report Dangerous Drivers. The bus numbers get lost on my messy floorboard, and the photo surveillance I take doesn’t crop up until I’m in search of a pic of the girls for a post.

I see the back end of a filthy white minivan and can’t remember if the driver tossed a McMuffin wrapper or a cigarette butt. So maybe I should leave the police-in to the pros – or their appointed amateurs.

1. What is Citizens on Patrol?

Citizens on Patrol is a band of neighbors who are the “eyes and ears” of Law Enforcement.

Local police departments screen and background check all applicants, and then bring them on as the JV unit. A 20-year tradition, Citizens on Patrol monitors every state in the union with a force 75,000 strong. They even get to drive cop cars!

They’re on the lookout for suspicious activity (such as a grown-ass man attempting to take mobile-phone photos backward of the school bus riding his tail), crimes in process and lend a helping hand to stranded motorists. These volunteers even check in on the elderly.

Maybe one of them saw a dirty white Pontiac driving to slow in front of a litterbug.

2. How does your skin stretch when you gain weight?

photo credit: _MG_3392 via photopin (license)
photo credit: _MG_3392 via photopin (license)

Skin’s somewhat elastic, as you can prove by tugging on any number of your parts.

Skin must stretch, whether we’ve gained mass by calzone or barbell curls. It’s like those days I try to fit into a size large hoodie after a cookie fest. It’s like pizza dough, your skin, in that it can stretch – to an extent. (It’s not like pizza dough in that it’s best with a buttery crust.)

Collagen in the skin gives it that elasticity. It doesn’t do such a swell job of shrinking back up if you happen to lose a bunch of weight, though.

3. What’s the SR for on Steve Smith’s football jersey?

steve smith2
By Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (Steve Smith) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
That’s for ‘senior,’ perhaps to alleviate confusion that it might be his son, Steve Jr., nabbing passes and slinging Pacman Jones to the turf.

When Smith signed with the Baltimore Ravens, he hinted at a jersey change as a shout-out to his kid. When Smith signed with Baltimore, the Ravens had receiver Torrey Smith on the roster. So something had to give. “S. Smith” maybe didn’t sound so kickass.

I hope we haven’t seen the last of Steve Smith Sr. He’d announced he’d retire at the end of this season, then suffered a season-ending Achilles’ tendon injury last Sunday.

Here’s hoping he’ll come back for one more year.

4. Who is that mascot made of wheat?

photo credit: IMG_1281 via photopin (license)
photo credit: IMG_1281 via photopin (license)

You don’t mean Dig ‘Em Frog, that affable and fresh mascot for Honey Smacks cereal. They have wheat, the cereal, I think, but he’s all frog.

(Complex.com named Dig ‘Em the 23rd coolest snack mascot ever, then whined about his political incorrectness. Please. The Frito Bandito caught the site’s ire, too, which should signal to the thinking world that some of us think of things in which to find offense.)

Not since Children of the Corn has so much fear been struck from a threat traditionally planted, watered and harvested. WuShock reps sports teams at Wichita State.

He’s a Shocker, a bundle of wheat with an attitude, stuffed into a black sweater with yellow letters on the chest.

He’s officially the only mascot in America made primarily of the same ingredients as a loaf of bread.

5. Didn’t a football player shoot himself in the chest so scientists could study his brain?

NFL photos
NFL photos

Yes, he did. That would be Dave Duerson, former of the Chicago Bears.

Duerson died in 2011. He suspected hits sustained in his 11 NFL seasons led to him developing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a trauma induced disease. Just 50 when he died, he penned a note before he shot himself in the chest. “Please, see that my brain is given to the NFL’s brain bank,” it read.

That brain bank: Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. They found that Duerson, who’d complained about his deteriorating mental state for months before his death, was right.

They found that he had CTE.

I wish the NFL could do more to protect the players. I’ve written about it. It feels like there’s not much else I can do.

The NFL, though? I wish they were better than I am at the follow-through.

concussions nfl quote

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38 thoughts on “Go Ask Daddy About Civic Duty, Our Favorite Ravens Receiver and the Story of Dave Duerson

  1. Carl Hiaasen has a book “Sick Puppy” about a guy who takes matters into his own hands when it comes to litterbugs. The book starts out with him trailing a litterer to find out where he was going to park. Then buys off the garbage men to to dump a fully loaded garbage truck into the litterbug’s convertible.

  2. I can’t think of Citizens on Patrol without thinking of Police Academy 4, just like I can’t think of the Honey Smacks frog without thinking of Adam West on Family Guy.

    Yes, I watch way too much cheap cable at night.

      1. I love all the Police Academy movies – vivid memories of watching them multiple times on VHS, which we’d dubbed from television 🙂 Number 2 was my favourite. But I am now also envisioning Citizens on Patrol and humming the music from the Blue Oyster Bar. Sigh.

  3. Shoot, that reminds me…

    The other day at the recycling center there was this stupid, ugly, smelly guy who tossed all kinds of rubbish into the “cardboard” container. Plastic, dead plants, metal, you name it. I was too stunned and shocked to say anything.

    Then he got into his car, opened the window and lighted his stinking cigar.
    It was only when everybody within half a mile was coughin That he finally drove off.

    I memorized his license plate and wanted to look him up. Guess what – I am not certain it was 3464 anymore. Maybe it was 3646?

    Plus: how helpful would a phone call be that started with “listen, you stupid, ugly, smelly guy…”

    Do you think he reads your blog? “TAKE THIS, you stupid…”

    Nah, I don’t think so. Your readers know better than jay-recycling. They’re well educated, good looking and freshly showered. 🙂

  4. I actually tattled on a school qbus for cutting off another driver on a rainy morning during the time I was also helping my son earn his driving hours. I was mortified at the bus drivers dangerous driving.
    Great post as always!

  5. Yah. I have a special contempt for people who litter. I try to drive behind the school bus bc fumes and waving and sticking my tongue out at kids who do the same to me. Fun 🙂 and another reason not to have the bus follow me. Sheesh.

    Your girls’ questions are thought provoking as always. Thank you for the answers.

  6. #2 – i look at the elasticity/or lack thereof, as kind of like pizza dough. easy to stretch when making it bigger, tough to squish back into it’s shape after baking. never any left here though, so it’s pretty much a moot point in my house. the football injury issue makes me very sad, and i wish that more people would take it seriously.

  7. I’m laughing at the mental image of you attempting a pic of a tailgating school bus. If I tried that I’m pretty sure I’d run into whatever was in front of me (tree, texting pedestrian, cement truck- whatever). Littering bugs me. It’s just rude. It carries a $500 fine here, so I’d totally rat the person out 🙂

    1. Especially because I struggle to take straight-on pictures with my phone, Janna. That I kept it between the lines is amazing in itself.

      Is it just me, or does it feel like there are more litterers now? The trick is to catch them.

  8. I never thought of comparing football players to gladiators before. Well played. So sad about the head trauma…another reason my boys have not been enrolled in a single football season yet. (Granted, even the oldest is only 10). Meanwhile, I’m off to go watch the Tide (hopefully hopefully hopefully) cream LSU.

    1. Football’s good theater, April. That said, I’d never want my kids to play it. The head trauma has been largely ignored, and the greater issue is how we condition our sons to sometimes feel like injury makes you weak.

      The Tide rolled! Big win to get in that top 4.

  9. ggrrr, I hate it when people litter!! Honestly, it’s so rude and it’s not that hard to find a garbage pail or something. especially cigarette butts on the ground, really irks me. Like way to show the whole world you just really don’t care.
    I got confused about the tailgating for a moment, because I thought that was the big party at the back of the truck in the parking lot, and I thought… why? why would you want to stop a fun party? LOL

  10. I hope Steve Smith comes back for one more season too! The Ravens have had so many injuries this year – I finally knew most of the players, and now I don’t anymore.

    I didn’t know about Dave Duerson – how sad. The NFL needs to man up. Are you following the soccer conversation – eliminating heading the ball for younger players in order to prevent concussions?

    1. He’s the dude you really want on your team. Dennis Pitta was a huge loss for your Ravens.

      We can’t forget how Junior Seau died, too. This isn’t a problem that will go away from the NFL – they should be proactive and act ahead of it all.

      I did see that mandate for heading in soccer. I’m in favor. I’d rather teach young kids to trap the ball with their chest or legs than to head. At that age, they’re just colliding with the ball, not passing it as they might when they’re older. it’s unnecessary in the younger brackets.

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