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THE LOWDOWN: Trees can break wind

Richard Hoad

THE LOWDOWN: Trees can break wind

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Y’know how experts say: “It’s like riding a bicycle. Once you learn, you never forget”? And we believe them and think that whenever we get back to some long-missed activity we will slot right in and carry on smartly?
Well, folks, they lied. I grabbed my grandson’s little bicycle recently to demonstrate how to “pedal mount”. Which is, you put your left foot on the pedal, push off and, in an unhurried and facile movement, lift your right leg over to land gracefully into the saddle.
I used to live on a bicycle and could pedal mount in my sleep. This time I flew over the handles. Twice. With my wife and offsprings rolling in the grass laughing their parts off.
That worries me no end. Suppose I’ve forgotten how to do other things too and fail in similar disarray? I couldn’t handle the laughter.
So we can’t always trust those experts. Although they’re right about prune juice. Especially that gallon the wife bought on Red Dot last week.
Lord have mercy!
Nowadays I doubt all “expert” statements. Take that “Barbados rocked by strong earthquake” which made headlines all over the world.
We are on the north-east, where the quake was supposedly located. We knew nothing until we heard it on the news. Furthermore, we are nearly down to sea level and would be tsunamied like ants in a kitchen sink. So where’s the fancy warning system?
It seems cockroaches are our best bet for predicting earthquakes, the scientists say. And if you wake to find a shark nudging you for room on the bed, there’s probably been a tsunami.
Personally I doubt there was an earthquake.
We put a note in with the mother-in-law: “DFB!” Don’t feed beans! Obviously they didn’t listen up there.
I’m tired of disaster experts telling us to “be prepared”. Last time we had an earth tremor, the only casualty, as I recall, was the highly prepared director of emergency management, who got overrun by an avalanche of people rushing out of a store.
There is another aspect. Soldiers, emergency personnel and so on who train for their entire careers for an event that never happens must get a bit testy over time. They probably want something to happen. Like those 10 000 scientists who have collaborated to build the 17-mile-long Large Hadron Collider to create unprecedented nuclear explosions.
This is dangerous territory. A horse policeman who used to come into Vaucluse yard when I was a boy confided that he wished people would riot again. This was not long after the 1937 event. He had been taught to shoot but found no opportunity to practise his skills.
This is probably why America keeps lurching from one war to another although they invariably lose. It gives the troops something to do, keeps their arms supply firms busy, and uses up old ammo. That’s why, despite the rantings of the neo-communists among us, we shouldn’t take sides in the Venezuela dispute. Those troops from Afghanistan have to go somewhere.
But why put so much resources into disasters that may never happen in our lifetime, or will no matter what we do, but neglect everyday disasters taking a heavy toll on human life?
I mean, why aren’t our disaster people around every van selling unhealthy snacks at schools, at every fast food outlet, warning Bajans that obesity and diabetes are preventable?
Why aren’t they guarding produce fields at night so that the few remaining farmers who feed us healthy alternatives aren’t driven out of business by frustration at the rampant, large-scale stealing of their crops? Which will force us eventually to import foods loaded with deleterious, unhealthy chemicals?
Noise pollution is another disaster. Too many people can’t sleep because of all-night kite bulls roaring. Why not a rapid response team to castrate them?
Oh well, if you want some pleasing sounds for a change, check Frank Collymore Hall on March 7 or 8 for From Classics Tuk Jazz, a musical tribute to “Tank” Williams and Janice Millington. A feast of top-name performers.
I asked Peter Wiliams how come the likes of Andre Woodvine, Roger Gittens, Smokey Burke and members of NexCyx got included but not me. He explained the performers were all old Harrisonians but nobody could consider me “old”.
Makes sense.
Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator. Email [email protected]