Ford Motor Company is aggressively advertising models with its computer-assisted automated parallel parking system. Pull up somewhere in the vicinity of a parking space, and the computer finds it, measures it, and neatly tucks your car into the space.
Years ago, we were speccing out a rescue truck which was going to run about 15 tons fully loaded. An early question arose as to whether the chasis would be specced with a manual transmission or automatic transmission. It was a short discussion. The unanimous feeling was that if someone does not know how to drive a manual transmission, they should not be driving a big, heavy emergency vehicle anyway.
In that spirit, people who cannot parallel park need to turn in their drivers licenses. To slightly paraphrase dirty Harry, “People should know their limitations.”
Yes, I know I can be a bit of an enfant terrible now and then. I do try to hold down those unfortunate predilections ‘round the holy precincts of the church. Meaning that slathering sarcasm, babbling barbs and asinine asides are done internally, rather life a first-person narrator relates his/her own thoughts. (John Mortimer in his Rumpole stories did that so marvelously.) My internal observer got a workout last week when a fellow asserted that baptism specifically by immersion was an absolute prerequisite to salvation of the soul and so forth and that lacking this necessary experience, no matter what other experiences, beliefs or relative merits an individual might have, he/she was, at the very least, Darned to Heck.
By the way, our denomination is not nearly so doctrinaire. It’s a fairly large tent including lots of variations of Christian belief.
My whimsical thoughts, later expressed in private, are that if the Bible mandates baptism by full immersion, it certainly does not support the use of baptismal fonts with filtered and chemically cleaned water from the municipal waterworks. Rivers, that’s the way it was done in biblical times! And so, I’m thinking that we should all adjourn down to the West Fork of the Monongahela, whatever the weather, to observe this most ancient of Christian traditions. And then, the pastor informed me that some of the genuine early Christians also used pits dug out in caves as baptismal fonts. I suppose that’s okay too. I need to go looking for caves.
Robert E. Lee Apocrypha
The following comes from Robert E. Lee: A Biography (1995), by Emory Thomas. Shortly after the end of the Civil War, Lee attended a church service in Richmond. The invitation to come forward to the rail for communion was given.
"A tall-well dressed, black man stood and strode to the rail. There followed a pregnant pause. According to one witness, "Its effects upon the communicants was startling, and for several moments they retained their seats in solemn silence and did not move, being deeply chagrined at this attempt to inaugurate the 'new regime' to offend and humiliate them...". Then another person rose from the pew and walked down the aisle to the chancel rail. He knelt near the black man and so redeemed the circumstance. This grace- bringer, of course was Lee. Soon after he knelt, the rest of the congregation followed his example and shuffled in turn to the rail...Lee's actions were far more eloquent than anything he spoke or wrote." (Thomas, p. 372.)
The Do-Rag Rag
One of the reasons that I do so love the law is that it adequately adapts to the changes in society even in culturally blurring in times such as these. As an example, I offer information regarding a modification of standard practice before the Circuit Court of Marion County. For as long as I remember, one must remove ones hat in Court. As of this week, the “do rag” will now be considered a “hat”, meaning that it is an article of clothing that must be removed when the wearer is in the court room. I must confess, I got considerable enjoyment from questioning the presiding judge closely so that the supporters of my unfortunate client would be sure to comply fully with the letter and spirit of the new rule.
All in the name of a bit of harmless fun round of the Marion County palais d’ justice.