Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Vacation dispatches, part I: Drivers to avoid

Well, I'm really back in it now, with a full clinic yesterday, my coming back to find that I'm unexpectedly covering for one of my partners for a couple of days (one of the two who usually has the sickest train wrecks of patients in the hospital), which has already produced one admission that I'll have to cover for at least another day. Welcome back, as they say. (On the other hand, it does force me to switch rapidly out of vacation mode and back to work mode.) Fortunately, however, there haven't been any new consults or emergencies--yet. Consequently, I only have time for a brief anecdote from vacation. I have a handful of these that I thought would make amusing blog fodder, some long and some short, and I'll intersperse among the usual blogging about medicine, surgery, skepticism, and science as the next two or three weeks roll by. Assuming things don't get too hairy, I should have time to post at least a couple of more substantive articles about why clinical trials are so important in evaluating conventional medical therapies and perhaps even take on an altie phenomenon that I've been meaning to write about since at least July but that has finally gotten on my nerves enough to motivate me. If I get time to wade through all 150+ comments on Kristjan Wager's excellent guest blog about the Danish autism studies, maybe I'll make a followup post. Hopefully Kristjan will also provide me with a followup.

So...picture this.

Date: Friday, August 12, 2005
Time: Approximately 7 PM
Location, I-75 North in Michigan, approximately 15 miles north of the Ohio border

My wife and I were cruising along, happy that we had finally gotten through the massive traffic jam on the Ohio Turnpike near Toledo, our final destination rapidly drawing nearer, when we noticed it. There, ahead of us, I noticed an RV towing a car. By itself, this was nothing unusual. Lots of people go camping in RVs and tow their car for use as transportation while they are on vacation. I see it all the time on long road trips during the summer.

I wouldn't have even given it another look if it weren't for something odd that I noticed as we gained on the RV. It looked as though the owner had painted some words on the back of the car being towed. It looked as though he or she had used poster paint of the type that teenage kids use to decorate their cars for high school graduation or that young couples use to paint "Just Married" on their car on their wedding day. As I gained on the car, I was able to read the words on the back of the car:

"Car in toe."

I rapidly passed the RV and its towed car. I wanted to stay as far away as possible from the vehicles. I figured that anyone crappy at spelling probably can't read speed limit or road signs very well. I didn't want to be anywhere near them when bad consequences resulted from that.

10 example(s) of insolence returned:

At 8/30/2005 7:30 AM, Blogger Phyllis S said...

Admit it--You're Greg House, aren't you?


At 8/30/2005 7:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have bet on Dr. Cox...


At 8/30/2005 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fine blog.
Yet I think your reasoning in this case is wrong. If you cannot read a language, you still can recognize it by the image of its glyphs. If you are going to China, visit some hotels and look carefully for the "hotel sign" in Chinese, you will be able to recognize it even if you cannot read a single bit of it. Analphabets are mostly very good at
recognizing standardized signs like
road signs. So the driver can be actually a very good one (and academics can be very bad ones) :-)


At 8/30/2005 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad grammar too.


At 8/30/2005 10:32 AM, Blogger LBBP said...

Perhaps the phrase "car in toe" was a commentary on the vehicles repair status. Like "this car is a thorn in my toe", thus they were actually being rather clever.


At 8/30/2005 11:42 AM, Anonymous Andreas Schaefer said...

offtopic but this:
sounds interesting. ( what pissed me of was that a German translation for general news did not mention AT ALL that this was relating to medical studies. )


At 8/30/2005 12:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Car in toe."
Well, if Orac gets to complain, so do I. I complain about people who apparently don't understand how to use "too": e.g., It was to [sic] much! I was correcting this in the writing of a reasonably intelligent young professional, and he asked me, "Doesn't 'too' mean 'also'?" I spared him my lecture on how A Word Can Have More Than One Meaning.


At 8/30/2005 12:27 PM, Blogger Rockstar Ryan said...

My pet peeve is using "your" in place of "you're". Anywhoo, I had to borrow your idea here for my own ideas on bad drivers.


At 8/30/2005 2:08 PM, Blogger Michael Alan Nelson said...

"Car in toe."

Sounds painful.


At 8/31/2005 6:23 PM, Anonymous HCN said...

A pair of Toe Trucks:


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