Sunday, February 26, 2006

Perception…. IS Reality….

At least that’s how I see it.

Fantasy, illusion, reality… what’s more important? Which is more real?

Empirical evidence, objective truths, subjective observations… is one substantially ‘better’, more real, or possibly more ‘true’ than another?

I think many folks would say, almost out of reflex that objective reality is the ‘real deal’, and maybe it is, or, maybe it really is all much more contextual in nature than factual.

This is one of the little thoughts that have been rolling around in my ‘bb brain’ for a while now. This question of reality, what is real, what exactly is fantasy or illusion?

I’ve believed, for some time that “Perception is reality” that what we perceive as real, is, in fact real, for us, at that moment. That it is (or might be) an illusion is secondary, something we only come to understand, later, after the fact.

This applies in the programming and system development world and can be seen at work there every day. If a user perceives an application to be difficult to use, it is, in fact, difficult to use, for them. Forget that there are 10 other folks who love the look, the feel, the reports, for that user who perceives it to be bad, it is.

Even worse, if that user happens to be in charge of the 10 who like it, trust me; their reality will become altered until they too see it as flawed.

I’ve thought about this at times as I’m riding the motorcycle too. At times, the bike I currently have feels less ‘fast’ than my previous bike. I know that in fact it’s far faster, but, other than in straight line acceleration it just doesn’t feel that way, to me, as the rider. It may have to do with this bike having a much more relaxed feel, that at the same speeds in the same corners, it just doesn't feel as 'on edge'... it could be something else... I only know that's how it 'feels'.

You’d think that with something as measurable as speed, or even acceleration we’d have a pretty good grip on the ‘real’ answer, but we don’t.

Think about it, how ‘fast’ does 600 miles per hour feel when you’re in an airplane? Does it feel faster, or slower than say 80 miles an hour in your car? How many times have you been in a line, where you felt that you’d been waiting for ‘hours’, only to discover it had only been a few, maybe less than five, or ten, minutes. Have you ever noticed that the later you’re running, the slower everything around you ‘feels’? That your perception of time is altered by your subconscious as you attempt to get where you’re going?

Our perceptions, of ourselves, our friends, loved ones, business associates and the world around us in general, in fact, creates our reality. Or at least I believe it does.

If you perceive that you’re getting a ‘raw deal’… at work, for example, no amount of supposed ‘rational discussion’ with others who are not in exactly your specific situation is going to convince you otherwise. Have you ever noticed though, that if you alter your perception of the situation, you’ll actually begin to ‘feel’ differently about it? If you, for instance, begin to believe that you’re not alone, that the company treats everyone poorly, then you begin to feel less persecuted, more focused in your efforts to find another job that’s more in line with how you think folks should be treated?

I’ve been thinking about this “Perception is reality” concept of mine for a very long time. At least 10 years or more, and in all of that time I've become more convinced, everyday, that it’s completely true.

This brings a very interesting conundrum to light, do I believe it, because I perceive it, or, have I come to believe it simply because it is the way things are?

If our reality is determined by our perceptions, to me, that means our degree of happiness is 100% under our control. That if we perceive ourselves to be happy, we will be, in fact, happy… the converse is also true, we can build a misery for ourselves far beyond any of even biblical proportions.

So why is it then, that we’re not all just walking around deliriously happy?

I think that society, our culture, is at least partly to blame. We’re taught from a very young age that we should be able to ‘live the American dream’… unfortunately, the exact details of that dream are not the same for everyone. Some of us have far higher expectations of what the dream actually is, and when we reach for it, and find it to be just out of reach, we think we’ve failed, or been lied to, or any of 1,000 other self defeating thoughts on ‘why’ we didn’t get the dream as promised.

Newspapers, Magazines, Television, Radio and the movies all present us with various versions of what the dream entails. Advertising in these mediums also attempts to formulate in our beliefs what it means to “have the dream”. A new car, bigger house, better job… longer vacations, a stunning, sexy partner… perfect hair, teeth, body… all within reach, if, you’re living the dream…

I say, if you look there for the dream, unless you are one of about 1% of the population, you’re very likely to be ‘perceiving’ that you’ve been cut off from the dream.

Most of us though, if we truly look around, will see that we already have the dream. It’s here, right now, and we’re living it. It’s our perception, and our perception of what we don’t have, that feeds that discontent.

If I spend just one day focused on the things I’d like to have, but don’t have, I’ll be significantly less happy as a result. There is no end to my ‘wish list’… it simply grows (or shrinks) with my current income level. If I’m broke, I’m perfectly happy just paying the bills and having food to eat… on the other hand, when I’m doing well and the income is flowing in regularly, I find myself ‘wishing’ once again.

I could be wishing for a new tractor, a better welder, a new Plasma cutter, a big screen TV, a vacation home in the mountains, a new bike, a bigger garage, more relaxation time… whatever… all things that aren’t even on the list, when money is tight.

Will these “things” really change my level of happiness? No, they won’t… sure, I’d enjoy them, but as sure as I’m typing this, if money got tight I’d sell all of it without a second thought.

So, what do you think? Is your perception of reality, in fact, your reality? I’m working on some more posts on this, as I believe it explains a lot in the way of our (well mine anyway) behavior, and, our over all satisfaction with our lives.

I’d really like to hear what you’re thinking about this!

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

When is enough… enough?

Apparently being the number one PC builder in the world isn’t enough for computer maker Dell.

I got this information in one of the TechSummary type emails I receive on a daily basis:

Notes from the field: Dell is suing Dell -- and it's not the first time, either. That's right, Dell Corporation is slapping Web designer Paul Dell with a lawsuit over the domain ( ). Now what would Dell the PC maker even want with Dellwebsites anyway?

It seems Dell threatened this guy with a lawsuit once befoe, and then backed off when he didn’t just ‘cave’ in the face of their overwhelming awesome-ness.

To me, this is the worst type of corporate indulgence. They seem to believe that they are the only ones allowed to use the word ‘Dell’…. And they’ve decided to crush anyone else who tries to use it.

Well this fellow and his
website have earned a place in my “Friends” sidebar section, check it out and see for yourself. There is no mention of computers, hardware… or anything remotely referring to the PC giant Dell. I’m also adding his blog to my blogroll

Had I learned about this from a less reputable source, I would have tossed it off as some sort of internet scam, we all know there are plenty of them… this my friends, for all the research I’ve done, is 100% legit.

I urge you to go to his site, check out the
blog his friends started to chronicle his struggle, donate if you can (he’ll give you a template as a gift for your donation!)

Me, I’ve decided he’s my new template vendor. I’ll be showing clients his templates first, throw any business his way I can. I don’t directly control the purchase of 100’s of PC’s like I once did, but now, instead, I influence the purchase of 1,000’s of PC’s. I can promise you, if Dell does not back off on this suit, I’ll point it out to every one of my clients and urge them to source their hardware elsewhere.

This corporate bullying of this little one man shop, is, in my opinion, reprehensible. Up until this point, I’ve actually held Michael Dell in quite high regard. He started the Dell operation in a garage, struggled though horrendous growing pains, battled overwhelming odds and huge competitors, only to emerge as the #1 PC builder in the world. A true American success story.

It makes me wonder where it all changed for him. Where did he make that turn, go from the ‘peoples PC builder’, the underdog, to just another greedy corporation, not content until they achieve world domination?

Wake up Michael, you’re already the “Alpha” PC guy, the top dog in a dog eat dog business, do you really need to crush this little guy to feel better about yourself, your company?

Or is it that you’re so far removed from the day to day goings on in your legal department that you don’t even know that this is happening? Is it possible you never gave your blessing to this, that some over-eager overachieving legal eagle on your staff just had this idea and went with it?

If Michael Dell were to put a stop to this, issue an apology to the other Mr. Dell (the website guy) and let him know it was all a very bad mistake, my faith would be restored.

I truly hope something like that happens… hey, I got ProFlowers to listen.. I’m on a roll this week, I can only hope something good happens for Paul, and soon.

So, tell me, what's your honest opinion here? Do you think Dell has a case? Is this some sort of ill-advised legal screw-up? or, does Dell really feel like they have to crush this kid??

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Just when you think no one listens….

I finished responding to the comments to my last post, and then checked my email. What do I find, but a response from the folks at ProFlowers.

I have to say, I’m impressed, quick response and certainly a fair enough offer.

I think they’ve definitely restored my faith in customer service!!

So, in the spirit of a fair and balanced approach, which is always my first choice, here’s their response, and my original email, verbatim:


Dear Bill,

Thank you for contacting ProFlowers. Please accept our apologies for the disappointment with this order. You are a valued customer of ProFlowers, and we want to resolve this issue to your satisfaction.

We would like to offer you a replacement bouquet, courtesy of the team at ProFlowers.

In order to process this order, I will need the following information:

1. The name of the desired product (of equal value to the original item),

2. The preferred date of delivery (Tuesday-Friday, excluding holidays),

3. The recipient's name and complete address, including daytime telephone number,

4. A card message (if desired).

Once again, please accept our most sincere apologies. We look forward to hearing back from you soon!

Best Regards,

HB Kelly Norrod TR
Customer Care
The Art of Fresher Flowers

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Coupe (
Sent: Feb 21, 2006 5:09:29 PM
Subject: RE: ProFlowers Survey Invitation

The survey could not be completed... I don't know who your survey vendor is, but you need to find a new one!

In short, these flowers were flat disappointing, wilted, the top edges of the rose petals were dried and darkened... not at all the quality I expected from your organization.

I doubt I'll be ordering again if this is what I'm going to end up with.
Truth be told, I was in a grocery store in the afternoon on Valentines day, the roses they had looked perfect, and were about half the price of what I bought from you...

Disappointed is the softest word I can use to describe my feelings when my wife opened that box.



So there ya have it… just when you think you’re talking to yourself, someone goes and listens.

I definitely love electronic communications!!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Internet Flowers….

I’ve been debating for several days now about posting on this issue.

I ordered 18 assorted roses, to be delivered on Valentines Day from a well known ‘Internet Florist’, ProFlowers.

Now I’ve ordered from them several times in the past, and each time the recipient would rave about the flowers, or the arrangement, so all in all I’d been happy with the service, the ease of doing business and the price.

This order however, well, let’s just say, to me, it was disappointing. The roses looked like they’d been left too long in a cooler with far too little moisture. You know, the color’s a bit faded, the top edges of the flower is wrinkled, dry and discolored and the greenery…. The leaves are no longer shiny, but dull and wilted as well.

Now my wonderful bride, she didn’t mention a thing…. I know she was happy that I’d gotten her flowers as they arrived in the early evening and I’m pretty sure she’d given up on seeing any (part of the fun for me is letting her think I didn’t, and seeing her face light up when they arrive)…

She’d never complain anyway, it’s just not her style to do that.

The truth is, up until this moment, I was just going to let the whole thing drop, chalk it up to bad luck or whatever and move on.

Then, today, in my already overloaded email inbox… comes a request for me to fill out a ‘satisfaction survey’… well, today has been a bit frustrating, exactly what I needed was a diversion, and an opportunity to let ProFlowers know, they’d let me down, and in an anonymous fashion.


Let’s just say sending a systems/web/applications developer to this particular survey site, was not the smartest thing they could have done.

  • First, amateurish layout and not at all ‘branded’ as a ProFlowers survey
  • The questions are each on a separate page (please that is so 5 years ago)
  • The site is so slow, it took nearly 45 minutes to get through it
  • Several, as in over a dozen “Page Cannot Be Displayed” errors that required a back button click and an attempt to resend, which was sometimes successful, sometimes not

So, in short, not a very good experience for me this time with ProFlowers.

Great service, disappointing product.

In the past, it was great service, and a great product.

I finally completed the survey, and in order to make use of the ‘downtime’ I also sent them an email ‘complaint’ about not only the product, but about the survey as well.

I’ll let you know, when, and if, I ever hear anything.

Next year I’ll just pick them up at the grocery store, hell at least those looked fresh!!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It's Valentines Day After All....

One of the things I did this year was put together a little poem for my wife, along with a few other things I'm hoping she'll enjoy. I truly hope that everytime she looks at any one of them, or thinks back on this day, she'll know, in her heart she's deeply loved!

Why I Love You --

Why do I love you?
You asked me that, just the other day.
I'm sure I don't tell you often enough,
Or add all the detail of every single way

I thought I'd make this little list
just a few of the things I love so much
Put my thoughts to words, for it seems
These days, with thoughts I quickly lose touch

Picking things at random
There are many more, these are just a few
There's your sense of humor
Twisted at times like mine, you find funny what I do

The way you seek and question
Everything around you
Never accepting the easy answer
Anything old, it seems, can in fact, be new.

The sexy ways you move
Especially when you don't know I'm peeking
How, no matter what you're wearing
It's one more glimpse I'm forever seeking

How I think of you
Naked bathed in firelight
At amazingly random times
Like when driving home at night

A thousand of your touches could never be too many
Yet, that just one can be almost be too much.
So that even after holding you all night
I can still find myself craving your touch

Your strength in character, love and will
Never cease to amaze me
Wondering always
What your next rise will be

I find myself smiling
My heart filled with pride
The mall, grocery store
Where ever, when ever, you're by my side

I love the way that is you
How it helps me stay the course
That in our years of marriage
You've brought me not a moment's remorse

So, on this Valentines Day
Instead of roses red and violets blue
I wrote this little poem
To let you know why I love you.

That's for you baby... Happy Valentines Day!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Crazy busy….

I know I’ve been running at a flat 100 (as an old friend “Shorty” Lane used to say) for several weeks now.

The increased pace and pressure has showed up in some of my work and it’s really beginning to upset me. Normally, being the perfectionist sort I am, I check, recheck and test everything several times before I hand it off.

Lately, I’ve felt like time was such an issue that I’ve slipped a bit in the testing and checking phases.

The case in point is, postal codes, and Mexican state abbreviations in particular. Who knew there were several ‘standards’ in use? I sure didn’t.

It turns out Mexico has 2, 3 and 4 character codes for their 31 states and 1 district. Compound that with the fact that most postal code suppliers attempt to translate between the languages and often the translations don’t agree.

So today, I’m building a little conversion utility to convert the known spellings of those 32 Mexican States to a unique 2 character code (so it fits the exiisting table structures), which can then be used to span the various sources of data.

While I’m talking about postal codes, did you know that postal codes expire? Expire as in they exist as a viable mailing location one month, and the next, poof, they’re nowhere to be found in the database!!

Yeah I didn’t know that either. One of the things my (now increased) testing revealed is that Canada, the US and Mexico as well are adjusting postal codes, and doing so on a fairly regular basis.

If your company has a fairly local focus, only does business in the USA, or has fairly tight controls on its customer/marketing database, it’s probably not all that big a problem.

When you extend the business reach to all three countries and provide centralized location data for shipments and deliveries, for an entire industry, well the expiration of these codes can pose a problem.

In some cases, say in a small town with only one postal code for the town, simply finding the town name in the database, and identifying the new code is fairly simple. If you take a city like Los Angeles, or New York however, there are dozens of possibilities, possibly hundreds of customers affected, and no simple means to determine the new postal code.

You’d think, with all the technology we have, and that these ‘postal data’ companies exist for only one reason, and that’s to provide postal data, they would have a cross referencing system in place and that it would be a part of the service.

For you programmers and developers out there… did you know that postal (zip) codes went away, at the rate of 300 to 400 a month between these three countries?

No one I’ve talked to was aware… Makes you wonder about the wisdom of storing an actual postal code in our datastores, doesn’t it? I’ve seen attempts to externalize geographical location data, to place a ‘company issued geo-code’ in the database and allow that to reference records in the actual postal table.

Every implementation instance of this I’ve worked with however, still had problems of its own and, after a period of time, became out of touch with the official postal table.

Interesting challenge this. It’s a fairly easy task to identify the entries in the various tables that are effected by a removed postal code, gather them up in some exchangeable format like say Excel, and hand them off for manual adjudication. The real trick though is finding some repeatable process that can then be automated and integrated into the monthly update procedures.

So… my question is, for my fellow coders, designers, developers and problem solvers… Have you run into this situation? Have you seen any sort of automated process that’s working, and has worked well over say a 12 month time span? I’d love to hear any experiences, good, bad or in between!

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

What exactly is the right choice?

How do we know, do we ever know, for ourselves, let alone for someone else?

What exactly is the right choice?

Recently, and old friend of mine wrote asking for some advice. It seems her daughter’s boyfriend is talking seriously about joining the Marines. The daughter has been accepted to a great college out of state, the young man was seeing (or she thought he was seeing) his relationship with her daughter slipping away and she felt he’d decided to join the Marines in response.

She was visualizing the young man coming home in a body bag; she cares for him and wants him to be well. Obviously she was concerned about him.

I really didn’t know what to tell her. Those of you who know me, know, that my being at a loss for words, well, it’s a pretty rare occurrence!!

On one hand, I have to admire his courage, patriotism and valor, just for considering enlisting (especially in the Marines!) at a time when our nation is involved in a war, more than one actually, instead of looking elsewhere for a ‘change’.

If it weren’t for young men like him, and the ones before him over the last 200 years, this nation wouldn’t be what, or where, it is today.

On the other hand, to many, this young man’s decision just seems plain foolish. I can understand that as well, having made a similar decision at one point in my life, I certainly got my share of “Are you NUTS?!?!?” comments at the time myself.

I thought about what she’d written, the situation overall and yet found myself with very little actual advice.

I reminded her that, at a similar age, I’d decided to enlist. I never really consider ‘dying’ as any part of my decision process then. I was nineteen, indestructible, immortal, a veritable superman of a human being, death and dying was not any part, of any of my decision processes back then. I doubt they’re any part of his either.

I also reminded her that, she and I would never have met had I not enlisted. (We met at a “Welcome Home” party a few of my friends had after I got out of Boot Camp) That while the military turned out not to be for me, it remains a huge crossroad point in my life. An experience that truly changed me, in many ways, mostly (in the end) for the better and one that while you couldn’t pay me enough to repeat it, you also couldn’t buy the experience for any amount of money either.

One of the things she’d mentioned was that she felt strongly he was doing this because of a perceived fracture in his relationship with her daughter, once she started college. I reminded her that back in the day; I used to make a 24 hour (roundtrip) road trip to spend just 18 hours with her. I went on to say that I thought a college kid should be able to find a way to get to the daughter’s new school, fairly regularly, and be able to spend much more than 18 hours each trip. I’m a big believer in the old “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” sort of reasoning.

The most important piece of advice I gave her though (at least I think so) is that no one gets to decide for another what the ‘right’ course of action is. We make our choices, and take our chances. That if this young man has his heart set on becoming a Marine, he’s going to become a Marine, and the best thing she can do is to support his decision.

Sure, you want to do what you can to be sure he’s thought it through, carefully weighed his options (as in what happened to his school plans?) and isn’t making this choice simply because he wants ‘a change’. In the end though, are you doing that for him, or in an attempt to alleviate your own fears?

I also mentioned that with this (I’m assuming unexpected) turn in his ‘future picture’, he’s probably feeling a little adrift, without direction, maybe a little less centered, and believes the military will provide the direction he seeks. Make no mistake about it, the military will definitely provide him direction, the important thing for him, is to determine if it’s a direction he wants for himself.

While I understand her concern for this young man, I do think she’s over-reacting, just a bit. I don’t know what the actual odds are, but I’m willing to wager that the odds of any young man in America making it to say age 24 are statistically about the same, regardless of their joining, or not joining, a military unit.

In fact a little ‘Googling’ led me to the following:

“Between ages 15 and 24 years, men are four to five times more likely to die than women. This time frame coincides with the onset of puberty and an increase in reckless and violent behavior in males. Researchers refer to it as a "testosterone storm." Most deaths in this male group come from motor vehicle accidents, followed by homicide, suicide, cancer, and drowning.” “After age 24, the difference between male and female mortality narrows until late middle age. In the 55- to 64-year-old range, more men than women die, due mainly to heart disease, suicide, car accidents, and illnesses related to smoking and alcohol use.”

At: Harvard

I've done quite a bit of reading, since getting her note, about male mortality rates, life expectancy and so on. In none of the statistics I read was military service listed as a leading cause of death in males under the age of 24. Statistically, he’s got less of a chance of dying as a result of being in the military, and a far greater risk of dying because he’s in a car, driving to visit his girlfriend.

So, in the end, I’m not sure I helped at all, or if my thoughts were really much in the way of advice. I’d personally support his decision, or anyone’s for that matter, to join the military, provided they truly felt it was the right thing for them to do. I’d want him to be sure he knew “why” he was signing up, but once I felt he had thought it through, I’d fully support him. Hell, the truth is I’d support him even if I thought it was the wrong decision. Kids need to make mistakes, it’s how they learn, and we adults, while we try to guide them, are really supposed to just help them back up when they fall.

I guess it’s like getting married, buying a house, or making any other major life decision. You’d hope a person would think it through, weigh the options and attempt to make the best possible choice. The truth is though, with most of us, for most of our decisions, we simply do what ‘feels right’ to us, and no amount of rational, or irrational, arguments from someone else are likely to alter our decision.

So, what would you have told her to do? What advice would you have given? Should she try and talk him out of signing up? At what point does her concern become ‘interference’? I'd really like to know your thoughts!!

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Speaking of that old Ford….

Writing my last post has had me thinking about that truck, off and on, for the past several days. It really was a great truck, fun to drive, loud enough to let you know it was coming, quiet enough to slip through the neighborhood if you were ‘light-footed’.

Fast enough to get some respect, not fast enough to get you ‘stupid-hurt’ if you lost your focus for a minute or two. It always drew attention though, sometimes in a good way, at others it drew attention that I really didn’t want. I loved it when folks would pull up alongside it at a stop light, roll down their windows and shout things like “Radical ride”, “Man that truck is stout!”, or, simply ask to take a closer look at it in the mall/convenience store parking lot.

At other times though the kind of attention it got, was not exactly the opposite kind, but could be fairly annoying.

That old truck was a bit tough to drive at 35MPH. In 3rd gear it was spinning the engine about 3,500 RPM and was a tad on the ‘loud’ side, yet in 4th, the motor would be at about 1,200, maybe 1,400 RPM’s just on the ‘rough’ side of the camshaft.

For those of you who don’t know, as you increase the lift and duration (valve opening and closing events) of a camshaft, you’ll allow the engine to more fully fill the cylinders with the air/fuel mix, but you also move the operating range of the engine up in RPM’s as well.

This truck had an Iskendarian 270 Supercam in it, just about all the cam you could really utilize in a daily driven vehicle. However, all that cam lift and duration meant the engine would barely idle below 1200 RPM and really only smoothed out above 2,000 rpm.

As a result, in 4th gear, at 35mph, the engine was doing what’s referred to as ‘loping’, which means it almost feels like the truck will stall, before coming back up on the powerband once again. While all of us horsepower enthusiasts love the sound of a healthy, loping engine, in motion it has the effect, on the people in the car, of alternately ‘blipping’ the gas and tapping the brakes… essentially rocking you back and forth, forward to rear in your seat. Trust me, it’s fairly annoying!!

Why am I explaining all of this? To set up this story of course…

I’m on my way home from work in Syracuse (I was still at Omnifax Computer Stores at the time I think), and had stopped at “Richal’s” in Sylvan Beach to get a pizza for dinner.

As I’m pulling out of the parking lot of the pizza joint, I notice a State police car turning in behind me from the intersection.

Normally I’d either drive about 40 in this 35 MPH zone, or slip the truck into 3rd despite the noise… hoping to avoid trouble however, this time I left it in 4th gear, and endured the constant ‘rocking’ motion as we proceeded North up Rt. 13.

As you leave Sylvan Beach on 13, the speed limit goes from 35, to 55 mph… and this night, like many others, once the new limit sign became visible, I slipped the truck into 2nd gear, stomped the gas pedal, grabbed 3rd, and as the speedometer hit 55, slipped it into 4th and let off the gas. (This truck was just plain fun when you stabbed the gas!!)

As I looked in the rear view however, there, about 13 car lengths back, is that same State trooper. Only now, all the lights are flashing, and the car is rapidly closing in on me.

I pulled over, set the parking brake, turned the truck off and waited on the officer. We did the ceremonial license /registration/insurance card exchange, and all of that was in order. The next thing the officer said to me was “I’m going to have to cite you for an inadequate exhaust”.

I then asked him if the exhaust system, was complete, starting at the engine, and then exited behind the rear bumper, how that could be considered, “inadequate”. He went on to inform me that running “straight pipes” (a system without an muffler) was illegal, and therefore inadequate.

I explained, the system had mufflers, but, he told me that he didn’t believe me. I then offered to get my suit dirty, if he’d also bend a knee and look underneath to see if I was telling the truth or not.

Yes, I was in a 3-piece suit, looking quite dapper actually… he eventually consented, pulled out his flashlight and we both looked under the truck. There, to his surprise, were two, nearly new, full sized mufflers.

After that, he began looking at my license again, and inquired if the address on my license was, in fact, current. I told him, yes it was, and that I’d lived there for nearly 10 years.

After explaining to me that when I’d hit the gas the sound had ‘rattled the windows’ in the police cruiser, he’d assumed that for it to be that loud, it would have had to have been ‘inadequate’. We also had a brief discussion about what was considered ‘loud’ and he explained that he didn’t have the equipment to measure the actual decibel levels.

Once he’d handed me back my paperwork, and we were preparing to part company, I asked him if he’d seen the barracks sergeant lately. He replied that he saw him nearly every day, why was I asking.

I simply replied “Tell him I said he’s overdue for a visit and a cup of coffee”

He looked at me, rather quizzically actually, and said “You know the sergeant?”. We had a brief conversation about how I knew him, some mutual friends and so on, as we were wrapping that up; he asked me “Why didn’t you mention that sooner?”

I told him that I’d never ‘name drop’ over a simple ticket. We shook hands and went on about our separate ways.

A few weeks later, I did run into the sergeant, over at Larry’s house as I recall, and his only comment was “I heard you broke in the new rookie!”

You see it was just small town life. The new officer assumed I was not local, and most likely had more than a couple of drinks (I’d had none), and that a ticket would ‘slow me down’ for the rest of my stay in the area. All very reasonable assumptions, in that area, especially in the middle of the summer!

It’s one of the reasons I miss that place, those times, those people. The cops all knew the ‘bad’ guys, and the ‘good’ guys. For the most part, if you were a local, and weren’t seriously out of line, they’d let you slide a little as they really had their hands full with rowdy vacationers for the most part.

It also illustrates that if you’re going to drive something that attracts attention you need to have all of your paperwork in order, all of the time. This was not the only time I was pulled over with that truck, it happened quite frequently actually. Most of the time, it was a ‘routine stop’ followed by a “Can I look under the hood?” sort of question. Some folks might have been upset by it, me, I sort of enjoyed that so many folks thought the truck was cool!!

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