Source: Sherman Publications

Don't Rush Me
Skunks, spiders and reader comments . . .
. . . and bicyclists, oh boy, bicyclists!

by Don Rush

June 29, 2011

These wandering, meandering bits of stream-of-consciousness that I oft refer to as “my” column and some of you call “Don’s Drivel,” is read by at least five people on a weekly basis. (My mom and three sisters say they “like” it -- so I have that going for me.)

I know there must be other “closet” Don’t Rush Me’ers out there cuz every time I print what I think, someone tries to rub my nose in it later, or tries to match wits with me.

It could be worse, Mom could admit she doesn’t like, nor even read my column. A few weeks ago, I announced to the world I had a new mate -- office mate, that is. A pretty, black haired, green-eyed lady with eight legs. If you didn’t read it (or want to admit to friends and family that you read it), she’s a no-named jumping Zebra spider.

Here’s what some of you wrote.

Hi Don,

I too had an unexpected guest in my bedroom last week; one “phidippus audax,” a cousin, apparently, of your spider. I have attached her photo. I live only a couple blocks from The Clarkston News office (been here for 10 years) and I have seen lots of spiders, but none quite as fascinating as Phyllis. (That was her name).

However, I wasn’t as hospitable as you, and she had an unfortunate accident in our toilet, but not before I kept her in a tupperwear container for several hours, showed her off to my 13-year-old boys, took a couple pictures, and plastered her photo all over Facebook.

Once I found out she was harmless, I felt a little bad about her “accident.” Diane Biggs

Diane also suggested some names for my spider: Harry, Zena (the Zebra Warrior) and Kitty. I will post the picture of the late Phyllis on our website. Rob Schroeder, out Goodrich way, suggested “Boris The Spider,” in honor of a song by rock-n-rollers, The Who. Sandy in Oxford said I should name her Fluffy.

* * *

Still further back in time, I questioned why there were no skunks this spring. I hadn’t seen or smelt any splattered on the roadside, which prompted Leonard resident Dan Stanko to suggest there was a skunk “rapture” event and all skunks went to stinky heaven. . . . well, that has changed. I got this note last week:

“Hey Don! Great news! Has there been a skunk rapture return? I just smelled my first one! Or, maybe, this neck of the woods was part of some neo-Passover? In any event, spring is officially here. Cheers, Ewa”

Since the note, I too, have smelled and seen three dead skunks along Oakwood Road in Ortonville and Brandon Township. So much for the end of the skunk world.

* * *

Most recently I opined on the spandex revolution and received these e-mails.

Don, I read your column in The Lake Orion Review. I’m not an avid cyclist, but try to get out occasionally. Your perspective seems very much biased toward cyclists in general being people that have no awareness or concern for others on the road. Based on my experience as both a driver and a cyclist, I would say it’s just the opposite. The vast majority of cyclists are very much aware of their vulnerable position and are in no way looking to be “roadblocks.”

Drivers, on the other hand, generally seem to see cyclists not as fellow road users, but as annoyances that probably deserve to be taught a lesson by demonstrating just how vulnerable they are.

The majority of cars that have passed me (when I’m riding absolutely as far to the edge of the road as I can) made little or no attempt to grant me any safety margin. I can recall many times noticing car or truck mirrors pass within a foot or two of my shoulder or head.

I use safety paths when I can, but there are many stretches of road where that’s simply not possible, and where there is little or no shoulder.

I would say that your perspective is pretty common among drivers and one of the reasons Michigan isn’t a very “cycle-friendly” environment. I think if a bit more effort was made to respect cyclists it might encourage people to use less fuel and stay in a bit better shape at the same time. Your column doesn’t give me much hope of that coming to pass though. Ted Roberts, Lake Orion

* * *

Don, you have it right.

We have spent hundreds/thousands of hard earned tax dollars to build these paths for the walking and peddle pushers to use, but oh no, they will ride however, whenever and wherever they please, even where paths are present and most of the time not being used.

They don’t have a license plate bolted to their spandex or bicycle. “I want to be a spandex racer, so I will peddle in all the danger,” they say . . . and in the of wink of an eye we find that spandex-clad jerk half way into the car lane . . . Spandex should get his or her ticket punched. Sorry for the long rant on the spandex dummies. Roy

* * *

And, this letter writer remembered that I had run the same column about a year ago. She called me out on that and then added the following. So, Veronica. What do you really think?

The ending line of Don Rush’s June, 22, 2011 column was, “So, what was the point of this column?” What a pity that Don should feel compelled to print, once again, his disjointed ramblings.

His thinly veiled analogy of frogs getting killed on the safety path to cyclists on the road is a leap (no pun intended) of logic. Frogs are not governed by the law and do not have a sense or reasoning or logic. Humans, well, the majority (Don, the verdict is out on you), are governed by law and do have a sense of right and wrong. Cyclists are not throwing themselves on the path and purposefully jumping in harms way. They know the law. They are exercising (pun intended) their right to use the road.

Your columns, written under the cloak of the “right to free speech,” only serve to undermine the legally protected rights of citizens to cycle on the roads. Shame on you! What other legally protected rights would you like to take on? The right to vote? The right to freedom?

Oh, and if you haven’t noticed, the number of spandex-clad, road-hogging, talking-while-cycling (cause they are fit, and can do so) cyclists has steadily increased. Perhaps if you peddled a bike and actually had a little blood flowing to your cranial region (not going to surmise that their is any mass occupying that space), you could finally answer your own question from years gone by . . . “So, what was the point of this column?”

Veronica J.

And the beat goes on! What do you think folks? E-mail,