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Cones, Bags and Barricades

I went to the Saturday market down near Canal Street a couple days ago and it was impossible to miss the strange obstruction they had erected right dead center in the area where people were walking. There were four bright-orange traffic cones, one white and orange traffic barricade, and a couple of twenty pound sand bags. And those were just the obstacles captured in my pictures.. There were hundreds of people milling about and weaving through the mini obstacle course that someone had erected to warn people that there was a tiny potential hazard that might have been missed if they hadn’t put half of Home Depot in their path.

Three things popped into my head as I stopped and pondered the wall of debris that had been built in the center of the market. First, I thought the obstacles they had put in the path of all the customers far outweighed the hazard that they were put in place to protect us from. It was like they put a freight-train on the side of the road so you wouldn’t run into the parked car. Perhaps they should have put a sign up so nobody would trip over the cones and then put a rope around the sign so nobody would run into the sign and then put a road guard in front of the rope so people wouldn’t walk into the rope. And then… well, I guess this scenario could continue, but I also guess the point has been made. Second, I was confident that only a really smart person could have been in charge of the wall construction. Someone much smarter than me was absolutely certain that the Great Wall of China was the appropriate safety barrier that was required. And third, it struck me as odd that I seemed to be the only one who thought that four cones, a traffic barricade and sand bags were a bit much to cover a yellow extension cord that presented almost no hazard whatsoever.

This leads me to a question. Have Americans always accepted the absurd without question or is this a relatively new phenomenon? I’ve traveled around the world a bit and I can say with confidence that there really aren’t many other places that would put up four cones, a barricade and sand bags to protect people from an extension cord laying on the ground. Then again, I’ve seen stickers that said things like, “Do not put hand in blender while in operation.” So, maybe they should have put neon signs out that said “Danger. A Bunch Of Shit On Top Of Extension Cord.” Although someone probably would probably sue when they look up at the sign and trip over… something.

Perhaps the market organizers should heed a quote from Mr. Shakespeare. “Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?” It turns out, yes. You can desire too much of a good thing. Putting seven objects in the middle of a walkway to keep people from tripping over the one that was already there is probably too much. Since I’ve gone down the road of quoting famous people, I think I’ll use one of Ron White’s lines. “You can’t fix stupid. There’s not a pill you can take, or a class you can go to.”

Next week I presume they’ll put up a fence so nobody can get into the market. You know. So they won’t trip over an extension cord. Maybe they’ll cancel the market altogether due to the great extension cord hazard of 2024. Gawd… I hope nobody dies.

A story like this is why I struggle with the theory of evolution. It does not seem like we’re evolving all that much. But I’m probably the only one who thinks this way. From what I saw at the market, everyone else acted like four orange cones, an orange and white traffic barrier and two twenty pound sand bags were the logical choice for protecting the general public from the horrors of the evil extension cord. Perhaps one day I’ll be as smart as everyone else.

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