Joe’s Journal

This and that on a spring day

Ramblings from an old scribbler
Wed, 03/15/2023 - 7:00am

Did you notice?

The town public works crew has posted the side roads, dozens of chuckholes have appeared, it snowed again, and we had to reset our clocks.

It must be getting on toward spring.

The NFL and Super Bowl are past tense, and the Red Sox are in spring training. Hope springs eternal.

It is mid-March. St. Patrick’s Day is here.

Lots of folks with an ancestral connection to Ireland use that day to celebrate their heritage. Others celebrate the holiday because it just gives them another excuse to celebrate. A generation back, or three or four, being Irish was nothing to celebrate. In the basement is an old flyer advertising for factory workers. At the bottom, it says: "No Irish need apply." We tend to forget that chapter of our history.

Like New Year's Eve, I stay home on both holidays. They are for amateurs.

They are both days when some ordinarily sober folks go out, get a snootful, and then try to drive home on cruise control as they hope not to find a ditch, meet Sheriff Todd Brackett, or worse.

Mid-March is one of my favorite times, as the TV menu features March Madness. I am a basketball fan, like my father before me.

While we watch the frantic pick-and-roll plays, 3-point shots from the rim, and a dunk or three, our TVs are flooded with commercials for magic potions guaranteed, well sort of guaranteed, to cure things we didn’t know existed.

They all say we should ask our doctor to prescribe their product. As if we could ask a doctor anything other than to wonder if this product is covered by insurance.

The commercials always feature some announcer rattling off about miracle potions to cure everything, including toenail fungus, grow back hair, and best of all, make us all feel young and vigorous again.

After the announcer tells us the magical effects of the expensive goop, he quietly says there could be some side effects that might, maybe, possibly, cause a bit of a problem. These might cause other ailments, organ failures, or plant us in a pine box.

If you put your glasses on, you might have time to read the tiny print at the bottom of the ads. They will scare the Dickens out of you.

In truth, dear reader, none of those products will cure the fatal disease afflicting us all. It is called old. You can look it up.

My favorite recent TV ads advertise the services of lawyers trolling former Marines and sailors once stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

My memory tells me the water at that base became contaminated after leaking dry cleaning fluid migrated into the wells, some gasoline tanks leaked, and they even buried some radioactive stuff near a rifle range. These poisons triggered terrible illnesses in some Marines and others.

For years and years, the military brass hats, bureaucrats and congressional staffers worked to delay, divert and direct the blame to others, as some sailors, Marines and civilians got very sick, and so did some of their kids. Do you think that is a proper way to thank vets for their service? Me neither.

Last year, and it is about time, Congress passed, and President Joe Biden signed, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, making it possible for those afflicted to recover financial settlements.

It also opened the floodgates for the lawyers.

Thus, today, we are hammered by ads from this or that legal group explaining how if you drank the contaminated Lejeune water, you might get lots of money. All you had to do is call the TV lawyers. They will take care of you.

But, and you knew there would be a but, to be eligible, you had to contract a terrible dread disease, not just get the sniffles. In that case, these helpful TV lawyers will represent you and (thank you for your service) as they pocket a chunk of any possible settlement.

As I recall, most of the Marines who served with me at Camp Lejeune were more likely to drink beer than the contaminated water. I wonder, can beer cause cancer? Oops.

Time for the good news. Let us give a round of applause and a pat on the back for the groups that sponsored community lunches at Brady's during the winter. And thanks to the top-drawer effort shown by the school administrators, teachers and volunteers who worked to get the buildings in shape for classrooms.

And another pat on the back for both the Boothbay Seahawk boys and girls basketball teams.

FYI, one of America's best players is a Mainer. Mackenzie Holmes is a 6’3” forward from Gorham High School. She is a star for the top-ranked Indiana University women’s team.