The old DeSoto has been struggling lately and a recent ride through the metropolis of Ocean City to the shoe store in Delaware was no exception. As most old-timers know, the DeSoto is manual and the old guy’s left leg started acting up as soon as he saw the first construction sign, signifying trouble, and a long stretch of it, was ahead. What Insider found on the Route 50 Bridge was a road surface reminiscent of the old days when potholes were so abundant two hands had to be kept on the wheel at all times. Insider was frightened driving across the bridge with cars too close for comfort whizzing by at crazy speeds and hard-hatted men, laughing and smoking, operating heavy equipment and jackhammers as far as the eyes could see. The old guy realizes work like this has to be done, and it’s better now (spring) than later (summer), but Insider has an idea for the guys and gals down at Silly Hall. What Ocean City needs is a moratorium on road projects. It needs to be for at least two years. How are people supposed to do business in and around that town? Let alone enjoy a reasonably peaceful and enjoyable quality of life. The folks at Silly Hall need to put their foot down. The state road guys may own the roads, but the town forefathers have a say in how things are run in their town. Insider knows neither Daniel Trimper nor Hugh T. Cropper would allow their towns to become permanent construction zones each year. A moratorium has been needed for years, but the old guy knows it will never happen because it makes too much sense.
The old guy likes pencils. He’s always been a No. 2 pencil guy. He doesn’t use those push-button machines that spit the lead out and break off at the wrong times. He likes the tall, yellow pencils. The few ballpoint pens that find their way into the old guy’s possession are quickly discarded, trash or otherwise. Right now, 17 freshly sharpened pencils sprout proudly from his old orange juice can in the middle of his custom-made rolltop desk. Once a week, the pencils are gathered together and sharpened to a fine point. The smell of newly sharpened pencils is a fragrance Insider puts in a class with freshly ground coffee or baking bread. The problem with the world is you can’t do anything in pencil anymore. You can’t sign a check. You can’t make a bank deposit. You can’t mail a card. You can’t fill out an application for something you don’t need in the first place. The world wants to outlaw the pencil, but the Insider will not allow it. The only comfort for the old guy is that somewhere in the world there’s a math teacher encouraging the use of the pencil. For it allows the student to check his work and make corrections as needed.