Tuesday, November 29, 2016

So Long Sport

Have you noticed that low to the ground cars are hard to exit? Almost like you need a crane to extract yourself from the seat. It’s probably worse if you have two vehicles; one with a high clearance and one with a low to the ground stance. That sporty vehicle may be spending more time in the garage.

If you have shared this experience, it won’t come as a surprise to you that sports car sales have taken a deep dive. Mustang and Corvette sales are dismal and it’s all our fault. As more and more boomers get close to 70 years of age, the lure of these “life-stage” vehicles starts to fade. We’re “aging out” according to automotive magazine writers, and it could all be down to our aching backs.

Among U.S. drivers, the over 65 year old segment is the fastest growing demo. Almost 1 in 5! So when we can’t accordion fold ourselves into a sports car, the whole industry feels the pain. GenXers and millennials are not going to pick up the slack with starting prices for sports models starting north of $30,000.

There are some techniques for extricating yourself from a sports car. One popular trick is to swing both legs out and then use both sides of the door frame to launch yourself. Of course you will look like an idiot when you do this in the grocery store parking lot, but you already know you’re fast approaching geezer status. The upside of being a geezer is that you could care less how silly you look getting out of your trophy sports car. Just make sure you can reach your cellphone in case the back locks up.

It could be worse. Carmakers could start producing cars that have doors similar to those walk-in bathtubs. What the hell….maybe they will start motorizing the walk-in bathtub and you can bathe and get to the grocery store at the same time.

It would be funny if it wasn’t a scary possibility.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Monday, November 14, 2016

How Fish Get Caught

If you’ve ever wondered how fish get caught, this is your lucky day. As a fish that’s been caught several times in a brief life, I can tell you exactly how and why it happens.

First of all, fish are not stupid. We know that there is some sort of lifeform above the surface of the water and that they would like nothing better than to yank us out of the water and into some sort of basket thingy. Sorry for the imprecision on the terminology, but we are not expert at all when it comes to things above the surface. Sort of like a fish out of water, you might say.

If we are not stupid, you may ask yourself, why then do fish take the bait? The answer can be very complex, depending upon the type of fish and the body of water, but I will review here the most popular reasons.

Topping the list, without a doubt, is boredom. You swim around all day long, snacking on zooplankton, worms or insects you spot on the surface and you begin to long for a break in the monotony. Next thing you know, a furry looking insect thing plunks into the water and you swim up to see what this new thing is. Most fish will try the taste test and chomp down on it. And then BAM! Some lifeform pulls the line and you’re hooked. Believe me, when it happens you want to smack your forehead with your tailfin just to remind yourself what an idiot you are.

Bad eyesight is probably the second most prevalent reason for getting hooked. You just have to look at the setup to appreciate that we have an eye on each side of our head, so we are really able to see with one eye if an insect plops into the water on the left side. If it’s straight in front of us, we might not be able to see it at all. When things are splashing into the water or landing on the surface, we really don’t have much idea what we are dealing with until we get right up on it for the taste test, and by then the horse is out of the barn.

You may not believe this, but most fish are arrogant, and that can frequently lead them to think they can outrun or outfight the lifeform. I admit to having a bit of conceit about my ability to beat the system. One of the times I was hooked, I simply took the line as far as I could and it broke, which also pulled the hook free from my mouth. It hurt like hell but it sure must have ticked off the lifeform.

I’m ashamed to say that a good fish is hard to find, so when the lifeform throws a fish smaller than me into the water, I have to go for it. You’ve seen the chart where the little fish gets eaten by the bigger fish, and the bigger fish gets eaten by an even bigger fish? And at opposite end of the chart is a shark that eats all the other fish. Trust me, it’s all true. Fish are good eating.

Think about this logic the next time you get out on the lake or an ocean, because the lifeform that knows how fish get caught is the lifeform who comes home with the biggest catch.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.