by Andy Rooney
I think of myself as someone who has about average knowledge of what's going on in the world ... no more than the average person, but no less, either.
So how come there are so many headlines in the newspaper that I either don't believe or don't understand?
Look at these headlines. Does everyone know what the editors are talking about?
IN MEXICO, YOUNG ADULTS APPEAR MOST AT RISK
Really? Is that only in Mexico? You mean that "young adults" don't appear much at risk anywhere else?
Here's a good one:
U.S. STEPS UP ALERT AS MORE SWINE FLU IS FOUND
How do you "step up" an alert? Could you step a swine flu alert down?
I suppose it's dumb of me, but I'm not very worried about getting swine flu. If I'm not here next week, you'll know I was wrong.
Look at this headline:
EVER WONDER HOW DOGS SAY HELLO?
To tell you the truth, no. I haven't ever wondered how dogs say hello. I know how people say "hello." They just wag their tails.
And how about this one:
D.C. MAN FIGHTS CITATION FOR WARNING OTHER DRIVERS
Now, there's an argument I could get into. The story says a man in Maryland was driving to a baseball game when a driver coming in the other direction flashed his lights, indicating that there was a police car on the street ahead. The driver wanted to thank the guy, so he flashed his own lights back, acknowledging that he got the message. The cops saw his flashing lights and the story says they arrested him. He's fighting the arrest.
If you took a count of every driver in this country, I'll bet it would come out very close to even -- half of us would be with the driver and half would be with the cop. (Unfortunately, the fact that I used the word "cop" indicates where I stand. The word "cop" isn't a friendly way to refer to an officer of the law.)
Here's another one:
FLIGHT DELAY INFORMATION LOST IN A FOG
Finally, one of my favorite topics.
When a flight attendant on an airline tells you how long a flight takes, he or she should give you the time from the minute they say you have to be at the airport to catch the plane to the minute the door opens and you can get off the plane and into the terminal -- not from the time the plane takes off to the time it touches down.
The time from boarding to take off can often be over an hour. Also, you have to figure in the time it takes you to get off a plane after it touches down which is apt to be at least 20 minutes. This 80 minutes should be added to the advertised time of any flight. The term "flight time" is a mistake. Unfortunately, I think this idea wouldn't go over well with the airlines.
I often fly from Albany to New York City, a distance of only about 150 miles on the road.
It takes a little less than three hours to drive. When I fly, it can take me up to four hours to get to the airport in Albany and board the plane to the landing in New York.
I should stop flying because it takes me longer to fly than to drive.
The one good thing I can say about flying is how often they give you something to eat.
Also, I can sit on the plane and read the headlines in the newspaper, which I couldn't do while driving my car.
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