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As Long as We Remember...

January 21, 2007

Isn't it tax season, already?

Tom McLaughlin

I won another raffle. As regular readers will recall, last winter my ticket was drawn for a chain saw, the perfect tool for a guy living in an ocean front townhouse. There isn't a tree in sight except for the meager struggling pines forced to the ground by the ocean "breezes."

This time it was an ATV. For those of you who don't know what an ATV is, and I was one of them, it's a go-kart on steroids. This thing was huge. A jungle colored beast that could travel at 60 mph on three-foot high tires. To most people that sounds like pure fun! So did I.

A few problems, though, soon surfaced. The machine was in Salisbury and I had to get it to Ocean City. Driving it the 30 miles down Route 50 was not an option. My friend Harry went to see it and told me it would not fit into a normal pick up truck unless we could revitalize it.

Then, after contacting the Ocean City Police Department, I found I could not ride it anywhere in the town. My visions of tooling along the beach searching for mid winter female sunbathers to satisfy my prurient interests vanished.

I approached several "outdoor" types. These are individuals with the tie up boots, Fu Manchu chin decoration, hair that looks like it was cut with an axe, flannel shirt, and camouflage vest. They always look like they are ready to step in the woods and chop a cord of wood, hunt a mammoth, or casually throw a fishing line in the ocean, haul in Moby Dick, without giving it a second thought.

This is in direct contrast to me, who wears a 2X t-shirt with the name of a band or computer game I have never heard of hanging down below the waist to hide my 42 inch waist. An open flannel shirt drapes to my knees because I can no longer button it, and a reversed ball cap, bill in back. This is my attempt to look 30-years younger to impress the 20-something's, who in my dreams will fall madly in love with me. My girlfriend calls me a slob.

Trying to explain to 90-year-old Dad how I won an ATV went something like this:

I won an ATV

[What's an ATV?]

Those four-wheel things you see the lifeguards riding down the beach

[How did you win it?]

I bought a raffle ticket

[What in hell are you going to do with it?]

I don't know.

[Why would you buy a raffle ticket for something you can't use?]

No answer

Nobody seemed to want to purchase the machine; so I decided to donate it to the local college. I contacted the Salisbury Normal School, no the Salisbury State College, no Salisbury State University and finally Salisbury University (they have changed their names that many times over the past few years) and the Director of Giving, a.k.a. Dean of Tax Deductions elected to accept it as a gift.

I graduated from the school with a major in biology in 1973. They elected to sell it and give the proceeds to the biology department in my name. I asked if they'd purchase a hamster and name it after me.

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