It seems to me that we occasionally encounter peculiarities — circumstances that are odd, unusual, or strange and kinda leave us scratching our heads baffled and confused. Well, I’ve had a few of these pop up recently and thought I’d share them.
One morning not long ago when I went out to my car I found it had been entered sometime during the night and some stuff taken. My reaction was to call the police and report the incident. This was not an emergency and, heeding the advice about calling 911 only for emergencies, I decided to call the non-emergency number.
Accordingly, I looked in the front of the phone book and found non- emergency numbers for the FBI, State Highway Patrol and sheriffs offices for several counties, but none for our local police. I then looked in the government offices section under the city listing for “police division” and found several numbers, but nothing for non-emergency calls. Next I tried calling some of the listed numbers in hope of getting someone who could steer me straight and kept getting no answer.
Finally, I got someone in “records” to answer the phone who told me the proper number to call. Folks, would you believe that number didn’t match any I found in the phone book? Yep, the non-emergency contact number for the police is unlisted. Wouldn’t you think that’s a “peculiarity?”
OK, switching subjects. We are experiencing big increases in the cost of gasoline - something we suffer every so often. The usual reasons put forth by the Global Oil Distribution System folks (or “GODS people” as they like to call themselves) is that the “unrest” in the Middle East threatens the supply or the “seasonal changeover” causes refineries to slow production or whatever. To justify price increases, the GODS cite the “law of supply and demand” - when something is in short supply its price goes up and when there’s plenty the price goes down.
Well, guess what? “ … according to a new report, U.S. refiners are sending a “tidal wave” of gasoline, diesel and other refined products onto the world market, taking advantage of the surge in domestic oil development that has helped drive Gulf Coast crude stockpiles to record levels” (Source: Forbes) Yep, this country is so “awash” in gasoline that we are exporting it while we are paying more at the pump.
Not only is there no oil shortage in this country, but there is no worldwide shortage either. Did the “law of supply and demand” somehow get repealed or is this just another “peculiarity.” Hmm.
Let’s look at one more. Most everybody is aware of the current investigations into the shenanigans at the IRS (that Infernal Revenue Service) involving targeting conservative groups. The big story is how the computer used by the key person of interest mysteriously suffered such a hard drive crash that the e- mails sought by the investigators were lost. Not only that, but according to testimony before a congressional committee, the hard drive itself was physically destroyed and the backup “tape” was erased too. But wait! there’s more!
The investigators also requested e-mails from the computers of six colleagues of the primary person of interest. Would you believe all six computers also suffered hard drive crashes at about the same time and so whatever was on them was lost? A peculiarity? Well, kind of.
There is another definition of “peculiarity” — “a trait, manner, or habit that is odd or unusual; a distinguishing quality or characteristic that belongs distinctively to a particular person, place, or thing.” It sure looks like the IRS has such a distinguishing characteristic - that of having computers suspected of having information important to investigators suddenly and simultaneously crash destroying whatever was on them. One result of this peculiarity is that it has permitted the head honcho of the IRS to state repeatedly under oath that there is “no evidence” of wrongdoing and he’s probably right - now that the hard drives are junk.
Well, there you have it - a quick summary of just a few of the peculiarities we encounter every day. One thing for sure; they make life interesting even if they leave us scratching our heads in disbelief. At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident, may be contacted at email@example.com.