Got some interesting reader reaction to a column about an Akron snowplow driver who was plowing a North Hill street that didn’t contain a single snowflake.
Most readers said they were glad this waste of taxpayer money was publicized. But, as usual, a couple of readers attacked the messenger.
A man who identified himself as a fellow snowplow driver said the absurd scene wasn’t really the driver’s fault. The problem, he insisted, was that the driver “didn’t get enough training.”
Seriously. A person actually said that.
Exactly how much training do you need to realize you shouldn’t plow a bone-dry street?
Another reader called to complain about my reference to the driver as “a clown.”
I responded, “He is a clown! Who would plow a dry street?”
“Well, yeah,” the caller replied, “he is an idiot, but you shouldn’t have called him ‘a clown’ in print.”
You’re right. I inadvertently insulted professional clowns.
I hereby issue a heartfelt apology to clowns everywhere, from the ones employed by Ringling Bros. to the ones who freelance at kids’ birthday parties.
An “idiot” he shall forevermore be.
As expected, several readers called to say their own street isn’t being plowed even when it’s snow-covered. What I didn’t expect was calls from half a dozen readers who reported seeing exactly the same thing in their own neighborhoods: big, orange trucks, plows down, scraping their away along snowless streets.
Those reports came from Kenmore, Ellet, northwest Akron and the Merriman Woods development.
Do we have an epidemic of idiocy on our hands?
Akron Service Director John Moore, who last week said he has no idea why a driver would plow a dry street, says he hasn’t received any other reports.
When I asked whether it was time to send out a memo to his drivers, reiterating the obvious, he responded, “No. Your memo was enough.”
Let’s hope so, given the fact that those $250 steel blades only last for one 12-hour plowing shift.
(Still no word on what disciplinary action, if any, will be taken against the North Hill driver.)
And then there’s the flip side: A reader who lives on Pocantico Avenue in Ellet said, “We had a lot of snow on our street last week, and our snowplow man went up and down the street twice — with his blade up! We had to call downtown to get somebody back to actually scrape.”
The jokesters also surfaced, including Bill Ellis, who wrote, “Do you think I could get a part-time job with the city not plowing snow? It would be cheaper for them because they wouldn’t need to pay for machinery repairs.”
By the way, as of early Monday afternoon, the YouTube video of the incident (search “jfank43”) had received a whopping 5,216 views.
When we encounter this kind of buffoonery, it’s easy to forget that many city workers are not only competent but eager to go the extra mile.
On Friday, an Akron policeman lauded sanitation driver Dan Dempsey, who, on that icy morning, “stopped, blocked traffic and then spread salt — by hand — to help get a lady and her van up Indian Trail at Ninth Street Southwest [near Summit Lake].
“Huge help, and he wasn’t even dispatched. He just happened to be passing by.”
Check out this police report from Copley:
“On Feb. 17, officers responded to an alarm going off at Arrowhead Elementary School. They found a broken window near the front door.
“After investigating and finding footprints in the snow, it was determined the perpetrator was a male sheep, who rammed the window with its horns.”
The sheep was given a five-day, in-school detention and also will be held baaaaaack a year.
Ravenna resident Melanie Brackenrich deserves her own column. Well, at least part of this column.
She shot me this email:
“Why have you not written an amusing column on the fact that the Amish who gave really bad, forcible haircuts to other Amish people were named Mullet? That’s the name of a really bad haircut. Doh!
“Spooky isn’t it?
“And, there are huge ads everywhere for Hair, the musical. What’s up with that? Coincidence?
“This is huge. If you break this, you could be the next Jim Garrison.”
When I asked whether I could use her name in print, she replied, “I already have a bad haircut, so what can they do to me?”
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.