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Beware of the Lazy Arm

I hate to be a complainer, but if I weren’t I would only be plainer. I think Abraham Lincoln said that. Actually, he did not say that. I wanted you to think he said it, so I told you he said it.  I apologize for lying to you. Let’s try to move past that.  I said it because I have a complaint.  I said it because I have a small problem with “Lazy Arms”. No this is not something a skateboard punk might get, following a bout with “Lazy eye” from having a stray hair bang flapping in their eye (footnote: dearest reader, you think I kid, but some thought that the punks could get a lazy eye from the hair bang in their eye (in early 80s), when in actuality they just got lazy eye from being attached to the body of a damn lazy skate punk). But let’s stop the making fun of the skate punks at this point. At least the skate punks, with all the moving about, are getting a better cardio work out that we are from moving our rib cages up and down laughing at them. So let’s unite with the skate punks to make fun of somebody else. It’s American. It’s what brings us together. It’s important to have a common foe. I vote that this common foe needs to be the “Lazy Arm.”

Foe may be too strong. I just want to make the Lazy Arms know that there’s a time and place for the Lazy Arm. I want the Lazy Arm to understand their surroundings and know when they’re affecting non Lazy Arms.

The Lazy Arm can be found everywhere. The lazy arm knows no class or region. The Lazy Arm knows no country. My research shows that Lazy Arms tend to be men. The only thing all the Lazy Arms tend to have in common is that they drive vehicles – trucks, cars, semis, boats. All these vehicles have some kind of window or, in the case of the boat, something that the arm can be slung over.  Most Lazy Arms appear to be void of air conditioning. The steering wheel can be clutched with one hand and the other – in the U.S., the left arm – is positioned through the open window and hung limp as if discarded.  Is the limb being punished or rewarded – left alone to think over its limb life in slow wind and solitude?

As a kid I watched my dad and uncle operate any number of vehicles on the farm with the Lazy Arm. I think it was as close to a Zen act or yoga that a farmer can get. My dad normally was a speed demon, but when surveying his acres of crops he took to the roads with the Lazy Arm. Traveling at speeds of 20 mph he traveled down country roads with my uncle, and they talked about fertilizer proportions and perspective yields like a musician might talk about the importance of the drums coming in on the second versus the third measure. There was no right answer, only a solid feeling of how it should be. My uncle held his plastic tipped Cigarillo out the window barely clasped in his Lazy Arm hand, flicking ashes off the side of the unfeeling pickup truck.

These are my earliest memories of the Lazy Arms. As I got into the world, I started to see that Lazy Arms were not only on the back country roads. Lazy Arms started appearing everywhere. Sure, I still will find the occasional Lazy Arm on the small county road, but I also find them in the largest cities. I remember that my dad and uncle would move over to let non Lazy Arms pass. I see many who don’t consider that an option. This Lazy Arm saddens me, but I understand the pride of the Lazy Arm. The world may be turning 10-15 mph too fast for the Lazy Arm, and they take it upon themselves to slow it down. Putting a brake on this fast paced world is no easy task. But if you’re driving a vehicle and you’ve got a window, you can ease your foot off the gas and make your arm a zombie. Then you simply kiss and hug the bottom of your window pane with your armpit. You let your fingers dangle like a gunfighter readying for a simple notch on your gun handle. If you feel the moment, you tap your hand to the beat of some distant music playing on the interior part of your world. The next thing you know, you’ve slowed up your world and a couple other worlds.

So, let me be clear kind and dear reader, that I don’t wish ill will upon the Lazy Arm. I appreciate what they are trying to achieve in this big fast paced world. I think we just need to work with the Lazy Arms to create some kind of signal that they can understand – A signal that will let them know to GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY when someone needs to get by and get someplace. Of course, it will need to be a cordial and respectful signal.

Sadly Yours,

Jason Spafford

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