Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:
Richard N. Dixon, House of Delegates, Annapolis: I read with interest your article [on getting a speeding ticket.]
You will be interested to know that I introduced a bill in the 1991 Session of the Maryland General Assembly to provide safe driving points for those people who have outstanding driving records accumulated over a number of years.
My bill specifically would have allowed a maximum of five good driving points which could have been used against a speeding ticket.
Of course, the individual charged would still pay the fine, but there would be no negative reflection as far as their insurance would be concerned.
The bill was given an unfavorable report by the House Judiciary Committee. I plan to reintroduce the bill in the 1992 Session, however. This procedure is presently being utilized in the State of Virginia.
Obviously, legislation like this would serve to help a lot of people. It would save insurance premiums, lost time in courtrooms and facing handsome/cruel judges.
COMMENT: Your bill is an excellent one. It would reward good drivers, while still punishing bad ones; it would serve the public, and it would reduce or eliminate the need for many people to hire lawyers to defend them in traffic cases.
In other words, it has no chance of passing the House Judiciary Committee.
... Amos B. Jones, Baltimore: When I was about 15 years old, I worked for my keep on a farm on Long Island. One day the boss told me to go out to a row between two fields and cut down the weeds and brush there. I knew there was plenty of poison ivy all over the place, and I voiced some trepidation about working in such an area. But one of the old-time farm hands told me what to do.
"Chew a poison ivy leaf," he said. "Swallow the juice, but DON'T swallow any of the leaf."
I knew the old-timer wasn't kidding me, so I took his advice. All day I worked in the weeds and ivy, chewing leaves and spitting them out. By the end of the day -- and every day thereafter -- I never had an itch. Even today (and I'm past 86), if I get into any ivy, I will only get a slight itch, and it is gone by the end of the day.
I firmly believe that the juice has also kept me from getting other communicable diseases, for I have never been sick.
Several years ago, Reader's Digest had an article about two doctors who were experimenting with ivy juice as an inoculation against disease.
I wrote to the Digest, giving the above story and said I thought the doctors were on the right track.
They sent me a nice letter back, but you could tell by the tone of it that they thought I was giving them a pile of male Holstein intestinal excrement.
Thank you for listening to my story.
COMMENT: No problem. It's better than most stories I hear in the course of a day. But I must strongly recommend against the chewing of poison ivy leaves.
According to the August issue of the University of California at Berke ley Wellness Letter: "Don't believe anyone who tells you that eating a poison ivy leaf will 'desensitize' you. It may make you very sick."
So I figure the stuff you ate was not poison ivy, but some amazing undiscovered plant that has kept you from getting sick ever since.
If you could go back to Long Island and find that farm and find those plants, you could probably bottle the stuff, call it "Amos B. Jones' Miracle Elixir," and become a zillionaire.
Don't thank me. Just send me a bottle.
Irv Goodman, Pikesville: I believe you have opened up a Pandora's box with your deli story. Here's the way I heard it:
PD Henny Youngman went into a deli with a friend for lunch. Passing
by the carryout counter, he asked for a pound of corned beef to go. He put it in his pocket.
He and his friend were then seated for lunch. Henny ordered a corned beef on rye. It came and when no one was looking, he took out the pound of corned beef from his pocket and added it to the sandwich he had ordered.
He then called over the boss who he knew and showed him this tremendous sandwich.
"How can you make a profit serving such a huge sandwich?" asked Henny.
The boss headed straight for the counter to fire the sandwich maker, when Henny interceded and told him the truth.
They all had a good laugh.
COMMENT: Maybe. But here's the way I heard it:
Henny goes into the deli, he gets the pound of corned beef, he orders the sandwich, he puts it on the sandwich, he complains to the owner, the owner goes to fire the sandwich maker . . . and Henny gets involved telling jokes at his table:
"My wife says: 'Take me someplace I've never been before.'
"And I say: 'Try the kitchen!' "
Henny is so busy telling jokes, he forgets to intercede on behalf of the sandwich maker, the sandwich maker gets fired, can't pay his rent, is thrown out of his apartment and ends up homeless.
A year later, Henny is walking down the street, and the sandwich maker, who is now a ragged panhandler, spots him.
"Henny," he says, "remember me?"
"Sure, I do," says Henny.
"So how about a dollar for a sandwich?" asks the guy.
"Sure," says Henny. "Let's see the sandwich!"
Sorry. Sometimes I just crack myself up.