Chris Rodell [00:00:00]:
Your insurance company is wrong. Weather events are not acts of God. Today, we learn what former FEMA director James LeWitt says about how the United States government would respond to true acts of God, Exodus style. Hi. I'm Chris Rodell. I've written stories and features for just about every major magazine or publication in America. This is the use all the crayons podcast, where I'll share those colorful stories with you. So what was I writing about on this day in 2022? Water beds.
Chris Rodell [00:00:32]:
Val and I did something in the bedroom leave even after 30 years of sleeping together had never dreamed we'd try. It was, for us at least, deviant, a little kinky. It was, and there's no other way to avoid this good and hard. I'd better explain before any of you daintier types become a faint at the body turn this podcast seems to have taken. We purchased the new mattress. In more than 30 years of togetherness, we purchased our 1st non waterbed mattress. See, Val and I were both waterbed enthusiasts long before we met. This puts us at odds with 97% of Americans who sleep, accounting for 22% of all mattress sales.
Chris Rodell [00:01:09]:
In the free love seventies, they were hippie staples. I bought my 1st water bed in 1985. I was shopping to fill my very first apartment. This was in Nashville with cheap furniture. I remember the salesman looked like either Starsky or Hutch. I can no longer recall which is which, but I still remember his sales pitch. He said, there are 2 things that are better in a waterbed, and one of them is sleep. Sold.
Chris Rodell [00:01:34]:
Give me a break. I was young and new to the city and open minded about any suggestion that might increase the chances of me getting laid. Who could have predicted back then my stumbling virtue would remain intact clear up to the magical night in 1996 when my wife said I do, and she did. Still does. Am I going to miss the waterbed? At its best, climbing into it on a cold winter night was like returning to the womb. That is if the womb in which you were conceived was about the same capacity as a 4 ton female back in Durham. I think I'm going to miss saying I owned a waterbed more than actually owning 1, and I'm a little sad to say goodbye to another one of those things that made the hippie era so sweet. Makes me feel like a relic.
Chris Rodell [00:02:13]:
To think I once had a lava light, bell-bottom jeans, beaded doorways and shoulder-holstered wineskins filled to bursting with a wine known as 2 Buck Chuck. When I think about it, I'm pretty lucky Val stuck put me, and I'm grateful the things we share are deeper than an old waterbed mattress. I got you, babe.
I'm Carol Caustic from La Trobe with living tip number 58. Sagely informed friends, the easiest way to differentiate Carpenter bees from regular bees is that carpenter bees are the ones wearing the really tiny tool belts.
Chris Rodell [00:02:54]:
I've always been a real stickler for precision in language, especially when it comes to scripture. Don't go putting words into the good Lord's mouth. So I always got a little honked off anytime the almighty insurance industry lays to the blame of some catastrophe at the feet of the Lord. No human was to blame. The misery had been an act of God. By the way, did you notice how we, in 2 paragraphs, ascribe basic human anatomical components to the creator? These utilitarian features can be troublesome for mortals. I wonder, if God has feet in a mouth, does he need a dentist and a podiatrist? I don't know about the dentistry, but I'll bet his podiatrist is good old Doctor Scholl.
Chris Rodell [00:03:32]:
Permit me a little diversion here, but I must share what little I know about Doctor Scholl. First of all, he has both a first and a middle name. They are William and Mathias. He was born in 1904, one of 13 children. He was an actual doctor and always kept in his pocket an exact 26 bone replica of a human foot skeleton. The company he built sold to Merck in 2014 for $545,000,000. He attributed his success to the motto, early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise. Never married and described as quirky, I'm fascinated by men and women who live lives of single-minded interests.
Chris Rodell [00:04:09]:
You could say Shaul was a driven man, but I'm sure he'd prefer a non-mechanical mode of transportation.
We love Latrobe because there are so many fun things to do. And here's a little, tip that I have. Ask the local butcher if rump roast comes from a bum steer.
Chris Rodell [00:04:32]:
Anyhoo, we were discussing so-called acts of God. Understand hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, etcetera, are not acts of God. They are weather. Want real acts of God? Check out the book of Exodus in the Holy Bible. Pagan Egyptians were smote with plagues of gnats, frogs, locusts, and 3 days of thick perpetual darkness for their craving sinfulness. I needed to see how the federal government would respond to true acts of God, so I called FEMA. This was back in 2004. They wouldn't return my calls, the heathens.
Chris Rodell [00:05:05]:
But if FEMA wouldn't play ball, who, pray tell, would? Enter a man named Witt, former FEMA director James Lee Witt. To this day, I can recall a better pairing of subject and source. Witt, who is having visited 356 major disaster sites, played along. He said the agency is ready for anything. I asked what FEMA would do if there were a swarm of frogs as we're told in Exodus 8 chapter 2. The first thing I'd do would be to call the animal rights groups to find out if any of frogs run endangered species, he said. You wouldn't wanna get dragged into a lawsuit. Then I'd get the US Fish and Wildlife to have a huge frog roundup.
Chris Rodell [00:05:43]:
An Arkansas native, Witt said such a plague would make for a dandy barbecue. Insect plagues would require calls to the Center for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency determine potential infections in which pesticides could be safely sprayed in populated areas. FEMA would be ready to provide loans under the Farmers Disaster Relief Program, he said. All the water turning into blood is a toughie. FEMA is prepared to deploy water buffalos, purifiers, and reverse osmosis machines so your morning grooming wouldn't be a real bloodbath. Assuming fish can't breathe in blood, a large loss of aquatic life would need to be incinerated to keep contamination at bay. Yuck. If the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers were stumped, Witt said he would beseech a higher power.
Chris Rodell [00:06:27]:
And, no, he didn't mean Dick Cheney. Fire and brimstone sounds like an apocalyptic meteor strike. Pointy-headed astrologers would, we hope, give us plenty of warning the giant rocks were about to spike in the ultimate touchdown. Assuming outer space missions aimed at destroying the meteor failed, FEMA would work with Department of Defense to evacuate target zones and ensure looters and vandals weren't around to cause any sticky-fingered mischief. He said then an army of professional and volunteer firefighters would be sent to a safe perimeter ready to dash in and extinguish the fires. It would all be very reassuring if Witt hadn't confessed FEMA had no contingency plans for responding to any 500-foot lizards crashing through Manhattan, although he gets points for a creative dodge. He said, that wouldn't be an act of God. That would be an act of Godzilla, and he'd call the Department of Defense.
Chris Rodell [00:07:17]:
Yes. I'd found the perfect man for the perfect story. He couldn't have been named anything but Witt. Colorful living tip number 452. Tell friends that careful mimes can be safe, but never sound. Be prepared to be accused of thinking inside the box. Offbeat ways to improve the NFL. One of the oddities of my life is how I can spend so much time trying to make more money for the already filthy rich.
Chris Rodell [00:07:44]:
That's the case with the greedmeisters who run and own professional football. But here are 5 suggestions to make the NFL even more popular. Number 1. Players get just 1 piece of protective equipment. It infuriates me when European rugby and soccer fans justifiably criticize our NFL behemoths for being overprotected. Why, they ask, should such big tough men need so much body armor, well, they're right. Right on the money. Why indeed? In my NFL, players will only be allowed to wear just 1 piece of equipment.
Chris Rodell [00:08:17]:
If they want a helmet, fine. Shoulder pads, have at it. But you only get 1 or the other. Injuries are ruining the game. Reducing equipment will make all but the true Lunatic players more careful. Number 2, reduce the 53-man rosters to 11. Specialization is ruining the game. Why the heck does a team of alleged athletes need 2 men to kick the same ball? Two-way players used to be the norm and should today be the rule.
Chris Rodell [00:08:43]:
Who among us wouldn't like to see Tom Brady line up in his defensive back position or Ben Roethlisberger at linebacker or have Nada come sue in the red zone backfield. Injured players would be place by coaches, trainers, or fit looking beer vendors eager for a big time break. Plus, the reduction of players would lead to the reduction of salaries and an overnight reduction of ticket prices. Empty seats would be a thing of the past. Number 3. 2 officials and the player honor system. Over officiating is killing the game. 7 on field officials is the problem.
Chris Rodell [00:09:15]:
There should be just 2. 1 for the offensive side and 1 for the defense. That's plenty to detect glaring infractions. Once that is accomplished, players would need to be taught to self police and adhere to the rules by the honor system, just like professional golfers. Number 4, running clocks 20 time outs. The great secret of the NFL is it's really, really boring. That's because of its arrogance. The NFL believes it can control time.
Chris Rodell [00:09:41]:
So every 60 minute game takes about 3 hours and 20 minutes. And of that, only 14 minutes involve the actual playing of football. The rest is a bunch of men standing around scratching themselves. So watching the average game at home on your big screen is okay if you happen to be one of those people who happens to really enjoy hours and hours of beer truck and erectile dysfunction ads. But with all the TV timeouts and injury plays, the game is becoming impossibly tedious to view in person, especially if you're exposed to bitter elements. Games should never last more than 2 hours. To accomplish this, the clock needs to run throughout play. This would bestow a frantic and compelling sense of urgency to every single second.
Chris Rodell [00:10:20]:
Overrated coaches would become less necessary as players would have to rely on their own wits. Number 5, halftime team talent shows. Each team would have to perform a 5 minute skit, musical number, or vaudeville, knife juggling, plate spinning, poodle training, etcetera. Depending on each team's performance, judges would either add or deduct up to 3 points from each team's total score. This is another way of getting to know the players better, having them be better role models. And lastly, armless linemen. Promoting this has been a pet project of mine for years. See holding as the one penalty it said referees could call on every single play.
Chris Rodell [00:10:58]:
Armah Simon would make endemic holding a thing of the past. So there you have it, 6 thoughtful solutions to chronic NFL problems. I ask that you share them with friends, craft your own, join me in my mission to help save the game that is dying before our eyes. It's a mission I intend to get back to as soon as they figure out a way an armless lineman could be able to bend over and snap a football. Thanks for listening. Follow me on Instagram. Please share this with an aggression that's unbecoming. You can buy Crayon signed copies of Use All the Crayons and five of the other ten books I acknowledge [email protected]