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Tuesday, January 4, 2000

Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Y2K - a

man's invention

Well, Y2K struck out at the plate when the clocks rolled over and nothing happened.

Eastern Europe didn't explode. The lights stayed on in China. Food riots didn't erupt in New York.

The lack of disruption made for a boring New Year's Eve.

Personally, I think everything worked out perfect.

Y2K was probably a scam, and if it was, my hat is off to the inventor. All I know about the guy is that he is a man.

Why, must he be a man, you ask?

Simple _ only a guy would come up with such a self-serving scam for himself and all of his brothers in masculinity.

Y2K was a man's dream scenario in a modern world practically empty of anything remotely like adventure.

Who else would come up with a scenario where for more than a year, a man could buy anything in a hardware store, gun store, or surplus store and explain it to she-who-must-be-obeyed as Y2K preparation?

Millions of conversations like the following have probably taken place over the last 12 months:

"Jimmy! What are these charges on the MasterCard? $2,321 at Joe's Gun World? $856 at Big Ed's Four Wheel Drive Heaven? $300 for MRE's? What is an MRE? A chain saw? We live in an apartment!"

"Now sweetheart," he-who-usually-obeys, answers. "I'm just playing it safe. Just like you always say we should do. Remember when you had me take out all that life insurance? Just in case? Well, this is just like that. Just a little insurance in case all these Y2K things really happen. No cost is too great when it comes to you and the kids' safety My Love," he says with all honesty.

"By the way. I've got to go down to the surplus store and pick up the new tent and matching camouflage for the truck. Oh, and I almost forgot. I had to move all your mother's antiques out of the hall closet to make room for the machine gun ammunition. See ya in a little while."

What a great scam.

I got Christmas cards this year from dozens of new found friends at hardware stores, gun stores and mail-order four-wheel drive shops. Me and Mr. MasterCard made a lot of friends.

And now I get to keep all the great stuff.

This was better than joining the Boy Scouts when I was 10. All I really wanted was an excuse to get a backpack, self-contained frying pan/plate, and a really cool knife.

Now if we can just keep the ball rolling _ we can turn this into a man's world again _ a world where wealth is measured by the size of the knobs on your truck tires, the bullets in the closet, and the length of the bar on your chainsaw.

My thought is that since 1/1/00 isn't really the end of the millennium, then we'll have to wait until 1/1/01 to really be sure.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Come on guys, this is too good an opportunity to waste.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the Editor and Publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:

Our View

Off-road ban just one more battle between elitist and regular folks

There is a petition in the works to ban off-road driving in National Parks. According to the Associated Press, more than 70 environmental groups have signed the petition.

In last week's associated press story a spokesman for one of the groups claims that off-road vehicles are, "killing wildlife, disturbing the peace and quiet, polluting the air and water, and endangering visitor safety."

Now our national park lands are one of our greatest treasures and certainly deserve protection.

But some common sense has to come into play.

A complete ban of off-road travel will completely isolate most of the public from a large portion of these very lands.

In many cases, you just can't get there from here _ not without putting a truck in four-wheel-drive and slogging down a forgotten logging road.

On the other hand, turning a national park into a baja race course is stupid as well.

Surely there is a common sense solution that does not require a totalitarian decree banning all four-wheel-drives and still protects the park from becoming a monster truck playground.

Our national seashore on North Padre Island is a good example of how common sense can maximize use and access to a national park.

There are miles and miles of the national seashore that are only accessible via four-wheel-drive.

Campers, fishermen and sightseers have taken advantage of this 60-mile stretch of beach for decades without doing damage to it.

And while you can wade through the sand in a four-wheel-drive, driving in the dunes and other sensitive areas is prohibited. The park rangers readily and effectively enforce this restriction.

The result is that people still have access to the fairly wild wonders of the island, and it does not get torn up in the process.

Such "access" driving does not destroy the park, kill wildlife, disturb the peace, or endanger other visitors.

And it also allows people to do something more at a multi-million acre national park than pull off at a scenic view, pull out a granola bar, and wonder at the beauty off in the distance.

The off-road ban is a bad idea, and one more battle in the war between the tree-hugging elitist and regular people _ a war fought over whether national parks and other federal lands ought to be utilized and enjoyed, or simply roped off from the public with big signs that say, "keep off the grass."

Your View

Reader disturbed by letter to editor

Dear Editor:
I just got through reading a very disturbing letter to the editor from Mr. Rick Bracey, AST. I grew up in Pecos and graduated from PHS in 1968. I am along with Mr. Bracey.

I only wish there were many more people in this world like Bailey. Mr. Wheeless was, next to my father, my mentor. He taught me things about life that at the time I wondered why should I be listening to him or my dad.

During the 60's many issues were confronting young people. Many ideas out of the normal were in front of us all the time, just as the same problems we see today, not to mention the draft and Vietnam. It's not much different today when you get right down to it. His guidance has certainly helped me raise my children in a way to be proud of them.

Bailey was one of the very few teachers at that time that had any time for young people. He took the time to get to know his students, their families and who you ran around with. He was concerned if you were running with the wrong crowd. He took a genuine interest in his ag classes, he strived to have a good program. In my book, he did. He honored you with compliments or a job well done. And I would dare say that most of his ag students went on later in life to make something of themselves. Bailey was dedicated to the school district. I missed a show in El Paso because my grades weren't passing. He didn't pull strings. You always knew where you stood with this man because he followed the rules.

So, though I have not spoken with Mr. Wheeless in many years, I can say without a doubt that Bailey knows who I am. I know Bailey. And I know if I called him and needed a hand, he would find a way to help. And if Mr. Bailey Wheeless needed to borrow a trailer, it was for good reason. Bailey, if you ever need a trailer, let me know. I have one you can use for as long as you need. I know it will come back to me in better shape than when you pick it up. God knows I built enough of them in Ag class.

Graduating Class of 1968

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