Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

Life in the Slow Lane

We hear so much about life in the fast lane, do you every wonder what it is like in the slow lane?

At the peak of the heat wave last week, the headline–HEADLINE–of our local newspaper was:


It was a distressing fact for the Lewisburg community but we really aren’t disappointed that we never see headlines like this: “Three Killed in Holdup Attempt”. You read headlines like this in the fast lane.

The first edition of our local weekly newspaper, the Union Country Journal, that I received (back in ’65) contained a story I almost memorized. It went something like this:


Mrs. Dolly Wallop [I made up the name] was treated at Evangelical Memorial Hospital yesterday and released. Ms. Wallop cut her finger on the screen on the back door of her house causing minor injury. Doctors said there was little danger of infection. Mr. Wallop’s husband will repair the screen door this weekend.

I showed this article to my wife and we decided then and there that Lewisburg was the place to settle down. The previous week we had been in my hometown where the story of one soldier biting the nose off another in a motel parking lot was relegated to p. 7. The front page was devoted to national and international mayhem and significant local crimes like major drug raids, holdups, and murders.

As you can see, the threshold for an injury making the paper has risen since the screen-door incident. In fact, the day following the unfortunate passing of the dog, ostensibly from heat stroke, the headline of our newspaper (The Sunbury Daily Item) was:


Stu DeBaker [I made this one up, too], of Milton, was driving a teal Chevrolet Cavalier south when [it] swerved off the road at approximately (continued on p. A4) 7:45 pm. There was no apparent cause of the accident” according to local police. (Driver probably fell asleep from boredom and accidentally slipped into the fast lane.) “[He] had a really nasty bruise on [his] arm,” according to one of the people in the house hit. Mr DeBaker was treated at the hospital and released shortly thereafter.

The important point I want to make here, though, is how relaxing it is to live in a community where life is so laid-back and easy-going that reporters use the color and model of cars to beef up their crash stories and people are so healthy that only household animals are subject to heat stroke.  Beat that, Garrison!

One Response to “Life in the Slow Lane”

  1. Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog » Blog Archive » One Student Charged with Rioting Says:

    […] One of my first blogs was “Life in the Slow Lane“, a short essay on my life in Lewisburg. Perhaps I shouldn’t have spoken so soon since this past weekend we had a riot downtown. It was reported in the Sunbury Daily Item this morning (no hurry: news doesn’t go away) under the headline above. […]

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