He rode off into retirement along the marshes of Bluffton.
We thought he would be content playing spy vs. spy with the armadillos.
But alas my former editor, Fitz McAden, could not resist climbing back on the soapbox.
He recently returned to a favorite rant — one he has been hammering since he moved to Hilton Head Island almost a quarter of a century ago in a car with an “I Brake For Boiled Peanuts” bumper sticker.
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Well, here’s a little driving tip for you. Don’t dare brake for anything if you are driving in the left lane. You may be treated like an armadillo.
To Fitz, slowpokes in the fast lane are a modern Egyptian plague — a scourge upon the byways of greater Hilton Head.
They lollygag down vast stretches of U.S. 278, soon resembling a mother duck with a long line of ducklings following her.
And this long line of motorists — who all presumably have a life, with places to go and people to meet — are left to hope that the left-turn blinker that has been on for three miles means the slowpoke actually plans to turn.
But no. The blinker does not mean anything, unless perhaps it signals that the driver is comatose, which would not be surprising.
Many years ago, Fitz blasted out a similar rant:
“Hilton Head Island wants to raise the speed limit on the Charles E. Fraser Bridge from 40 mph to 45 mph.
“I mean, the bridge was built to interstate highway standards. The 40 mph speed limit was absurd — a bone thrown to the very vocal opponents of the Cross Island, who winced at the thought of an ‘expressway’ in their paradise.”
And when he got an essay from an Island Packet reader about how she had eliminated all left turns from her life, he offered her a regular column.
The late Marge Holcombe regaled us with her humor for years thereafter, and produced two collections of her columns to raise money for the Deep Well Project and Memory Matters. The books were called “May All Your Turns Be Right Ones” and “May All Your Turns Always Be Right Ones.”
So, while other retirees yell, “Get off my lawn,” this one is stuck on, “Get out of my lane.”
But it’s more than a personal pet peeve, like supermarket fruit that is tasteless and hard as granite:
“All summer long,” Fitz wrote on Facebook, “I searched for the perfect cantaloupe. Each trip to Publix (or Kroger or Bi-Lo or Food Lion), I hoped the melon I put in my cart would taste as good as ones I recall from years ago. Didn’t happen.”
No, this business about slowpokes in the left lane is a matter of public policy.
The way Fitz figures it, our roads would not be so congested, and in need of millions of dollars of alleged improvements, if we simply got the slowpokes out of the left lane. That way, cars could move about in the lanes we already have in the manner God intended them to.
Maybe we need a Lowcountry version of the Northerners’ snow plow, or at the very least a team of trained armadillos, that could roar up and down the left lanes bumping slowpokes out of the way.
Just a fleeting thought.