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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Train Safety


I grew up in kind of a small town that had some pretty decent freight train activity through it. At night, you could hear the low, mournful howl of the train whistles as they sped through the main part of town, some five miles away from our house. I loved that sound. It always sounded lonely but exciting, like there was adventure and danger outside and someday I could take part in all that, just jump on a train and go someplace. All the roads that intersected the train tracks had gates and lights, which isn’t true of a lot of more rural areas.

When I was in grade school at public schools (due to the school randomly assigning me to Special Ed for being severely developmentally delayed, my mom stuck me in private school for 2nd grade on. They didn’t bother telling my parents what they did, they just stuck me in a room where I cut out circles of paper with safety scissors and petted bunnies. I was reading at a 5th grade level and could do basic math, and I was spending the whole day doing nothing, basically, because someone decided I was retarded. Literally retarded. I still don’t know.) we watched a lot of film strips. I mentioned parenthetically there that I was in special ed. I was in a “regular” classroom for a few things, including FILM STRIPS and some class where everyone sorted tiles by color and shape. That’s all we did for the class. Sorted things. The film strips were pretty whack, or at least I’ve thought so until now.

There were the OMG PEOPLE ARE TOTES GONNA KILL YOU Halloween candy safety filmstrips, where Mickey Mouse and Goofy eat tainted candy and got sick or cut up. There were some “what to do if your parents leave drugs and/or guns lying around the house” filmstrips. And there were the train safety filmstrips that dealt heavily with train yards and why not to explore them. There were no train yards near us, just train tracks and fast moving freight trains.

In kindergarten and second grade, I must have seen some 6 or 7 train safety films. Don’t play on train tracks. Don’t walk on train tracks. Don’t try to “beat” a train. Don’t run in front of a train. It takes trains a long time to stop. Don’t walk along side of train tracks. Don’t fuck with train tracks/rocks/rail ties. Don’t play on train gates. Don’t explore cabooses (they are apparently full of explosive chemicals and corrosive acids and prone to exploding). This, along with “duck and cover,” was drummed into our little heads.

It was a little extreme, and I never got the same messages at the (shitty, small, in a different town that had no trains running running through it) private school.

So I’ve wondered. What was the point? What was the point of spending 15 to 30 minutes per filmstrip on really fucking basic, obvious train safety information?

Then I read this story.

Basically, two dumb fuck girls walked along a set of train tracks, then lay down on the train tracks and fell asleep. Both lost limbs as a result, when a freight train came barreling down upon them.

I am so incredibly glad that 1) I’m not a fucking moron and 2) that I had all those stupid train safety films because between the two? I would never ever even CONSIDER lying down on train tracks.

I mean, what the FUCK? Train tracks aren’t even comfortable! It’s splintery creosote soaked wood and fist sized rocks! There are multi-ton trains that go zooming down those tracks! How… what… I can’t even phrase outraged questions about this because seriously. This is just fucking dumb.

posted under midwest, trains, wtf
One Comment to

“Train Safety”

  1. On April 18th, 2009 at 2:47 pm Chuck Says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and enjoyed reading it. I look forward to future posts.