I sit here dumbfounded. I sit here dumb quite often, but tonight I’m dumbfounded and wondering if it’s just me. Often times it is just me. I don’t get it. The challenge I have every time is deciding if this is a just me thing or there is really something very wrong with the information I get. The Legislature is considering regulating roller skis. Well it’s about time! I don’t even know what a roller ski is and absolutely don’t care. It appears from the article that this is some sort of device that is about to cripple the entire state of Maine unless the Legislature takes action immediately.

I’ve maintained for quite a while that the Legislature is out of touch with what’s happening in the state, but this takes the cake. There’s a definition in the bill of course, so we know what exactly roller skis are. Definitions are important and this one is precious. Here, read this a couple of times and see what you think: an object affixed to a foot, separately from the other foot, and propelled primarily by human power. Read it again if you need to. I’ve got plenty of time. What the … Here’s another thing in the proposed law. You’ve got to give this thing 3 feet of clearance if you come upon it. Now I know it’s just me, but if I’m driving down Route 131 in Union and I come up behind a person with an object affixed to a foot separately from the other foot, and propelled primarily by human power, I’m going to give them 6 feet minimum. I’m just saying. OK. I’m calming down now and trying to look at this rationally. What exactly is an object affixed to a foot, separately from the other foot, and propelled primarily by human power? A shoe. Am I right or wrong here? It’s a shoe. Or in this case, probably a sneaker. I call them sneakers, but I guess they’re training shoes, running shoes, tennis shoes. It’s a shoe.

Green is the way to go in this day and age. We need to think about the environment and how we impact it. There are all sorts of initiatives to reduce carbon footprints and reduce global warming, even if we’re not sure that global warming exists because the scientists cooked the books, destroyed all the credibility that whole thing had, and my friends in Florida say it’s the coldest winter ever. But we can all do our part. Not if you’re on roller skis. No. No. No. You cannot go on a divided highway wearing an object affixed to a foot separately from the other foot, and propelled primarily by human power. We’re just not going to have that sort of thing going on in Maine. We could have some legislator that lived in, oh I don’t know, Waterville that was committed to reducing their carbon footprint and wanting to go to the legislative session on his or her roller skis and if they were only allowed by Maine law, they could jump right on the old Interstate 95 there in Waterville, roller ski to the legislative session and roller ski home and really, really, really make a difference in the future of the environment. But we’re not going to allow it. Now I know there are some really dedicated people out there that would roller ski down the back roads to get to Augusta, but we just went through all this with the big trucks. The interstate is there as the most efficient, shortest distance between two points and it ought to be used. The more I write, the more I appreciate the struggle the legislators must go through day in and day out trying to do what’s best for the citizens of the state of Maine.

Some may think I’m not taking this seriously, but nothing could be further from the truth. I sincerely hope the legislators put the same effort and time into this bill that they did with the school consolidation issue. That’s a piece of legislation we can all be proud of. It forced schools to consolidate, penalized them if they didn’t and then once the schools consolidated, the state slashed the education support so that the burden of the cost of consolidation landed square on the backs of the property taxpayers. Brilliant! Just brilliant! We’ll cook up a scheme that forces schools to do what we want because we’ll threaten them with a big penalty if they don’t. Once they’ve consolidated, we’ll drastically reduce the support we give them and proudly declare how much we have reduced state spending. The poor property taxpayer is screwed, but hey, the reason behind consolidation in the first place was to save money and that’s what it did. It saved it at the state level and transferred it to the property taxpayer. The property taxpayer seems to be the pack mule for the whole state. What chance does a municipality have trying to reduce the tax burden when the whole state is working against it?

Anyway, I hope I’ve painted a rosy enough picture of what’s going on here. This school consolidation thing is all set. They dealt with that last time. An absolutely wonderful piece of legislation. Let’s hope they deal with these roller skis in the same manner. If they weren’t all over it, with this big push for green, green, green, there could be people with objects affixed to a foot separately from the other foot, and propelled primarily by human power going here and there with no regulation, no consideration for safety, and no evaluation of potential future revenue from violations. Where can I get an application for the roller ski police force?

Bill Packard lives in Union.