(Readers: The assumed chronological date for most of the entries in this blog is after the expected 5th revolution in the US.  For more background about  the expected revolution – labeled the Revenge Revolution – and the author, please view entry #01.) 

This entry is just for fun. I was walking out to get the paper this past Monday morning.  It’s fall, many leaves have fallen and it’s misting.  The situation brought back memories of the Mayday story.  Thought you might enjoy.

Scene: Jordan having coffee with JC.  It’s a misty fall day and many leaves have fallen.

JC:  “I’m depressed.”

010414_1635_16TeachingS1.jpgJordan:  “What’s to be depressed about?”

JC:  “Look outside.  Its late fall.  Most of the leaves are off the trees.  It’s gray and misting.  Lousy day.”

Jordan:  “Today reminds me of an event from some years ago.  It was quite funny in retrospect.”

JC:  “Tell me about it.  I’m game.”

Jordan:  “When I worked in Manhattan, we lived in Connecticut and I took Metro North.”

JC:  “Was that about the same time I was living in New Haven?”

Jordan:  “Same time.  Anyway, it’s Monday morning, I need to get to the office as early as possible so I take the first train.”

metro_north_logoJC:  “OK, so it’s early Monday, and from what you said, a miserable, misty fall day.”

Jordan:  “Because we lived on a branch line, the off-peak trains were just two cars, then in Stamford we would catch an express train to Grand Central.”

JC:  “And, yes, I know the proper name is Grand Central Terminal.  Grand Central Station is the Post Office in the same location.”

Jordan:  “Very good.  So I get my coffee, danish, NY Times and settle in and off we go.  You know how you have a sense of when something should happen – like stopping at the next station?”

JC:  “I know what you mean.  This is getting more interesting.”

Jordan:  “Well, we’re rolling along nicely and I think we should be slowing down…”

JC:  “…but you’re not.”

guy wavingJordan:  “We’re not.  I look out the window and guys on the station platform are waving their arms for the train to stop.”

JC:  “What’s next?”

Jordan:  “The conductor yells at everyone in the first car…”

JC:  “…and you’re close to the front, of course.”

Jordan:  “Get in the second car.  We’ve lost our brakes!”

JC:  “Great way to start Monday.  You are up too early for civilized people.  Skies are gray, it’s misting and the Toonerville Trolley loses its brakes.”

Jordan:  “Plus we’re on a downhill grade all the way to Stamford.  Not a steep grade but enough that the train will continue to pick up speed.”

JC:  “I can picture the article now.  What an obit.  ‘He had a promising career shortened by the crash of the Toonerville Trolley.’”

Jordan:  “You said what I was thinking.”

JC:  “So you move to the back car.  Then what happens?”

Jordan:  “Interestingly most people are still facing forward.  I remind them if there is a crash they will catapult over the seats and land who knows where.”

JC:  “As I recall, some of the old cars on the New Haven had seats that flipped back and forth.”

Jordan:  “Luckily this was one.  So we flipped the seats and all faced backwards preparing for the crash.”

JC:  “I like this.  Then what?”

train_conductorJordan:  “The conductor gets on the phone and yells, ‘Stamford tower, this is train some number, Mayday, Mayday, we’ve lost our brakes!’”

JC:  “Say what?”

Jordan:  “That’s what the guy in the tower in Stamford said too.  ‘Mayday?  What are you talking about?’”

JC:  “That’s really funny now that I know you made it through OK.  What’s next?”

Jordan:  “The conductor has been cranking a wheel on the back car that apparently was supposed to act like an emergency brake on a car.”

JC:  “Any success?”

Jordan:  “Not the first try.  But as the adrenalin started flowing, he must have gotten stronger because he finally cranked enough that the car came to a stop.”

JC:  “So everyone is safe but stuck because the train has no brakes.”

Jordan:  “Here’s an even funnier part.  We had brakes the whole time.”

JC:  “Then why couldn’t the train stop at the station.”

Jordan:  “Remember it’s misting and the tracks are wet.  As the leaves fall, rather than falling off the tracks, they stick to the tracks.”

JC:  “And now you have a train with steel wheels travelling on a steel track that is covered with leaves that are wet.”

Jordan:  “Bingo.  The leaves act like a banana peel.”

JC:  “The Toonerville Trolley tries to stop but instead slides right through the station…and the motorman thinks the brakes have failed.”

JCoffee Cupordan:  “I confess the story has gotten funnier over time.  I’m not sure I appreciated the hilarity of the situation at the time, although I did laugh at the ‘Mayday, Mayday’ comment”

JC:  “Well, I feel much better.  Thanks for cheering me up.  Here’s a toast to the Metro North and its Toonerville Trolley.”