Jim Hicks: Do We Still Measure Trips In Wyoming ‘By The Six-Pack?

Columnist Jim Hicks writes: "The same guy told Rep. Osborn that the bill to ban open containers in vehicles was going to cause a lot of confusion in Wyoming."

March 12, 20215 min read

(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Jim Hicks

BUFFALO – Watch out!  March came in like a lamb . . . so we probably shouldn’t hang the snow shovels up in the back of the garage yet.

One of the best stories we’ve heard around the village this week has to do with an “older” local couple who up-graded their transportation recently.

They didn’t buy a new car, but it was new enough to have one of those dash-board screens as part of the equipment.

That was a complete mystery to them, but a younger neighbor (in his early 70’s) volunteered to help them learn how to use it.

He explained one of the biggest advantages was a “navigation system” that would remove the Atlas Map book from his wife’s hands and save on a lot of “rolling” arguments.

He demonstrated how to “punch in” the address of destination and then simply push the “GO” button and a nice lady’s voice would give them directions during the trip.

“Let’s set one up and you can take mamma for a drive and see how it works,” he said.

So, he typed in “10 Hillside Avenue, Buffalo, WY” and told the happy couple to push the “GO” button and follow the nice lady’s directions.

They did that and the voice from the dashboard started telling them where to turn as they progressed.

It took them south of town near the high school and then west on the road toward Klondike Ave.

As they approached Willow Grove Cemetery the voice said “turn left here”. They were a bit surprised, but followed the directions.

That’s when they found out their helpful neighbor had a pretty good sense of humor.

The lady’s voice came over the speaker in the car and announced . . . “you have reached your final destination.”

Meanwhile, at one of those clandestine coffee meetings that have sprung up since the Covid crisis, we were being up-dated about what was going on with the Wyoming Legislature.

A lot of it has been conducted with computers over the internet with something called “Zoom” meetings where participants show up in boxes on a computer screen.

They say they are making progress, but also admit they are millions and millions of dollars short of what they need (mostly to finance education).  Those serious problems make issues in past years seem a lot less dramatic.

As recently as 2016 the lawmakers were struggling with what now appears not to be so important.  At that time Doug Osborn was serving as the Representative in House from Johnson County.

When the session was over he got a letter from one local voter that was pretty funny.

Noticing that the lawmakers had passed a bill to drop the sales tax from grocery items, this guy asked Rep. Osborn why he didn’t have to pay sales tax on olives when he still had to pay it on vermouth.

“It’s kind of like paying tax on bread, but not on butter,” he wrote. 

And the same guy told Rep. Osborn that the bill to ban open containers in vehicles was going to cause a lot of confusion in Wyoming. He claimed that everyone “knows Casper is one six-pack from Buffalo and Cheyenne is a little over a half-case away.”

(It was in jest and not a plea to support drinking and driving)

Rep. Osborn’s response was classic.  He told them age would take care of the problem.

“Soon,” he wrote, “you all will measure distances in “potty stops.”

And it’s probably good to see the lawmakers consider doing away with the death penalty. It’s almost never used and results in costing taxpayers millions as those cases drag out in court for years.

It’s not a new idea. In the late 1970’s the death penalty was being debated in the Wyoming Senate when one member got up and said . . . “well if they are gonna kill one of us we are gonna kill ‘em back.”

Another explained that he didn’t know if it was the right action to take or not, but he had noticed it put a stop to recidivism. (Most of us had to look that one up in the dictionary).

We hope you have a great week and the Bench Sitters will write again if they get time.

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