Contemplating the concept of curiosity

Published 9:56 am Friday, April 20, 2018

Remember the old saying “curiosity killed the cat?”  If you have never heard the phrase, let me enlighten you. It simply means “stay out of other folks’ business or you might get hurt.” However, the logic of this archaic expression escapes me. There are several cats that I would like to get rid of–pole cats, bob cats, fat cats and alley cats. But maybe not fat cats as my Social Security doesn’t pay all my bills and I need to get a loan. Listen up, Susan!

I sat on my bike and watched the train traveling through West Point a few days ago. I thought that it was highly unusual for the train to have 4 locomotives towing the rail cars. So I counted the number of cars, varying from tankers to freight cars, and there were 143 in tow. Much to the annoyance of some, it takes 10 minutes or more for the train to clear the crossing. The speed of the train is limited because of a rather severe turn on the track as it crosses the Chattahoochee. In a turn the outside wheels on the rail car have to go faster than the wheels on the inside of the curve. Since the wheels on the axle are locked together, the inside wheels have to kinda skid around the curve. 

I know “curiosity killed the cat,” but what is the distance measured on the highway for the length of the train?  I googled it and it says that on the average, a train car (and locomotive as well) are 75’ long. Thus for the train that I saw the other day, we are talking about a distance of 2.1 miles or the distance from the CharterBank in West Point to Interstate I-85 at Dunkin Donuts.

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One would have to have his eyes glued to the road (or cell phone) not to notice the number of signs on Highway 50 advertising the candidates for the Chambers County Probate Judge. I checked the qualifications for the job and it seemed that the only requirement is that the candidate has to be able to read and write and be qualified to be bonded.  Well, what is the attraction for five local candidates seeking the office? Is it money or wanting to provide a service to the people or to relish the prestige of the office? I am guessing, but I bet each candidate has to pay out of pocket $10,000 for the signs, banners and commercials aired on TV and radio.  I also bet that each candidate has to pretend that everyone he/she meets is the best person they have ever met.

Being a nosy, none of your business pest, I headed over to the Chambers County Court House to garner information relative to salary and benefits for the job of Probate Judge. Thanks to the very helpful and extremely competent county auditor, Regina Chambers, I was able to obtain an estimate of the rewards for serving the public as a Probate Judge. It appears that the job pay and benefits are as follows–salary $88,212 plus $5,553 for life, medical and dental insurance for a total earnings of $93,765 annually.  Retirement is through the judicial system so I was unable to determine if the county tax payers pick up any of the cost of this earned benefit. 

Also included in the package of benefits is 13 paid holidays and 2 weeks of vacation. Translated, that is a month away from the job. Also, I did not find out if there was any re-imbursement for travel and attendance at annual meetings relative to the office. Unless the elected goes to jail, the job is guaranteed for 6 years.

In searching the internet, I was able to obtain that the highest paid Probate Judge in the State Of Alabama as the judge in Mobile County with a base salary of $155,800 annually. It seems that the Probate Judge salaries vary significantly from county to county as some of the offices do not sell tags, which is a major undertaking for any office.

Back to the subject of CURIOSITY, maybe I should concentrate on my own business rather than everyone else’s business.  Unfortunately, another adage applies in my case—you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.