Thursday, June 26, 2008

UAB Has Proved That Golf Carts Aren't Terribly Dangerous. Congratulations!

     I am a big fan of education.  When I was in college I truly enjoyed going to class, even the 8 am version.  I feel at home in academia and love the whole idea of college.  People learning.  Crazy college sports fans.  New research discoveries in exciting new fields.  Coeds.  But sometimes I start to think that people in academia have too much time and too much money on their hands.  And that they are often times misguided.  Because every once in a while you come across a research topic that doesn't make any sense, that is a total waste of time and energy.
     And that's what I thought of when I saw this article.  The good people at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), instead of doing research on a cure for cancer, or maybe new improved foodstuffs that will allow us to feed the hungry, or alternative energy they decided to spend their time and your grant money on golf carts.    More precisely on how unsafe golf carts can be.  Yep, they are electric powered death traps on wheels.  Apparently we are managing to hurt ourselves at the rate of 1000 injuries per month with these devil machines.  The UAB study was the first in America to look into golf cart injuries, and there is good reason for that.  Because every other university realized that for about twenty bucks they could have asked any one of us if golf carts are dangerous.  Of course they are dangerous.  You are mixing a.) golf, a sport that involves hitting things with a stick and that routinely pisses people off, b.) alcohol, which is as important to golf in most cases as are the golf balls, c.) idiots like me on public courses.  For an extra $10 or so you could ask us what kinds of accidents golf carts have and what injuries result.  Instead UAB decided to spend a shit ton of money and man hours to find out the same things that I would have said: that crashes and rollovers tend to cause head trauma and broken limbs, and that teenagers and men over 80 (old people as I like to call them) are the worst about doing it.  Damn that was easy.  I would have just used common sense.  The researchers at UAB poured over three years worth of emergency room admissions from across the nation.  That's fine.  But I still think it was a waste of time.
     The study also goes on to say that golf carts lack safety features and that there are no overall Federal regulations governing golf carts.  Each state sets its own laws.  Some, like Florida even require that a golf cart be modified for more speed to drive on public roads.  Great, I am glad that you spent all that time looking into that stuff UAB.  Maybe you should spend more time teaching your students to spell, as this photo clearly shows:
Okay geniuses, there is an "h" in the middle of the word Memphis.  So spend some time learning how to spell geographic and historic names and less telling me what I already know about golf carts.
     Of course golf carts are dangerous.  That's why they are so fun.  That's why, when I am golfing, I try to drive them up and over and through any obstacle that I can find.  Hills, bridges, water hazards, other golfers, I don't care.  I will try to dominate it in a little open cart that produced upwards of 10 bhp at peak RPM.  And I will probably win.  Unfortunately the golf cart is often a tragic victim in these shenanegans.  But that is of little consequence.  Dewey might break his face open but us two big fat guys totally just jumped that funky little sand trap in front of the green on the eighth hole at Gentz's Homestead Golf Course in Beaver Grove, MI.  And it was awesome.  Sorry about your face Dewey.  Sorry about your cart.  But that had a coolness factor beyond belief.  That's just how life is.  It wouldn't be as fun if the cart had a windshield and seat belts and dual front passenger airbags.  Or doors.  Because then I would be able to stand, hanging out of the cart and pointing my 4-iron into the future like I am Braveheart or something as Dewey floors it up to 6 mph in anticipation of our sweet jump.  You have to be reckless with a golf cart to have fun.  Seriously UAB.  Go out and try it on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.  You'll see. 
     So congratulations on your sweet study UAB.  And congratulations to whoever got that pushed through as a research topic.  You deserve your doctorate in being persuasive as hell.  But you are a little out of line I think.  1000 people get injured by golf carts each month on average.  In 1999 over 1000 people were killed in automobile accidents in Alabama alone.  510,000 children under the age of 15 died from AIDS in 1998.  So why are you working on the all important golf cart issue when you should be working on things like automotive safety or AIDS prevention.  For Goodness' Sake spend that money to send mosquito nets to tropical areas.  That would be a better use of the cash.  Because I know that people get hurt in golf carts and I know why.  I've seen Jackass.  All you had to do was turn on your TV UAB and you could have saved everyone some time.  I should run you down with a golf cart.

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