Jim Buice column: Not standing so tall these days

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2023

After finally getting my weight under control in the last year or so, I’ve now got another problem. I’m shrinking.
OK, I know my advanced age factors into the equation, but after stepping on the scales in a recent visit to the doctor, I was asked to slide over against the wall to measure my height.
“5-11¾,” the nurse proclaimed. I just about fell over.
Since my senior year in high school, I’ve always been over 6 feet tall. In fact, during my college days and early adulthood, when I actually had hair — and a lot of it — I frequently hit 6-2.
That seemed to last into my late 20s and 30s, as 6-1 seemed to be the new norm as a receding hairline turned into going bald.
The height seemed to stay that way for years until a few occasions in the last decade when I was told I was an even six feet. Ah, they just rushed it, or maybe I didn’t stand up straight enough, I thought. No big deal.
But now this. Surely, it must be a mistake, but the nurse insisted it wasn’t.
How can I go on with this latest revelation of not being the man I once was?
Then I did some research and learned that, indeed, starting around age 40, it’s not unusual to lose a third or half of an inch every 10 years. It has to do with changes in your bones, muscles and posture — and could be a sign of other health risks related to aging.
Let’s hope that isn’t the case. But in the meantime, unlike weight control, how do I fix this and get back that extra quarter of an inch to rise up to six feet again?
One suggestion I heard was following the example that Barney Fife followed in an episode of the Andy Griffith Show when, after his five years as a deputy, a new state requirement called for new height and weight standards — where he came up short on both counts.
It was easy to fatten him up with Aunt Bee’s cooking, but what about the height?
The local doctor in Mayberry recommended Barney hanging from a harness to stretch his spine. Opie then charged his friends a nickel each to view Barney in the closet.
Another “friend” mentioned a hair transplant or toupee.
No thanks… on both counts. I’ll just have to accept my compressed fate.

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The Drone as a First Responder pilot program through the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office went “live” in Clemmons last fall, and it sure looks like a winner with what it provides.
Many successes have been recorded in the early months of utilizing these unmanned aircraft systems known as drones. In the latest update before the Clemmons Village Council to gauge whether adopting such a program makes sense from a cost standpoint, there’s no doubt about the drone being the first to respond.
It can even be a way for a call originated for a “suspicious person” — leading to finding students playing hooky, as one of the examples of efficiency outlined from the morning of Nov. 21, 2022.
Here’s how it came down in the actual report: “Suspicious person at Dunkin Donuts (subject was inside). While in flight a call came out at River Oaks Church, also for a suspicious person. The drone was diverted there. The drone was able to arrive on the scene before any deputies. Drone pilot(s) located four individuals and directed deputies to their location. Sgt. Chatham began walking toward them and the four individuals began walking away. This is when he called out to them and told them a drone was overhead watching. They looked up and then decided to turn around and go back to Sgt. Chatham. They were four students from West Forsyth who were skipping school.”
OK, this may just be an example of kids being kids, but consider the difference this can make in an enhanced level of safety for the local community in more serious situations while reducing the need many times for a deputy in a car to even have to respond.
It’s a new world for sure.

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In my many years of covering the Clemmons Village Council, I’ve been to hundreds of meetings and heard many of the “public comments” that are made, but I always think of one name first — Robin Dean.
A native of England, he had a passion for life and offering his take when it came to all things involving Clemmons. I hadn’t seen Robin for the last couple of years and saw that he passed away just after the calendar flipped over to 2023.
You always knew where he stood when it came to such things as addressing the increasingly crowded roads, or if he didn’t think money was being spent appropriately.
Here’s one of the gems from a 2017 meeting when he asked for the council to meet with him collectively or individually to talk about his concerns regarding traffic flow and safety on the roads in Clemmons. “I want you to give me an answer,” he said. “You can’t ignore me forever.”
In 2015, his comments leading off one meeting included telling the council that it needed to hold its own public meeting because the Clemmons taxpayers have no idea who they represent since there’s no discussion and no transparency.
Robin was one of a kind. He will be missed.