Last week I received an e-mail addressing the writer’s concerns about the “I.V. Bike Race” that was held in Dog Shit Park a few weeks ago. My first reaction to reading about the bike race was to laugh about some of the antics. But then the adult/parent in me started to take over. It began to dawn on me that there is a certain point in our lives where our mindset changes from youth to adulthood. This transition seems to happen at different times in different people. Or it seems that, in some, maybe it never does.

I guess the transition begins when you realize how you make your decision on what activities to participate in. A few years ago, I had no problem playing racquetball with a tennis ball filled with burning gas or jumping off a moped at top speed into a bush, or even going down the K-12 ski run on the second day I learned to ski. The concept of what would turn out to be a bad idea was usually formed after waking up thinking – and acting – like I was the San Diego Chicken. Other than a few minor injuries, I seemed to make it through life up to this point somewhat OK. A few people may argue about possible brain damage, but I think I’m just fine. Cluck.

Now that I’m a little bit older and have started the family thing, I have started to look at what I’m going to do before I jump in feet first and realize that sometimes the price of an E-ticket ride may not be worth it. Looking back now, I probably should have waited and gone down the intermediate slopes a few more times. Yes, I can tell you the approximate time the imprint of the California pine bark will remain imbedded on your forehead after a high-speed impact, but is that info what I really needed to learn? Sometimes just because it’s fun doesn’t make it a good idea.

So I guess the point I am trying make is that although drinking a lot of alcohol and riding a bike while projectile vomiting seems like a whole lot of fun, a few things, like alcohol poisoning, falling off – isn’t there a cliff right there? – and possibly getting arrested for drunk driving on a bike kind of take the fun out of it and put it more in the realm of, well, using a claw hammer to pick your nose. I know, gross, but you get the point.

I’ve gotten an e-mail from an exiled treasurer from the Ivory Coast. He needs help getting money out of a bank account. Is he for real?

Uh, yeah… let me get this straight. Someone you have never heard of and have no relationship to wants to give you, a person picked randomly from the Internet, $10 million to help his family get their money from a collapsed dictatorship. Rigghhhttt…

Of course 99.9 percent of everyone out there trashes the e-mail and laughs about it. Unfortunately there are some people who have responded and ended up losing thousands of dollars to this Internet scam. Here are a couple of hard and fast rules about the Internet:

1) Trust no one! You have about as much chance meeting and marrying Marilyn Monroe via the Internet as you do getting rich from West African dictators. Note the fact that Marilyn’s been dead for a few years and you’ll understand that the odds aren’t all that great.

2) Trust no one! OK, so I’ve already said that, but it’s worth repeating. If you get any e-mail requesting personal information like bank account or social security numbers, address, phone numbers, etc., ignore them. Legitimate companies do not ask for this via the Internet. Scammers using fake websites mimicking real companies will collect this info and use it to rip you off. Do not respond to these e-mails. If there is a question or concern, call the company using the info on your bills, not the e-mail.

If you are not sure about e-mail or other possible Internet fraud, contact the UCSB Police Dept. and we will gladly check it out for you.

Ticked off by a ticket? Party popped by the Patrol? If you got questions, don’t let it eat away at you. Ask questions. E-mail me anytime at or call the Crime Prevention Office at 893-4063.