All she needed was her Dr. Pepper

All together now, hats off and one big Alaska hurrah to Matralle Morton of Jacksonville, Texas.  She’s the intrepid tourist who, with just a can of diet Dr. Pepper and a lot of moxie, foiled a carjacker here in Anchorage last week. Matralle has single-handedly proven that size (she’s 5’4″) and age (65) are meaningless when you have a cold can of Diet Dr. Pepper in your hand and legs too short to jump out of a moving vehicle.

This perhaps impacted me more than normally this week since I was in the middle of scanning through my AARP magazine. I had stopped at an article about how to keep your mind sharp as the years progress.  I tried a few of their ideas and found not everything apparently works for everybody.  For instance, if you use an electric toothbrush, it’s probably best to avoid their suggestion that you try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand.  Who knew toothpaste could fly that far?  Who knew toothpaste could be that hard to remove from some of the remoter regions of your bathroom ceiling?

I also found out that if you are going to follow the suggestion to rearrange your furniture to challenge yourself to stay sharp at you walk through your living room, it’s probably best to do that in the morning while you still have an entire day of light to get accustomed to the new locations. Certainly no one who hopes to be allowed to live alone for a while longer should do anything as foolish as rearranging it in the evening. Because if you did that, you might then find yourself with so many bandages on your shins that wearing shorts for the rest of the summer would become plain embarrassing.

I was amused by their suggestion to try to do familiar things blindfolded.  Exactly how do they think I got all those bandages on my shins in the first place? Sneaking through my newly rearranged living room in the dark so I don’t wake my birds on the way to my midnight snack is as blind as I want to be now and in the foreseeable future.

But back to Matralle.  I think she’s answered a question for herself that all of us have probably asked ourselves at some point. No, not that existential question about the real purpose of diet Dr. Pepper in our lives.  But the question of just how we would really respond in an emergency where our life was being threatened.  Matralle obviously has no problem standing up for herself. Or sitting down for herself, as the case may be. Seems like the carjacker wanted her out of the truck but her legs are too short to be able to leap out, especially when the truck is moving.

So apparently Matralle had to come up with Plan B, which consisted of throwing a choke hold on the man from her backseat position and then – my favorite part – dumping a cold can of diet Dr. Pepper on his head.  If that doesn’t stop a dastardly carjacker, I don’t know what will.

So we are left to ponder a few imponderables here. First, what exactly is in diet Dr. Pepper that is so powerful that just pouring it over someone’s head makes them jump from their escape vehicle rather than endure the possibility of a second dousing?  And should we really be putting that stuff in our stomach?  And would the result have been the same if it had been regular Dr. Pepper, or perhaps Coke or Pepsi? Does it have to be cold or will any temperature do? Does the caffeine content have any bearing on its potency as a weapon?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. I do think there is probably a government agency out there with grant money that can find those answers and I wish they’d hurry up and get that grant going so I know what to carry with me in dark alleys. 

Meanwhile, my hat is off to Matralle. Senior power rules! In what had to be a moment of terror, she didn’t choke but responded with a fine sense of self.  She knows that when faced with a scary situation, she and her can of cold diet Dr. Pepper are up to the challenge. Now that’s something AARP should be writing about.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to scraping Sensodyne off my bathroom mirror.