I read a local news story a couple of days ago. It was about a guy who stole a car. The report gets better. The aforementioned guy, from here in Eaton, Ohio, was in the Walmart Parking Lot. He got in someone else’s car and drove it away. From the time he turned the engine over, until some time later, he led the police on a drunken chase. I am assuming, he was the “drunken” and not the police.
From the Walmart, he proceeded down East Lexington Road. Now, I am not quite sure where that is, because, in Eaton, there are about 8 Lexington Roads, Streets, Drives, Ways, Turn-A-Rounds, and Lights Fantastic. But apparently, he was driving at 80 miles per hour, which would be well above the speed limit on any of the Lexington pathways.
The guy’s name was Darrell. It always makes me wonder if he has another brother named Darrell. But that is because I used to watch the Bob Newhart Show, and that was part of the schtick. “Hi, my name is Larry. This is my brother Daryl. And this is my other brother Daryl.” It got some laughs week, after week, after week, after week. Evidently, it has left its mark on me.
Back to the report. According to the police report, Darrell, was wrangled somewhere, and he is now in jail awaiting charges. He is 43 years old. The report also let us know that over the past decade, he has had five other DUI arrests, and currently does not have a valid driver’s license.
We hear scads of these reports, almost every week. Not here in Eaton, but all over the blue-blooming place. The report ends, and most of the time, we don’t bother our busy brains with another thought of the thing. But I go on, and wonder.
Will the man really be charged, and will it stick? He’s a white guy. Would things be different if he were black, or a woman? How come he’s had five DUIs and he is out walking around drunk at a Walmart? Did he buy a PEZ while he was there? In which aisle did he receive the Grand Revelation to steal a car? If I go to the Walmart, will I be influenced by this mystical vortex of car-thieving-stimulus? And finally, how many more times is he going to be caught driving drunk before he runs over some little kid playing catch in her front yard? Say, your daughter, or your granddaughter?
I am not sure how to help any of this. How to make it change.
I DO know, that I do not drink and drive. I do not drink and do anything, for that matter. But that story is in another time an place.
I see things in the world, all the time, which I feel need to change. I see situations, and circumstances, and events, which appear to be terribly wrong to me. This world can be a little crazy-go-nuts-sideways sometimes. I don’t know where the battle, or the healing for it, begins or ends.
But it makes me think. You know, when we were little, our Dad used to instill all sorts of wisdom. He typically handed this down in catchy phrases. One line, he used to tell us, was to “Keep your nose clean.” The origins of the phrase vary, but we know it means to avoid corruption and depravity. No vices, no degeneracy.
Is it enough, just to keep our own noses clean? The only person we control is ourselves. So. I am never quite sure about the logistics / probability / likelihood of getting others to do the same.
I know today, I will not drive drunk. And I will not steal a car.
I hope somehow, that helps the world be a little bit better.
I know today, I wrote this little column about it.
I hope somehow, that helps too.
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
― Maya Angelou
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
― Anaïs Nin
“If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.”
― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief