We know it’s wrong, but we’ve all done it at one time or another. Most of us probably do it fairly often to some extent. Pushed that gas pedal a little too hard and broken the speed limit. Maybe out on the open highway in the middle of nowhere, and hopefully not in a school zone. I know I’ve been guilty of exceeding the speed limit more than once in my life, but never in a school zone or hopefully anywhere else where there are people around I might endanger. So when somebody sent me this picture the other day, I had to laugh. I bet there’s not a cop in the country who hasn’t heard that excuse at least once.
I have known three different cops who have told me about getting that excuse from drivers. All three of them gave the people they pulled over the benefit of the doubt and let them go with a warning to drive carefully to wherever they needed to go to do what they needed to do. However, one officer I knew followed at a distance in his unmarked car and saw the driver honk at a friend and pull up next to them in a parking lot and sit there and talk for about ten minutes. He waited until she pulled back on the road and pushed it over the speed limit again before pulling her over a second time. He gave her a speeding ticket, another one for not wearing her seat belt, and then he noticed her window tint was too dark, and she got a ticket for that, too! Would you call that a poop oops?
Back in my Army days, I was stationed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York for a couple of years. At the time, my parents lived in Toledo, Ohio, where I had a girlfriend, and at least once a month during our slow time when we were not training cadets, I would jump in my car on Friday afternoon, drive 575 miles to Toledo, hang out and party all weekend, then drive back Sunday night, arriving in time to go on duty Monday morning. Oh, to be young, dumb, and full of energy like that now!
It was almost exactly 300 miles from where I got on Interstate 80 in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania west to the Ohio state line, and I got to the point where I could drive it in my sleep. I don’t doubt that after some of those long, wild weekends, I was more asleep than awake driving back to the base. That’s where the dumb part of being young comes in.
I would always hang my dress uniform in the rear driver’s side window of my car, knowing that in those days, many police officers would give a GI a break if they were speeding. As I recall, the speed limit may have been 80 mph back then, and yes, more times than not, I was going faster than that. Once, I topped a hill and saw a highway patrolman waiting at the bottom with his radar gun, and he turned his overhead lights on before I even got to him. I pulled onto the shoulder of the road behind his cruiser, and he walked back and asked for my license and registration and went back to his car to run my information. Walking back to my driver’s window, he asked how long I had been back stateside, and I told him a few months. He handed me my information and said, “You made it home in one piece, so don’t get killed on my highway, okay, Sarge? Slow it down.”
I thanked him for the verbal warning and went on my way, keeping right at the speed limit for the next four or five miles. There was a gas station and McDonald’s there that I always stopped at to fill my tank and my stomach, which I did that time, and then I got back on the road, trying to make up for lost time. And I’ll be darned if that same trooper hadn’t moved up the road while I was stuffing my face! I didn’t get out of a ticket that time, although he did only write me for five over the speed limit, which was much less than I was doing.
You would think that with age comes wisdom, but maybe not. During my newspaper days in the Pacific Northwest, I bought myself a classic 1967 Corvette Stingray from a dealer in fine cars in the Seattle area. Driving home to Grays Harbor, you just know I was going to open that Vette up and see what it would do. And almost in a repeat performance of my Pennsylvania episode fifteen years earlier, as I topped a hill on Interstate 5, there was a Washington state patrolman, and he lit me up.
It was like a deja vu experience, except instead of my uniform hanging on the rear window, the sale sheet and paper temporary tag were taped in the back window of the Corvette. The officer took my information and radiod in to run it, then walked around the car and asked me how long I had it. I told him about one hour. “Do you have it out of your system yet?” “Yes, sir, I think I do,” I replied. “You think you do?” “No, sir, I definitely have it out of my system,” I assured him. He smiled and shook his head and said, “Drive safely, sir,” then added, “I’ve got a Corvette, too.”
At least I learned something from my experience as a young soldier, because I kept to the speed limit the rest of the way home that time.
And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. It would seem like the competition for employees is getting tense these days.
Thought For The Day – Boys will be boys. And so will middle-aged men, all too often.