It started with buttons on pockets


I store lots of important things in my armrest console, including my passport, broken sunglasses, loose change congealed together with spilled soda pop and gum wrappers dating back to January.

And if you look in my glove box, you will find lots of fast food napkins, a Camaro manual I bought on eBay, and a collection of insurance cards that go back at least a year and a half.

However, this is not as bad as the former owner who stored—I’m not kidding—a 4-inch fishing hook under the seat. I found this out the hard way.

But this is all beside the point. (Punnage unintended.)

If you will remember back 200 words, I was going to tell you about my depressing discovery.

Several weeks ago I needed to run an errand for a friend, and I opted to drive a vehicle that was not mine, but had permission to drive, mainly because it meant I didn’t have to pay for the gas.

I was in a hurry, and so I decided, for the first time ever in my life, to purposefully roll through a stop sign. The coast was clear, so I just rolled right on through that stop sign and thought that I had gotten away scot-free when, about two blocks later, red and blue lights started flashing behind me.

In situations like this, I find it interesting the way different people react. Some people act tough. Others flirt. Some stutter. And others back into mailboxes. (I’m not at liberty to tell you that story, but I can assure you it’s a good one.)

Personally, I am a stutterer, which I found out very quickly after rolling down the window.

Anyway, after I saw the lights and pulled over, I put the vehicle in park and—get ready for the biggest bone-head moment of the century—took off my seat belt.

In my five years of driving experience, I have made it a habit to take off my seat belt after putting the car in park. I have found that this greatly aids in exiting the vehicle.

The officer—a State Trooper, I might add—walked over to the window and the first thing out of his mouth was, “Sir, why aren’t you wearing your seat belt today?”

YOU try explaining your way out of that one without making it sound like a whiney excuse.

He then proceeded to ask to see my license.

Perhaps this is a good time in my story to pause and tell you that on this particular day I was wearing a pair of khaki shorts that have buttons on the back pockets. Therefore, my wallet—including my driver’s license—was safely tucked away inside Max, who was sitting several blocks away dutifully awaiting my return.

Mr. Trooper had me write down as much information about myself as I could—and sir, if you’re reading this, I apologize for the poor penmanship—then he went back to sit in his patrol car for what seemed like at least 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, I was sitting in a vehicle that was not mine, knowing that I had just been caught committing three offenses: failing to stop, failing to carry my license and failing to keep my seat belt on so the officer could see that I was actually wearing it.

As it turned out, the officer let me off with two warnings, and I have a yellow piece of paper to commemorate this event.

It even has all of my information. That is, the information from my driver’s license that I couldn’t remember.

So then I got to thinking: Why, if they are capable of finding out all of that information so easily, is it such a big, honkin’ deal to carry the license? I mean, all they do is check their computer, or call the station, or shake their Magic 8 ball or whatever it is they do, and all the stats they need are right there.

The only event that I could think where having the license would be necessary is in a fatal accident, when an officer needs to check identification.

So here’s my dark discovery: Driver’s licenses are basically death cards that we are required to carry around in case we should happen to “change lanes on this great road of life.” I, for one, now get a little depressed every time I see my license.

And I can tell you, my right cheek is pretty bummed about it, too.


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