Thursday, August 16, 2007

Morality Lesson for the Low, Low Cost of Only $120.50

Sunday, 10:45am, heading home from church, somewhere in Florida

"Oh no! I forgot to go to the bank to deposit this check!"

"That's OK. Turn right at the stoplight; it will take you to Elm Street. That's right where the bank is."

"This light?"



"OK...which street is the right one?"

"The next one.....although, I think it might be a right turn only. I'm not sure"

We slowly approach Elm Street and discover that it is, indeed, a right-turn only. We look around. The tiny side street is deserted. Not a car in sight. The bank entrance is only 100 feet away. My husband and I exchange a silent glance.

"I don't see anybody, do you?"


DH turns left, ignoring the Right Turn Only sign, and drives into the bank's parking lot, pulling up to the ATM machine.

"Hey, that sign said Right Turn Only. You can't do that Papa," says the Rationalist.

We mumble over the objection.

As I fumble in the glove box for a deposit envelope, a loudspeaker announces, "PLEASE PULL AHEAD."

There, behind us, is a cop car, blue lights flashing away. DH and I look at each other and groan as DH pulls up to an empty area in the parking lot. The crunching gravel underneath the police officer's boot alerts us to his presence.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"

"For making a left turn?" asks DH.

"Yep. That's right. License and registration please."

DH hands it over silently and the police officer goes back to his car to fill out a ticket form.

"See, I told you, you can't make a left there!" says The Rationalist.

"Be quiet. We'll talk about this when we get home."

The police officer appears once again.

"OK. This ticket needs to be paid in 30 days. You can contest it or take traffic school. If you do not take traffic school, you will have 3 points on your license...understand?"

"Yes, officer."

"OK....have a nice day." great day.

"What's 3 points mean?" asks Intuitive Monkey.

"What do you have to do in thirty days?" asks The Rationalist.

Wide-eyed and full of awe, Intuitive Monkey asks, "How did he know?", sure that the officer must be in direct contact with God.


Your Hubby said...

After the initial shock and frustration faded, I have come to realize what a blessing this ticket has been. Don't get me wrong, we don't have the $120 to pay for the ticket, and we really can't afford to have our car insurance go up, but there are greater issues at play.

As my wife has pointed out in the past, we have two young boys who have been listening to the lessons we've been trying to teach them. Who understand that there is a right and a wrong. Who, often to our chagrin, like to point out when someone states something incorrectly or makes a bad decision.

So when I make a bad decision, one that seems insignificant but which, when I admit it, is a moral compromise for which I have no good reason (if ever there were a good reason for moral compromise), what would I prefer -- that I "get away with it" and "rationalize" it to my children thus teaching them, intentionally or otherwise, that such behavior is okay, or would I rather get busted by a cop who, as he should, was just doing his job and have to humbly admit to my sons that "Papa made a bad choice".

In the long run, I'll choose getting busted with the hope that even in a bad decision I can teach my children a lesson about respecting authority, obeying the law, and the consequences when you don't do so. Because, as a postcard sitting on my desk reads, "Integrity is what I do; everything else is just talk."

terri said... must really feel guilty to have to use all those words! :-)