In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Lesson number 1: Don't speed

The lights flashed so brightly that they reminded me of a flash-bang, a grenade-type device with no fragmentary but blind you and make you deaf for a couple minutes. The siren was loud and actually frightened me a tad (but not a whole lot). And the cop’s flashlight tapping against my window was annoying.

“License and registration please.”

Well, both requested items are expired, so I had no problem saying… “sir, I just got back from Iraq and …” “your information is expired,” said the officer. “Yes, sir, but here is my DD 214 and my new ID Card (from ID Card Lady).”

I think I’ve become a little too cocky since being home. In my mind, there’s no guy too big for me to whip. By God, I’ve been in Iraq for a year and I’m so mentally tough that I could break a spoon in half just by looking at it. I survived Bad Grammar Guy, ID Card Lady and Mr. Stutter Pants; there’s no way this guy will give me a ticket. He’s a man in uniform; he’ll cut me some slack, I thought as the officer checked out my information and endured the small snowflakes hitting the brim of his big hat.

“OK, son, I don’t choose who I pull over, so I’m going to give you a ticket. I can understand and even appreciate your situation, but you were doing 14 over the speed limit. I have no choice.”

He sounded as if he were about to execute me. He really didn’t want to pull the trigger, but he just had to because he had orders.

“Sir, I didn’t know how fast I was going.” I wonder how many times he’d heard that excuse. I’m sure if I had long eye lashes and pretty hair I’d be a little more convincing. But I’m just a guy and he cut me no slack…

“Here’s your ticket, son. The court date is in March. Do you have any questions?”

“No, sir.”

“Well, now, in your situation, you need to be extra careful because you don’t want to get killed after everything you’ve been through. Thank you for your service, son, and drive safely.”

I said, “Thank you, sir,” as if he’d given me the winning lottery ticket. Why is it we always say thank you after receiving a ticket? What I wanted to say was “yeah, I really wanted to wrap my car around a tree and be covered in glass. I am so thankful for you pulling me over. You know, just three weeks ago I was jumping curbs and dodging IEDs. I carried more ammunition than your entire precinct. I bet you wouldn’t have given me a ticket then.”

But if the military has taught me anything, it’s to shut up and just take the pain. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. So, maybe I deserved the ticket, but man it stinks. His little speech worked too. And in a way, I admire the officer for not having pity on me and for just doing his job… that’s probably what I would have done. Nonetheless, I haven’t driven over the speed limit since.

Now I have to wait seven years for this to get off my record. That’s OK, I’ve got nothing but time on my hands. I can wait to speed again.

BY THE WAY, I’LL BE ON WTMJ 620 AM AGAIN. THIS TIME IT WILL BE A CALL-IN SHOW FROM 2 P.M. TO 3 P.M ON FRIDAY, FEB. 11. IF YOU’RE IN MILWAUKEE GIVE ME A CALL.

48 Comments:

At 9:26 PM, Blogger FVK said...

Damnit, "Speedy", I missed you on the radio, again! I didn't check your blog until Thursday night. Give me a heads up next time you're on.

Take care,

Fred
Milwaukee

 
At 1:36 AM, Blogger Caroline said...

Aren't they supposed to ask you why you were speeding? Then you could have used the classic, "Uh, it's kinda an emergency. I just started my period . . . (no need to elaborate)" line. Now there's a story!

 
At 6:57 AM, Blogger Kim said...

ROFL! Sorry about your ticket Speedy... I mean Sminky... cute story, thanks for sharing!

 
At 7:00 AM, Blogger Buffbabe220 said...

you would have totally gotten off if you were a chick, we're sooo much better at playing the Iraq card

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger membrain said...

Hey Smink. Glad you're keeping us in the picture with your adventures as a civvie. Is there a chance the radio station will give you a tape of the program so that you can link to it in your blog.

 
At 12:23 PM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

Hey Smink, Don't you guys have a driving class out there? You go to the class and they don't give you the points out here. Come drive in our state, but maybe take the army boots off!

 
At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, Casanova, remember where you are now....you can't speed and jump curbs anymore...:) Dad and I listened to your radio interview today on the Internet....I wish I'd known they were broadcasting on the Web a couple weeks ago when you were on. Sorry I missed that one, but....c'est la vie. Well, got my fix, so I'm good for another week or so now...maybe..;)

kbug

 
At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Dawn said...

sminky, I found your site about 2 wks ago (sure wish I had found it earlier). Reading your blog has been great. A family member of mine arrived in Iraq early last month (camp dogwood). Reading your post had made me feel better (inspite of the unit lossing a fellow troop 2 wks after ariving) about his being there. Thank you!!! And THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE FOR AMERICA!!!!!!!!! I love our soldiers! Thanks again. Im glad you made it home and I hope everything "good" happens for you from this day foward! you sure do deserve it! thanks again!

 
At 2:44 AM, Blogger Patrick said...

My first ship decommissioned in 1991, but while in the three years I was aboard her, nobody was seriously injured or killed. That was a hard ship with a small crew, and everybody knew that you had to watch yourself or you would get hurt.

A while later I went onboard another reserve frigate in Norfolk and ran across some of my old shipmates. They told me that in the year after the Patterson had gone into mothballs, three of her crew had died. There was talk about a "Patterson Curse." I just think that after the Patty-boat, everything seemed easy.

Sorry about the ticket. Slow down and stay alive, please.

 
At 2:45 AM, Blogger Patrick said...

My first ship decommissioned in 1991, but while in the three years I was aboard her, nobody was seriously injured or killed. That was a hard ship with a small crew, and everybody knew that you had to watch yourself or you would get hurt.

A while later I went onboard another reserve frigate in Norfolk and ran across some of my old shipmates. They told me that in the year after the Patterson had gone into mothballs, three of her crew had died. There was talk about a "Patterson Curse." I just think that after the Patty-boat, everything seemed easy.

Sorry about the ticket. Slow down and stay alive, please.

 
At 2:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it is hard to switch between being a civilian(or at least acting like one) and being a soldier, but you did a good job. In one of my jobs there a few people who had been in the service. You could tell who they were because they clung to rules like they'd drown without them. Some were more flexible than others, but the worst of them made me think the military needed a program to help soldiers become civilians.

Fabian

 
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