That NEW Adage

A pressure-relief valve about God, and just about everything else.

I 40. The Serengeti of the South

“Derrick, you better slow down, the police got somebody pulled over up there.”

“Naw, I’m okay. They ain’t thinkin’ about me right now. You know when you see those shows on The Discovery Channel, and the lions are on the hunt?”

“Yeah.”

“When they go on the attack, all the zebras and wildebeest and gazelles run for their lives, but when they catch one, the other animals will stop right where they are an’ go back to grazing. Right there in sight of one of their own being eaten up! That’s how the cops are.

They’re like the lions, and they’re eatin’ right now, so ain’t no need for me to be all nervous an’ slammin’ on brakes an’ stuff!”

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February 12, 2009 Posted by | Driving, Humor, Speeding, Traffic | Leave a comment

More Time, and Righteousness, Credited to My Account

I’m not supposed to be here.

I’m not supposed to be typing, and double-checking, and breathing right now.

Saturday night, Kathy went to the store to get us something to eat. The line being too long, she left without it. Sam’s Club has these really big oranges in this really big bag for a really low price, and I had to have some, so I jumped in the car to go get them.

I am a lead-footed driver, and I like D’angelo. I was indulging in both. The expressway is about a half mile from our house, and I was on it quickly and and moving swiftly, about eighty or ninety, weaving past those without 265 horsepower at their disposal. The music was blasting and I was feeling pretty good, having spent a whole week with my wife and my babies. Being a husband and a father with so much now to lose, I don’t drive like I used to, but this was such a short trip…

I was in and out of the store in ten minutes. The off ramp where I get off does not merge for those — like me — going left. There is a two-lane stop. As I approached, I saw that an suv, a Tahoe, as in the left lane, and that the right lane was empty. I took the right lane so that when the light turned green, I could jump out quickly and beat the Tahoe on my left. I was racing the whole world and winning.

The music enveloped me — “…she’s alwayyys in my hair, my haiiiiir!” — and I was focused on that red light like a drag racer, ready to launch!

The light turned green! Ready… Set…

For some reason now, I didn’t hit the gas. There was no voice that spoke.

I couldn’t see around the hulking Tahoe from my Maxima, but I noticed that the Tahoe didn’t move either. I’m talking about a span of about one second.

Whoooooosh!! From the left, an eighteen wheeler, carrying death and dismemberment, barrelled through the intersection doing about sixty miles an hour!

Everything changed right then. I sat there at that light in the night at the tail end of a short meaningless trip and shook my head soaking in all that that momentary hesitation meant.

I pulled off slowly, and made my left turn, loing to the Tahoe, and like the aftermath of throwing a giant stone into a pond, the water of my whole life flooded in on me and overwhelmed me.

I thought about Kathy, who waited confidently for me to get back home not ever thinking that I was a pureed mass being poured into a body bag a half mile — and an eternity — away. I thought of how torn to pieces she would be for who knows how long.

I thought about Max, who loves me so absolutely right now, who calls ME every day when he awakes, who yells for ME at night when he has a nightmare, who needs ME to teach him all this stuff I can’t wait to teach him.

I thought about Diana, who smiles so wide at me when the cobwebs clear from her eyes at three o’clock every AM when I feed her, making sure she gets that extra meal she slept through earlier. I though about how she stops crying when I pick her up. I thought about telling her about boys and God.

I thought about how many times I have fed them and changed them and comforted them and taught them and loved them and watched them love me back. And I thought about the fact that no matter how much they love me, one small push on the gas pedal a few SECONDS ago would mean that They would only see me through pictures.

Max would ask, “Where’s Daddy? When’s Daddy coming back?” for days, weeks, and maybe even months, but with each passing second he and his sister would forget me a little bit more until in a short while they would remember me no more. Not at all. All the lessons and laughs would go unfulfilled.

I thought about my parents. I am the oldest and the only son. Gone. With just the slightest release of the brake pedal. I know how much they have loved me.

I thought about my three sisters.

And my few close friends. My church family who would have to hear the news on Sunday morning. I thought about all my musician friends…

My life didn’t flash before me. An alternate future played before me like a dvd on 3x. I saw my body crushed amid broken glass, twisted steel and torn rubber on the street while everyone I loved went on obliviously until the phone rang. I thanked God so much and so many times in that half mile ride.

I am supposed to be dead right now. That is not an overstatement. I am supposed to be as dead as someone mauled by a bear, or crashed in a plane. Based on the way I was driving and jamming — I’ve done it many times before — I was supposed to press that pedal, and no one but God stopped me. I should be sloshing around in a bag in a drawer. But I am not.

I walked into the house, put the oranges down, sat in a chair in front of my family, and cried. Hard.

Tears of  joy and sorrow. Boiling water and ice cubes in the same glass.

Shortly after I began to process everything, I thought about the biggest point of all:

As graphic a picture as the Lord had stapled in my brain, as close a call as I had, as surely as He had saved my life, He did MUCH more than that on a hill, far away!

The picture of eternity in hell is infinitely more horrible than a broken body and crying loved ones. Yes, He surely saved me — and my whole network of family and friends — from an excruciating circumstance, but it all becomes translucent in the face of that from which He ultimately saved me.

And everything I do from here out should be in light of that fact. I have the picture. I have the time. What will I do with it?

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Advice, Children, Christ, Christian Life, Christianity, Death, Driving, Irony, Near Misses, Salvation, Second Chances | 16 Comments

Gas Pumps Give me Gas

In the interest of making sure that my stuff gets read — the long posts seem to get overlooked lately — I’ll keep this one short…

87       93         89

89       93         87

89       87         93

Does anyone notice how, when pumping gas, the stations list the octane levels in NON-sequential order?

Maybe I’m cynical, but I don’t think so. They do it so that unsuspecting drivers mistakenly get the 89 or 93 octane fuel by mistake. I’m sure of it.

It’s not enough that the lowest octane costs more than a movie ticket! They have to gouge out enough for the popcorn, too! “Gitcho hand out my POCKET!”

More “crooked preacher” stuff to come.

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Cars, Driving, Fuel, Gas Prices, Life, Oil, Oil Companies, Pet Peeves, Rant | | 5 Comments

The Only Pets I Have Are PEEVES!*

We all have things that boil our blood.

 Driving puts us in an environment where, while we are living life in immediate  contact with the rest of the world, we can instantly be killed or maimed for life because of someone else’s incompetence or inattention. One person’s moment of stupidity can steal your loved ones from you forever. Maybe that is part of the reason for road rage… I doubt if stagecoach drivers got into it with folk in covered wagons to the degree that we do nowadays!

I don’t rage on the road, but here are a few things about inconsiderate drivers that elevate my “prusha”**, as they say;

 “Get off the phone!!!” Since the cell phone has become so popular, I’ve noticed that every time someone slides over into my lane as I am attempting to pass them, it is because they have a freekin’ telephone up to their ear! As though they are sitting at the kitchen counter waiting for the microwave popcorn to get done, and not in TRAFFIC where people can die! And worst of all is that the phone is on the left ear, and the left arm supporting it is blocking the entire left side of their field of vision! How you gonna drive when half the stuff you need to see is on the other side of your ARM? 

When it’s raining, turn your headlights on!

When it is dusk, turn your headlights on! (NOT just your parking lights, either!) It is not so that YOU can see! It is so that I can see YOU!

If you are pulling out of a parking lot into traffic, and you can’t get up to speed before I slam into you… please wait. If you want to wreck someone else, fine, just let me get out of the way first.

If you DO pull out and see me approaching in that thing stuck to your windshield holding your air freshener, speed up! You’ll only use about 50 cents worth of gas, but you’ll save thousands in blood pressure medication.

If  you are in the left lane, and someone wants to pass you on the freeway, or comes up swiftly, please get out of the way! I don’t care if you ARE doing the speed limit! “Slower traffic, keep right.” That’s why they don’t call it the “meandering lane.”

That being said, don’t tailgate me! You should have left sooner!

If you are approaching a semi in the slow lane, and I am in the fast lane coming fast (faster than YOU), pleeeeeze let me pass before you swerve in front of me, causing me to stomp on my brakes to keep from parking in the trunk of your humongous white Crown Victoria! That shiny thing hanging outside your door is not for killing mailboxes, it is for noticing that there are other people on the road, too.

Speaking of Crown Vics, why do you elderly drivers invariably buy those behemoths knowing they look JUST like state troopers? You guys scare the $&^* out of me!!!

If you make a left turn, PLEEEZE turn into the left lane. Don’t swinnnng all the way over to the right! The street is not your personal driveway. The same goes for right turns…

Please don’t put your make-up on while in the driver’s seat. Do I really have to say this? Please don’t pull down the sunvisor to use the mirror to put your make-up on while in the driver’s seat while you are driving your loaded and cocked man-killer!

What geenyass*** thought up the idea of putting a doggone vanity mirror, with lights and everything, on the driver’s side anyway?!? Musta gone to the Kervorkian school of auto design! Is this traffic, or Patti LaBelle’s dressing room?!?

People don’t kill people. People on phones in cars kill people.

Don’t Drive Dumb, folks. Think and Drive. Thank you.

*Or: Driving Me CRAZY!

**Blood pressure

***Exceedingly smart individuals

December 2, 2007 Posted by | Cars, Driving, Pet Peeves, Traffic | 5 Comments