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Posts Tagged ‘speeding’

I’ve heard it said that there is nothing common about common sense, and I fear this notion to carry with it a certain element of truth. After all, there’s a reason two-liter bottles of soda bear a caution on their labels about pointing the cap away from the face when opening in order to avoid losing an eye. And “hot” coffee, when ordered, is obviously “hot,” but sometimes a small reminder like, “CAUTION: COFFEE IS HOT!” is a comforting sight printed on steaming cardboard and styro-foam coffee cups. In the end, the lack of “common sense” humans sometimes practice can cost a lot of companies a lot of money. For those of us farther down the food chain without a corporate reputation to protect, ignorance just costs us inconvenience, loss, and even pain.

Regardless, we could make light of scenarios like those above (what some of us refer to as “Jedi Mind Tricks”) all day. For example, consider how entertaining this lapse in common sense is…A young man, completely distracted, decides to drive a Ford F-250 pickup truck (a multi-ton projectile as solid as a tank) at speeds in excess of the city speed limits all while using his cell phone! Hilarious, right? Probably not. Most definitely not. Why? Because when your sister-in-law is sitting in her car, stopped in traffic, and that truck strikes her, throttles her seventeen feet down the street and into the rear end of a car carrying an elderly couple, and everything she feels and thinks from that moment on is as painful and twisted as her damaged spine, her fragile psyche, we shudder at the thought that the boy’s sense in that moment was frightfully common. That’s right, common. The number of drivers—civilian, official, and law enforcement alike—who have or will text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, is staggering. Seriously.

If the accident that crushed my sister-in-law had happened on a highway, no one would have survived. No one. I guess on that day, we were all lucky. Instead of finding herself laying down inside her car, eyeglasses somehow on the hood of the truck that had hit her, foot locked down on the brake, dazed, frozen, confused…Instead of still picking glass out of her hair hours later, or easing her into an ambulance to get her to the hospital…But there’s no need to imagine a scenario that’s becoming all too familiar in this country. Somewhere, on some city street or interstate thoroughfare, people are dead and people will die because of cell phones and automobiles. And we will pretend that there was and is nothing we could or can do. We will continue to wonder how these things could happen, and thus only validate the maxim that there is absolutely nothing common about common sense.

The bright side, at least for us? My sister-in-law will smile again (she’s already started to). Someday, though she doesn’t quite believe it now, she’ll walk a little farther than a handful of steps, and she’ll get her balance back. She won’t always have to sleep sitting up in a recliner. Someday, she’ll be able to dance again…she’ll drive again without panicking. She’ll be able to at least ride as a passenger in a car without losing her voice to the paralysis of fear. Someday, the countless injections of steroids and painkillers, the trauma and discomfort of the multiple surgeries to fuse vertebrae and screw bones together, will only be a memory, less painful, less horrible. She can’t turn her head just yet to look over her shoulder to catch a glimpse of that danger she doesn’t realize isn’t really there. But someday…yes, someday.

So, drive…go for a ride. Go to the store, to the movies, to school…to the prom. But turn off the phones. No call, no text is ever as important as your life, our culture, my sister-in-law. Let’s make sense common and think about the consequences of our actions before acting. Let’s try to live by the very lessons that we demand our children learn. Why not? It just makes sense…right?

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