Maxwell, the Geico pig, and his trooper pal
Note to self: No matter how bad things ever get, forget about a career as a criminal. No cheating on taxes. No refilling yesterday's cup at the McDonald's self-serve island. No ripping tags off old mattresses.
As Charlie Brown (no, not that cartoon guy) once said in song: "You're gonna get caught, just you wait and see ... Why's everybody always pickin' on me?"
Now it's not that I would ever think of doing something underhanded or untoward, but trust me, I know that with my luckless history, I undoubtedly would be instantly caught in the act. Post haste. PDQ. ASAP.
It happened again last night.
I was leaving the Banner Graphic office at 9 p.m., got in the Jeep ready to bolt the parking lot and add a couple clicks to its 270,530-mile resume, when I rolled down the windows to let the August steam out.
A kid on a bike rides right past the driver's side with some bad news: "You've got a headlight out."
OK, a headlight out. Not headline news. And certainly not a problem at 9 p.m. on a humid Wednesday evening in Greencastle.
So I flip on the high beams (since they both work) and rumble off north on 231. Literally three blocks and 15 seconds from being advised of my latest misfortune, I pass a City Police car pulling away from the station on the west side of the road.
Initially I assume he's headed south and maybe didn't see my Jeep had become a Cyclops since I really didn't want to blind oncoming traffic.
But as I go over the railroad tracks past the final resting place of The Monon, I see police lights in my rearview mirror.
Pulling over at Muffler Connection, I have to chuckle to myself in disbelief over another dose of my luckless timing.
And my mind immediately goes to my favorite current TV commercial. It's the one in which Maxwell, the Geico pig, is stopped by a state trooper, who then asks the porker, "You know why I pulled you over today?"
"Because I'm a pig?" he asks, pausing to add, "driving a convertible?"
The trooper dutifully responds in character -- not with a clipped yes or no that would have made Sgt. Joe Friday smile -- but tersely enough with "Tail light's out. Fix it."
Honestly, that's all I can think about as I await the Greencastle officer's arrival at my side. I keep hoping it is one of the guys I know fairly well.
I'm even thinking, if he asks me, "Do you know why I pulled you over tonight?" I'm just going to lose it. I'll probably just impulsively blurt out, "Because I'm a pig, driving a convertible."
Then I look up to see the smiling face of Officer Kyle Lee, a personable young man who calls me "Partner."
But seeing him throws me off my game, and I jump the gun and steal his line.
"I know why you stopped me tonight," I say to him, adding all the details of finding out about the headlight issue now about a minute earlier.
The GPD officer smiles, chuckles a little at the irony of my story while knowing I'm certainly going to get it fixed (already did Thursday morning for $11.76, installed and all at Auto Zone. Thanks, Andy).
"You're OK, Partner," Officer Lee says, "You're OK."
Easy for you to say, Kyle. Easy for you to say.