Make ’em laugh
Last summer I was leaving Aurora, OR, headed for Portland and inadvertently turned southbound on I-5.
Well, not much choice but to go to the next exit and turn around. On that stretch of road there are scales on both sides. I went through the southbound scale and realized the northbound was open also. I thought, “Great, they just may be a tad bit curious as to why I hit the north and south scales within five minutes of each other.”
I got turned around and was headed north approaching the scale trying to come up with an appropriate excuse for my circular route. I could not think of anything halfway valid, so I just decided to go with the truth, fully realizing it could result in an inspection.
I entered the scales and sure enough I got the “park and bring in papers” signal. I went in, and the three officers in the house were all looking at me. One says with a big grin, “Where you headed today, driver?” The other two were snickering behind him, like they had never made a mistake before.
So I said, “Well, I was looking for a fruit stand and it looks like I found it.”
Oh boy. If we’ve learned anything in the many, many years we’ve been driving over the road, it’s this: don’t get smart with anyone with a badge, a gun or some combination of both. It just ain’t worth it. Sure, it feels great for about five seconds, and then reality sinks in, and your chances of ending up dead, wounded, in trouble or in jail (depending on the attitude of the person with the gun and/or badge) goes up exponentially.
The other thing we’ve learned is that officers of the law, DOT inspectors and various other government officials generally don’t have a keen sense of humor – unless, of course, the joke is on you and not them. Case in point: The boys at the scale were all having a good ’ol time at your expense until you turned things around with the “fruit stand” comment.
Bottom line: Sure, your comment was funny to us drivers, but you gotta know your audience. As Donald O’Connor sang in “Singing in the Rain,” “make ’em laugh, make ’em laugh.”
Murphy and Lucky Dog