Thursday, May 11, 2006

Revenge of the Words

from James

The week started on a bad note. I got a ticket for "failure to come to a complete stop" at a Stop sign. This was my second ticket for the same alleged offense since January, both from the same police department. I'm not one to make excuses, but this is the kind of small town police force that will give you a speeding ticket for doing 31 in an 30 mile per hour zone, and that hovers over your parking meter waiting for the time to run out. So I shouldn't have been surprised when they gave me a ticket for allegedly "rolling" through a stop sign while making a right turn onto a completely deserted road. In truth, I did stop, but what I didn't do is count to ten, have a cup a coffee, make a few phone calls, clean out my console--and then go. That seems to be the law here.
But that's not my point. I went home with the urge to make this certain arrogant cop a character my next novel -- maybe a drug dealer or male prostitute or the victim of some awful murder. But then I realized that I would merely be granting him the proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. People actually pay money at auctions to be the next murder victim in Lisa Gardner's novels. Why should I immortalize this chump for free? So I decided not to do it. But part of me still felt like he deserved the "revenge of the words." And then it happened. I was driving in my neighborhood, stopping at every Stop sign, when I saw a sign on the side of the road that I had never noticed before. The city had named that section of the street in honor of a police officer who had been killed in the line of duty. My next thought is that the cop who gave me that cheeky ticket probably knew this fallen officer. Maybe they were even friends. And I suppose this is where my Catholic upbringing kicks in, but then I think, boy, wouldn't I have felt guilty if I had maligned this brave officer's best friend and mentor for merely doing his job and giving me a ticket? What's next -- kicking puppies? I guess I'm not cut out for revenge. Tough way to go through life . . . especially in Miami.

James Grippando


  1. Wait a actually stop at stop signs in Florida? Whoa! What a concept. I think that's against the law in Los Angeles.

  2. Although I've had two friends who got ticketed for jaywalking in LA. So, like, *any* kind of driving is fine, it's just walking that's illegal?


  3. Cornelia, you catch on fast. We Angelenos officially adopt you as one of our own.

  4. Funny, but my wife was stopped by a motorcycle cop from the same department for "rolling" a stop sign AND talking on her cell phone. But she didn't get a ticket. Gee, I wonder why that is?

  5. We have four law-enforcement agencies with "ticketing" rights in the town where I live, so you can barely leave your drive without a serenade of horns and flashing lights. I was driving along behind my brother a year or so ago, and saw him roll through a stop sign right in front of a black and white. "Oh, you are so nicked!" I said aloud ("nicked" is a British term for being hauled in by the police). As I drove past trying not to look, John and the officer were in deep conversation, so I went straight to my brother's house to await his return. Minutes later he stepped from his car grinning. "So, did y'get a ticket?" I inquired. "'Course not." he replied, "I asked him if he was often taken for Vin Diesel, so we ended up talking about movies."

    My bro wasn't wearing his seatbelt either.

    Don't know what the lesson is here, but I am sure there is one.

  6. OK, I am beyond technologically challenged. That last comment was from me, your fellow Naked Author, Jackie, now laid bare as the computer twit. Heaven only knows how this correction will turn out, but believe me, I am going absolutely nowhere near my car again today - with this kind of weird stuff going on around me and machinery, I am bound to be stopped for rolling through something!