By Jordan W. Charness
“It’s not fair!” Peter exclaimed quite loudly the other day.
“What’s not fair?” I asked.
“Life!” Was his petulant reply.
No kidding. As almost any parent has told their child at least 100 times, life is not fair. But then again no one ever promised that it would be. Some days it just does not pay to get out of bed. Peter had had one of those days.
After hearing his latest tale of woe I had to agree with him. In this particular case life was not fair. At least it was not fair to him. Hopefully, on another day, today’s injustices could be remedied. But for today.
Today had started out pretty much like any other day. Peter got up way too early in the morning and helped his wife Mary get the kids ready for school. Since it was not his turn to do carpooling he had a few more minutes to get himself ready and that extra time flew by. He left the house a few minutes late.
Since he was now later than usual he was also stuck in traffic. Normally, Peter tries to leave the house early enough every morning so that he would avoid the worst of the rush-hour. Not today.
Isn’t it odd that on the same day of the week, just one week apart, traffic patterns can be very different? You would think that Wednesday morning traffic rush hour would be pretty much the same, at least throughout the same calendar month. But today, there seemed to be double the amount of traffic on the roads. In a perverted way this made sense. Today, Peter had an important meeting at work scheduled for the first thing in the morning. Alas it was not meant to be.
Peter was driving along at less than the speed limit due to traffic conditions. He noticed that the car ahead of them had come to a complete stop, and being the cautious driver that he is, he had left himself plenty of room to stop as well. He came to a complete stop about one metre behind the car ahead of him.
He looked at his rearview mirror and was mortified to see that another car was barreling down the road without any obvious indication of slowing down. He was right. It didn’t slow down. In fact it rear ended him and pushed him into the car ahead of him.
One minute ago he had been merely late for work. Now he was the stuffing in an accident sandwich. Fortunately the whole thing happened at no more than 30 km/h and no one was hurt. The three cars were stuck together causing an even larger traffic jam.
Peter got out of his car and asked the driver of the car that had hit him for his driver’s license, car registration and insurance papers. The law requires that all drivers carry these three pieces of identification with them any time they are behind the wheel of a car. While the driver of the car ahead of him had her papers, the guy who caused the accident had “left his papers at home”.
While Peter was trying to sort all this out, a police officer arrived. Once he ascertained that no one was hurt and that the cars were drivable he ordered the three drivers to pull their cars to the side of the road.
The cop then asked everyone what happened. All three drivers agreed that the accident was the fault of the driver who had rammed Peter. Peter pointed out that the guy didn’t even have his license, registration and insurance papers on him. The cop asked if this was so and took the driver into his cruiser so that the police car’s computer could be used to verify whether or not he really did have a driver’s license.
While he was doing this Peter asked what he should do since he was late for work. The policeman assured him that the driver had given his real name and address and he told Peter to report it to his insurance company.
“While you’re here, let me see your driver’s papers please,” the policeman politely asked Peter.
“Why me?? I’m the victim here. He is the one who smashed into me and he doesn’t even have his papers with him!” Peter answered.
“This is just routine and nothing personal but I need everything for my report” was the reply. “Did you know that your driver’s license has expired?”
“No way!” Exclaimed Peter. “I’m sure that I paid it this week. Maybe my check didn’t arrive or it wasn’t registered into the computer. I don’t know.”
Peter was given a ticket for driving without renewing his driver’s license. He was told that if he could prove to the judge that he had paid his license then he would not have to pay the fine.
To add insult to injury, that night while he was driving home, Peter received another ticket for driving with broken taillights. In fact his taillights had been smashed in the accident that morning and he had not taken the car in to be repaired. Since the car was drivable he forgot that his taillights were inoperative. Since daylight hours in the winter are so short, he forgot that he would be driving home in the dark. Now he has one more story to tell to the judge.
He was right about one thing though. Sometimes life is not fair!