By Dick Wolfsie
“Have you been drinking?” asked the officer (politely, I might add), when he stopped me on Broad Ripple Avenue in Indianapolis, after I had turned off of Keystone. I was on my way to do a WISH-TV remote shoot, my usual Sunday morning beat.
“Drinking?” I said with a bit more hubris than is generally advisable when addressing a law enforcement officer. “It’s 9:30 in the morning.”
“When is the last time you had a drink?”
“I don’t remember.”
“That’s not a good sign, sir.”
“That’s not what I mean. I think I had a beer three nights ago,” I stammered. Stammering, by the way, is also not recommended during a situation like this.
The officer then explained that when I made my turn, I “nicked the median with my front tire,” and that in his experience as a police officer, “this usually means the person has had a few too many.”
“Officer, this is silly. I’m not drunk. I’m just a lousy driver.” As you can see, I was having trouble saying precisely what I meant to say. Another bad sign, by the way.
The officer went back to his car with my registration. A few minutes later he returned to my vehicle. “Have you ever been arrested?”
“Arrested? Look, I know you’re just doing your job, officer, but other than having a few books overdue at the library, I’ve never been in trouble in my life.”
“Sir, I am going to let you go, but based on your careless turn, I would be justified in giving you a breathalyzer test to see if you are legally drunk.”
“If it’s legal, what’s the problem?”
(Author’s note: I just made up that last line. But the rest of the story is 100 percent true.)
When I got home, Mary Ellen asked me why I was so late. I told her that when I made a left turn off of Keystone I hit my front tire on the median and a cop pulled me over for being intoxicated.
“You do that all the time. Why didn’t you tell him you’re just a lousy driver?”
“I did tell him that.”
Mary Ellen burst out laughing. “I was kidding. I can’t believe you said that.”
The more I thought about this incident, the angrier I got. I called my friend Bob and told him the story.
“That’s amazing. How do these things always happen to you?” asked Bob. “And the funny part is, you’re a good driver.”
“I am.” (Of course not — I was being sarcastic, and I’m pretty certain he was, too.)
This faulty left-hand turn made me paranoid about my driving ability. So yesterday morning I went back to that corner and performed the same maneuver multiple times. In nine out of 10 attempts, I was successful in negotiating the pesky median that separates the opposing traffic lanes in the street.
If I were a baseball player, that would be a .900 average. However, it wouldn’t be for hitting. It would be for missing.
Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.