Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fix your taillight for heaven's sake!

Strange Coincidence

Do you wanna know what the biggest coincidence in the world is? Pretend you do.

No, it’s not that your keys are always in the opposite pocket of your freehand. That’s ceased being a coincidence. The Society for Correctness in Word Usage has now labeled that occurrence as customary. (By the way, the SCWU is having a fundraiser Tuesday evening at The Ice House.)

No, the biggest coincidence in the world has to do with defective taillights. A study at Dartmouth University found that 97.4 percent of all cars with defective taillights are driven by people soon to be arrested for something.

Just odd as it can be. Last week I read about a guy who wasn’t even driving the single tail-lit car. He was just a passenger. Yet, come to find out, there was a felony warrant out on him. Police would not have known to arrest him had he not been in a car with a defective taillight.

I don’t know what that tells you, but it tells me that if you’re gonna do the crime, you’d better check your taillights. It also tells me that the law that prevents felons from keeping company with other felons and from owning firearms should be expanded to include driving a car with more than one taillight operational. We wouldn’t even have to have probation officers. The police would constantly be stopping P.I.s and seeing what they’re up to. – What? Oh, It stands for “Previously Incarcerated.” According to the SCWU, “ex-con” is no longer acceptable.

What makes the defective taillight/criminal ratio all the more bizarro is the fact that I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a car with a defective taillight. I’d come closer to seeing a whopping crane perched on my satellite dish. That must mean that crime is down. Way down.

Used to, it was common as could be to see cars with only one operational taillight… or headlight for that matter. We had a ’54 Ford pickup that came with only one taillight. The left side had a reflector, but no light.

It also had no blinker lights and no power steering. The truck was impossible to steer with one hand, yet, by law, I was supposed to give a hand signal while going into my turn. Couldn’t be done.

Fortunately, I had no police record, or as fate would have it, I would’ve been pulled over every day. – “Mr. Hayter, do you know why I pulled you over?” – “Well, I haven’t checked my taillights, but I assume I must’ve robbed the Sinclair station back yonder. I can’t buy a break.”

So, where am I going with all this, you ask? Well, somebody’s bound to have. The recent article about the defective taillight arrest got me to thinking. When I was young rambunctious teen, Tommy Cromeens and I were pulled over one night at about 1:30. We were out looking to rumble. Or, looking for a 24 hour Shipley’s Donuts.  I can’t remember.

Anyway, the officer pulled us over, put the ol’ light in our faces, studied us for a few seconds and then said, “We were looking for two guys in a car like this. We think they robbed a, uh, a 7/11 on, uh, Burke. Or, Red Bluff. One of those.”  He then suggested we call it a night.”

I didn’t mind the experience at all. Gave me the false impression that I looked tough. We were all the talk at school on Monday. “Hey, they yanked Tommy through the window. Me? I wasn’t going down without a fight.” Our friends wouldn’t have laughed so much had our reputations been just a little tarnished. Turned out to be a big embarrassment.

The weird thing is, had Tommy and I been tokin’ on reefer, or bootin’ the ol’ gong (work with me here), we wouldn’t have been stopped for driving in a car the same model as one involved in a robbery. No, we would’ve been pulled over because we had a defective taillight.

For the life of me, I don’t see how that happens. I imagine any day now the ol’ SCWU is going to change the defective taillight/criminal-pullover occurrence from “coincidence” to “customary.” And, I’m not even sure what that means.


You can view Brad and Mark’s latest restaurant by clicking on photo.


  1. I certainly don't think the crime rate has decreased, so my guess is, criminals are learning to keep their taillights in working order.

  2. Good article Moke! jill