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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

Speed Demons

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Monday February 18th, 2013 – Black River Falls, WI

   What is it with me and speeding tickets lately? It’s only been in the last few years, but I’ve had way more than I’ve had in the previous twenty plus years combined and I can’t figure it out. As I rapidly approach codgerhood, one would assume that would be one area of life that would ease.

   In my twenties and thirties when I was really banging out the miles I don’t recall getting tickets at all. I may have had oodles of other problems to deal with in life then, but that was never one of them. In fact, if nothing else I had a reputation of talking my way out of any traffic consequences whenever I got pulled over, and it drove my friends crazy. I guess I wasn’t a threat to the police.

   I’ve always been able to talk to cops without fear. Part of the reason for that is my grandfather used to make me ask policemen for directions when we’d go for walks when I was a kid. He had the foresight to pretend we were ‘lost’, and made me give the policeman our address and ask him to tell us how to get home. How brilliant was that? I hope every parent of young kids steals that.

   I got snagged in a speed trap last spring that was a total sham, and I’m still feeling the sting of that one on my insurance. The speed limit went from 55 to 35 in about half a block, and I wasn’t the only one who fell for it. It was a money machine for the tiny town, and I guess it was just my turn. I tried fighting it, but in the end I ended up paying to just make it all go away. What a mess.

   This latest one happened just last month as I was driving in a rental car to a gig in Eau Claire, WI. I was passing a semi to avoid getting stones kicked up from one of the 18 wheels and having to pay for a cracked windshield. It didn’t help my cause any that the rental car had Illinois plates.

   I could tell by the way the trooper goose stepped out of his car that I was in for a ticket before he even got to my window. I felt his ominous vibe, and didn’t try to fight it or talk my way out of it. I tried to put it out of my mind and move on, and I did exactly that. I put it out of my mind so well in fact that I totally forgot about it. Today was my day in court and I needed to take action.

   It was my own fault, and I blame nobody else. I’m sure I’m not the only idiot in the history of traffic violations in small towns that has faced this situation, so I sucked it up and decided to get in my car after The Mothership Connection radio show ended at midnight and drive to the town of Black River Falls, WI to face my consequences. Court was scheduled for 9am and I was there.

   If I could get any part of the $250 fine lowered or any points shaved off, it would be worth this hassle. Two tickets in one year can’t be good for insurance purposes, even at my approaching old geezerly age. It’s not like I’m a habitual criminal, but for whatever reason I’m getting targeted of late. I guess it’s the law of averages, as I’ve driven about ten times more than most other drivers.

   They had me fill out a form pleading not guilty, and I was told that the District Attorney would contact me within a few weeks via mail. I have no idea what to expect, but prudence tells me I’ll be forking out cash at that point. Hopefully my effort will pay off, but who knows? It would sure be nice to catch a break, but the cosmos seems to have other plans. I’ll cross my fingers and wait.

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