Friday, August 14, 2015

Safety First

George Bernard Shaw said, "Youth is wasted on the young."  I can tell you about one youth who almost wasted the rest of his summer, if not his life, just yesterday afternoon.

I was on the way to an appointment and was driving in front of Parkville Middle School.  I saw a kid on a skateboard zipping across the parking lot and into the entrance way of the school off Avondale Rd, but I said two things to myself in that 1/10 of a second that life allows you to have these conversations:

a) this kid can't be stupid enough to roll right onto Avondale Road without checking to see if anything is coming

b) better hit the brakes!

 This kid is clearly that stupid.

If you sent out for a skater boy, this is what Amazon would send you.  Skinny as a 2x4, lacrosse hair hanging out of a backward baseball cap, headphones stuck in his ear, Ravens T-shirt, some sort of baggy shorts.

Suddenly he saw me!  And he jumped off the board and responded to my horn and my opprobrious look.  I lowered my window down and gave him The Look.  He said, "I'm sorry, mister; I wasn't paying attention."

I went for the best Lee Marvin or Jack Webb I could give him.  I said, "Son, pay attention out here.  This is life and death out here, with traffic all around."

I think he was totally shaken up as he yanked out the earphones and picked up his board.

I know I was.

And as I drove off, I got to thinking that we have created the greatest system of technology in human history.  This young man was carrying a smart phone on which he has downloaded, maybe, a thousand songs or so, and was listening to some of these digital bits as he careered across the parking lot.

Maybe Apple could include some free life lessons with every download.  "Don't ride your skateboard into oncoming traffic" would be pretty good advice.

This teenager learned it today. And he even called me "Mister"!

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