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Two Tickets to Paradise

 article about Chuck Scott

It all started on a Tuesday morning last October. I was driving to work in the wee hours of the morning, actually, it was 8:08am, I have proof, or one might say "evidence" of this fact. I was employing my usual "creative" method of driving, those with an untrained eye might interpret it as "reckless", but this is South Chicago, a certain artistic license must be embraced.


It seems to me that you're never called out onto the carpet for your major transgressions, it's the little one's that come back to haunt you. My crime this sunny morning was officially listed as "disobeying a flashing red light". On the surface, this is true, but what you can't garner from the ticket is that this particular flashing light is misguided. There's no reason for me to obey it, because it's metaphorically roaming around an asylum mumbling incoherent instructions on how to make Jell-O. Obeying it would be to condone the lunacy of it's message, and I have reservations about becoming a Nazi to it's Hitler…sometimes you have to make a stand.


It flashes its useless signal atop a wire at 8701 S. Mackinaw; you can Map Quest it if you'd like. If you're going north, the road makes a simple left-hand turn, an inverted "L", if you will, so there is no on coming or cross traffic. If a more meaningless beacon of stupidity exists in the continental United States, I have not seen it. Disobeying it is the only sane option there is! I've even yelled at people who actually stop there, "are you up for safe motorist of the year? Move ya jackass!", or something to that affect. I will sometimes add a slur regarding their home state, vehicle or personal appearance, if needed.


So, on October 29th, 2007 for about the 242nd time this year, or the 2,499th time during my career on this roadway, I rolled through. I noticed a police officer sitting off to the side of the road and immediately assumed there'd been some kind of shooting or drug bust in the area. This neighborhood has a history with crime, so it was good to see the boys in blue keeping our streets safe. He made a U-turn and I briefly thought of my so-called moving violation, but surely…he turned on his flashing blue lights. I thought to myself, he probably just wants me to pull over so he can attend to a domestic battery down the street…nope pulling over right with me…who knows, maybe I match the description of some good looking polygamist on the FBI's most wanted list.


I already had my license out when he got to the car, I find it's useful to move things along; may as well get me and my warning ticket on our way, right? He perused the license.


Cop: "You've got to stop at the flashing light, Charles."


Me: "Yes, of course, I guess you just get used to it day after day."


Cop: "Oh, so you go through it everyday?"


Me: "No…ha, ha, ha…I just…"


Cop: "I'll be right back."


At this point, I pretty much knew that a warning was not coming my way. As he walked back to his car, I noticed a stream of other motorists rolling through the light. This was a massive grassroots movement against municipal oppression, why should I be singled out? The people have spoken, and the flashing red light has been found unnecessary! You're out of order! He's out of order! This whole courtroom's out of order!


I thought of making this argument when he returned with the ticket, but it's never a good idea to argue with a police officer. It's especially not a good idea to argue with a Chicago police officer, Google "1968 riot" and "bartender beating" for exhibits A and B.


I was not happy about this new mark against my record, but if I paid an additional $35 ($110 total) and attended driving school, I could avoid any points against my license, provided I incurred no other violations in the next six months….dun, dun, duuuuuuuun!


Flash to last Friday morning, I'm driving reckle…er, creative through the same neighborhood. I approached the same flashing red light and rolled through, as is the custom. There's a police car in the same spot, it makes the same U-turn, I pull over to the same curb, and the same cop gets out of the same car and I hand over the same license. The stupidity is upon us.


Cop: "You've got to stop at the flashing light, Charles."


Me: "Mmm-hmmm."


Cop: "I'll be right back."


I was momentarily proud of myself for not falling into the same "so, you run it everyday" trap, but the euphoria was fleeting. The same stream of motorists rolled through the flashing light, probably wondering if I was the same moron that they saw getting the same ticket three months ago. How long before the lot of them take to following me everywhere, so I can draw the ire of local law enforcement, while they cruise unmolested to their homes and places of business? Chuck Scott, Idiot Decoy for The Multitudes, I should have cards made up.


I'm now pinning my hopes on contesting this second violation. I know there's no way I can beat this in court, I'm just hoping to drag out the conviction process until my six-month probationary period comes to an end. In the meantime, I'm stopping at the flashing red light, which is causing other drivers to honk and hurl verbal barbs my way; this karmic retribution is far worse than any punishment the courts could administer, I can assure you. I'd like to say I've learned something from all of this, but like I said, I'm a fairly stupid man.



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