Then a drunk driver
Maybe something told me that this year around my birthday; or just this year in general would be rough. Maybe I just felt it was my time to experience something different then celebration. As we all get older — with every year that passes — the odds and statistics of life start weighing against us. We witness things that may or may not be public historical events; but they will always be a part of our personal history.
My grandfather was born on January 26, 1917. He has been around for much of what I call “current history” (things that are still discussed because more information is becoming declassified). WWI was from 1914 to 1918; WWII 1939-1945; Korean War 150-1953; Vietnam…Gulf War…2004 Iraq War. He has been in wars, seen wars, was alive for the attack on Perl Harbor…JFK assassination. On his birthday in 1986 the first major NASA accident with the space shuttle occurred: Challenger. The automobile was already around (1908 for those that are interested) but television was not, depending on your history teacher. Television’s first drama, “The Queen’s Messenger”, was broadcast from Schenectady, New York station WGY on September 11, 1928 (my grandmother was born on September 11th). A milestone for television…just like September 11, 2001 was a milestone for television.
I recall September 11, 2001 as I stood in Southfield, Michigan; the building I was in housed many Midwest offices for the same companies that were in the World Trade Center. I was at a Microsoft conference and one of the guys standing next to me was trying to call his friend, a coworker for Microsoft that was at the same conference we were at; he was in the World Trade Center.
My brother recalls August 16th, 1987 and the Northwest flight 255 crash; he was on the expressway when the plane hit the road. My parents recall November 22, 1963 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated…they were in their classrooms listening to the news broadcast over the PA system.
There are too many events to write about, too many of friends and family long since past. It’s overwhelming how much one person can see in their life; it is too bad we won’t all get that opportunity.
What about the non public history? Relatives passing on, friends graduating, engagements, parties, having children, anniversaries…
With every year that passes I realize I am getting older not because I feel old, but because “grown up things” are happening more and more. Sometimes things are happy and sometimes things show just how stupid some people are. Other things show hoe one person’s stupidity can hurt another person. First it was great grandparents passing away; then grandparents. Three years ago one of my closest friends lost his father. Two years ago another close friend lost his father. Since 2003 I have had 11 friends get engaged, 2 get married, 2 have kids (not the married ones either!), 2 friends have affairs (not the married ones) and two divorces (again, not the married ones). Since 1999 I known approximately 10 people with MIPs [Minor In Possession] and 4 with DUIs [Driving Under the Influence].
We all make choices in our lives that are both good and bad. Those choices affect other people too; both the good and bad choices can have good and bad effects. However, sometimes we have the opportunity to choose to make a better choice…we just need to make it.
On Tuesday, November 9, 2004 one of my friend’s mothers was killed in a car accident; she was hit by a drunk driver. The is the fourth friend of mine that has lost someone to a drunk driver…and there shouldn’t have ever been a first for me or anyone else in the world.
I know that we can’t live forever and accidents happen. However, we should be given a better opportunity to live our lives without worrying that someone else’s disregard for life will prematurely end ours.
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.