The day after the Colorado theater shootings broke I was leaving Easy Killingly, Connecticut, heading to my next tour oasis, Becket in the Berkshires. The truck had been acting funky, a condition that had made my mechanic scratch his head: alternately charging and discharging the battery. I left it running almost everywhere I went, afraid I’d break down where I couldn’t do a bloody thing about it.
Passing Chicopee the town with a funny name reached out and cursed me, “How dare you even think my name is funny?” …and the truck died. Basically: battery dead, discharged.
Apologies were offered when the police help line wouldn’t pick up and 911 was the only option I knew of. “We’ll be there in 15 minutes.” Yeah, right, after almost 2 hours the guy showed up with a cynical grin. $116 dollars later I was at a Pep Boys where I slept in my truck for the night. They’re working on it now.
Yes, I know Pep Boys likes to find extras to tack on the bill. (They did, but not that bad and maybe a necessary “extra.”)
The guy with the tow service kept saying, “I’m just trying to ‘help’ you here.” No, you’re making a living, no problem with that. In fact I applaud that line of work: to a certain extent. I’m sure you all know what that “extent” is, especially the tow guy in the 80s who told me: broken ribs, waiting to go to emergency, that unless I signed the vehicle over to him right then he’d tow it somewhere I’d never find and then charge me storage. So, pal, just don’t posing as just some good Samaritan, cause I ain’t buying.
But even now I have good feelings about it all…
Two gentlemen stopped and tried to help. One even had a tow ball and was going to tow me to WalMart where I’d buy a battery and a charger, having found the charger I had with me was shot.
They didn’t need to stop. Not sure I would have. I’ve seen stuff on the road, and scams, that would make me drive right by. But this has happened a few times before: like the guy who towed me and my trailer in southern Georgia to the next exit: free. Yes, “southern Georgia.” He refused to be paid. I had run out of gas because the needle was funky. That’s how I found out it was funky.
Then I think of Columbine, the more recent tragedy in Colorado where one boy died by saving his girlfriend from a bullet. To give myself a little credit, after feeling bad about my reluctance to stop, I have been the first to pull people out of a car that had hit a tree, to direct traffic around a lady who wanted to leave her big truck in the middle of the road around a sharp Berkshire corner, and got another lady to turn her car off when it was smoking after the front left wheel had popped off… the front end had dragged about a hundred feet.
Of all these acts of goodness I’ve seen I’ve never observed it’s only Christians, only people on the Right, or Left. Indeed all this seems to go beyond atheism, theism or political skew.
Yes, dear readers, there is something immensely good in us, if we let it out. And sometimes we pay when we do try to help, so we do need be careful. Note: of the two who stopped to help one was whiter than I am and more middle class, the other: Hispanic had dropped pants and a lot of tattoos.
So be careful with assumptions you make even when you do try to help others, or help your community. The Black kid may just be headed home with Skittles and a drink.
I have yet to get my bill, but no matter what happens I feel there’s something good in humanity. And if we focus more on the heroes in Colorado or 9/11, and those who help us when we’re stranded, maybe the good will grow within us, then bud like a bush or tree. Next comes the flowers.
Certainly it will improve humanity’s lot beyond and far above the times we hack each other apart over partisan or religious issues, or fire into a crowed theater.
We’re better than that.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved