There’s a story making the rounds on the Internet today about an elderly couple and their cocker spaniel who were involved in a traffic stop for having tinted car windows that were darker than Georgia law allowed. The over-zealous cop had made them get out of the car and stand along the road for nearly half an hour while he tried to get them to admit they were drug dealers.
Internet outrage abounds. The “victims” have lost all respect for law enforcement. People are screaming profiling, police brutality, “cops are criminals,” all the ugly stuff we hear every day. But for some reason, this really tipped the scales for me. Is Facebook teaching us to carry everything to its illogical conclusion? Have we forgotten how to laugh at the small absurdities?
I was reminded of the only time I was ever accused of drug smuggling. Yep, me. It was 1973, and we were in the process of moving from Key West, FL, to North Bay, Ontario, in the middle of winter. In the car we had a two-year-old and four cats along with suitcases and supplies to last us for a couple of weeks while we waiting to find housing at my husband’s new military assignment. We left Florida in 85 degree weather. Reports said North Bay was at 40 below! We had stopped in Ohio to visit parents and purchase some winter clothing, and my mother (bless her heart!) had stuck in a bag of premium home-grown catnip to keep the kitties mellow on the last leg of the journey.
We arrived at the US/Canada border on a very cold morning, only to be told by the authorities that they needed to search our car. So we unpacked the car and lined up the suitcases, the cat carriers, the boy’s car seat, the disposable litter boxes, the cooler full of snacks, and the carton of emergency household items (aspirin, toilet paper, alarm clock, etc.). And what did those authorities find? That bag of premium home-grown catnip, which they immediately assumed was marijuana. We were there a long time, even feeding the cats some of the catnip just to prove that’s what it was.
We giggled about it then, and still do. It never once occurred to us that we were being profiled or that we were victims of police brutality. We didn’t think to call the officers’ supervisor and demand that they be fired. It was an adventure in absurdity, and it still makes a good story. I’m afraid people are losing the sense of humor that allows them to take the little things in stride. Wouldn’t we all be happier if more people saved their indignity for the real injustices of this world? Surely there are enough of those to go around.