Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Mistakes--From Both Sides

We all make them. Some are no big deal. Others change our lives for better or worse. Some amusing. Some shameful. Nobody's perfect. Here are a few that I found memorable over the last little while. Let's start off with the amusing.

--Mike Shannon has become one of those broadcasters known as much for malaprops as his exciting accounts of Cardinals baseball. Mike's mistake came while chatting on KMOX with partner Wayne Hagin about his enjoyment of day baseball. The "Moon Man" was explaining how the attendance at day games was booming, and said he would prefer to see more games played in the sunshine. Then he proclaimed that he knew why there were so many night games. It went something like this--

"Y'know I'll tell ya why there isn't more day baseball. It's television. Yeah...the television guys dictate the schedule. Heh...heh. And they want all the games played at night for higher ratings. If it wasn't for that...there'd be a lot more day games. Ol' Einstein didn't know what effect it would have on baseball when he invented television...did he?"

Einstein? Television? hmmm..could he have meant Edison? Even Edison doesn't get credit for TV. Maybe its not quite at the level of "I wish you people back in St. Louis could see this full moon", but a pretty good one.

Now, to the serious.

--Is it a mistake to allow teenagers to ride in cars together unsupervised? I'm beginning to think so. After the tragic accident that killed another of our area young people last week, I'm proposing that all parents seriously consider not permitting teens to ride with another teen as driver. Of course, this will be nearly impossible to enforce. But it sure seems worth a try. I know at least one fellow parent who had that policy for his teens while they were living at home. Sure, they took a lot of ribbing from friends. But, guess what? The teens became adults.

We all know that kids have the "invulnerable and indestructible" complex when driving. The car becomes an extension of freedom...a symbol of rebellion... and a tool for expression of teenage excitement. The hormones and adrenaline flow freely through young bodies and overpower most good judgment...especially, and particularly, while in groups. Result: showing off, inattention, speed, accidents and death.

Do we need a law to restrict teens from driving/riding together unsupervised? Nope. We just need to look at what's happening when kids do. Then ask ourselves how we would feel if our child died in an accident with another teen driving. Realize that the "teens gone wild behind the wheel" syndrome could deliver tragedy to our own doorstep just as easily as the people we read about in the paper. Our kid can't control the actions of a friend. We can't be there when that friend is driving 100mph and all our child can do is beg to slow down. Fobidding them to be in that potential situation is the only way I can think of to ensure the poor judgment of someone else doesn't become fatal. Take control of our own children's lives, at least until they're not children anymore.

I'll bet there are some local parents who now think it was a mistake to not have such a policy.

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