Saw a police van and immediately slowed down while driving.
I do it all the time, even if I’m well within the speed limit. Habit, I guess. Always feel that I’ve done something wrong. Guilt seems to rise to the surface whenever I see police.
It can happen in a restaurant. I could be clean as a whistle. (By the way, what does that really mean? A lack of spittle in the whistle? Then it would be “dry” as a whistle, right?) I mean, I could be holding nothing — nothing that could even vaguely resemble contraband –no drugs, no weapons, not even an impure thought or desire. And here it comes, a big: “uh, oh, what did I do?”
Is it simply human nature? Perhaps a trace of left-over “Original Sin” that nuns used to ram down some of our Catholic-growing-up throats?
Or, are we really still rebels deep inside; wanting to live our lives outside the box, have fewer restraints, fewer “shall-nots.” Remember, there were more than 10 Commandments presented by God to Moses. He ended up chiseling just the first ten into stone for the Israelites. You look at a Bible and I think you may find dozens, if not hundreds, of more orders given to the “Chosen People” from on High.
Police represent authority. We gladly grant them that for our own protection, and we praise the men and women who give us their all through their career choices. At least, I have grown to feel this way.
Yet, I remember a time growing up and fearing the police who sometimes went beyond the law to enforce the law. Particularly, against us “corner loungers,” the kids that didn’t disperse as quickly as a rookie cop may have liked; or the ones that couldn’t keep their mouths shut and had to say something that got us all in trouble with the police. When a cop couldn’t figure who broke “his” law, then we all got blamed for doing it.
Still, you could have grown up with no juvenile delinquents in your block or town. You could be the most law-abiding youth ever to be raised in these United States of America. I bet you still get a slight twinge when you see police, a twinge that at least one, or perhaps both, of your parents instilled in you while correcting some early wayward action. Admit it.
And that’s okay.
I think it has to do with the child in us. The child that knows perfection doesn’t exist, and that we all fall short of somebody’s rule. Police become a reminder that we are still trying to improve our lot, and there will be failings; we’ll always make some mistakes and ignorance of the law will never be a valid defense.
I guess I’ll take comfort the next time I feel like “ducking” upon seeing the “Man.”( Philadelphia lingo for the police.) They’ll be a reminder that I am only human, mistake prone, and how I need to keep “practicing” if I ever want to come close to perfection.
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Another thought. Do you think Jesus or Buddha ever had a “twinge” when seeing authority? Christ never had a liquor license for changing water into something more “libatious” did he? And what ordinance do you think Buddha sidestepped when seeking alms outside village gates? Both spoke to large assemblies with no prior government permits. And both preached about a “Higher Authority,” that required no permission to leave a physical state to visit a spiritual one: “Heaven” in one language, “Nirvana” in another. You could skip the visas or passports when you traveled “within,” they might have told their followers.
Don’t feel as bad about the police now. It’s always good to look at law from a historic, spiritual perspective, doesn’t it, my “law-abiding” friend?