Paulelmo's Blog

So, yeah, I drove into the side of a moving cop car while drunk (There’s just no telling the crazy things a person might be thankful for, Part 2)

“He who considers the consequences cannot be brave.” an Ingush Proverb

Thy will be done.

A guy drives into the side of a cop car, while drunk. No, that isn’t the beginning of a joke; it really happened. The guy was me, and that was in April of 2004. I’m sure that I’ll fill you in on all of the details of that life-changing day at some point, but that would just be a tangent today.

Today, what matters is that it happened and that, during this week of giving thanks, it is one of the happenings for which I am most thankful. That, of course, was not the case that first day after it happened. That day, which I spent in the lovely confines of South Central Regional Jail’s C Block, was one of the longest and most miserable days I’ve ever lived. I wasn’t thankful for my accident that day; I was sad and I was embarrassed, and I felt guilty and afraid.

Still, I think there was a part of me that was relieved. I think I knew I had reached a point I needed to reach and that things had to start looking up from there. Maybe that’s just the mind I have now thinking that’s what I should have been thinking, I don’t know, but I always go back to Chazz Palmintieri’s line in The Usual Suspects where he tells Verbal that the thing that tells you the guilty guy is the one who can get some sleep. Well, I had been the guilty guy, and it must have been some kind of relief to realize I’d been exposed.

I was lost during that period and had been for the entirety of the four months since I had graduated from State. I had graduated, and it hadn’t turned out to be the be all and end all I had hoped and expected it would be. I was still tending bar, still struggling with my writing, and still wrestling with my drinking. The only thing that was much different in my life was that I didn’t have the grounding that school offered. Yes, I had the degree, but a BA in English, with a focus on Professional Writing, wasn’t going to do much but make me eligible for grad school with my writing all over the place like it was.

I had been spiraling out of control, and if I wasn’t somewhat relieved that day after my accident, I should have been.

The thing I know now is that God was giving me what I needed, and He was doing so in fairly easy fashion. You might think there could be nothing easy about driving into the side of a cop car while drunk, but it was all easy. Nobody got killed or even wounded badly. So, everyone being fine and cars being replaceable, I incurred the only real costs, and what I took from the experience was well worth those.

So, in this season of Thanksgiving, I have to be thankful that that happened. Yes, people were hurt, but nothing was broken that couldn’t be fixed. My mother was probably hurt more than anyone, but I think if you asked her today if she sees the benefit from it, I think she’d tell you that she does.

That’s the thing about it, we don’t know ultimately what is going to make us happy. We don’t know really if something is a good thing or a bad thing for us when it happens because we can’t see the future that comes with it. Look at all those people who win the lottery and think that all of their problems have been solved, how many of them wind up more broke and miserable than they were before they got the money? Think about all of those famous athletes and actors who end up miserable and broke or dead even…. All of those people had things happen to them that seemed to be outstandingly fortuitous but which ended up being part of the structure of later misery.

Then, think of the people who have rotten things happen to them and who find new leases on life. Think of the addict who overdoses and flat-lines, but who is revived to a life where he or she becomes a counselor or a therapist and helps many other sufferers to better lives. And think of the cancer survivor, all of the times he or she might have cursed God or fate as they went through the fear and the chemo, whatever all horrible things cancer patients have to endure, but who beats it and writes a book that helps other patients better endure those hardships.

So, repeating what bears repeating, we don’t ultimately know if something is going to make us happy until we see where it leads. That being so, I just assume that everything is going to ultimately make me happy. I know the life I get is the life God has for me and that He has a knowledge of what I need that I can’t begin to comprehend. (If it helps you to think of a different higher power, then that’s your choice; I don’t think that sharing my belief in God is prerequisite to having a positive outlook on life.)

So I just try to take it as it comes, assuming that things are going to turn out well.

Simon had pretty severe jaundice when he was born, and when he was eight days old went to Hershey Children’s Hospital for five or six days. It was pretty rough going, really terrifying stuff. That first day he was so dehydrated that they worked for more than half an hour, maybe more than an hour–all I know is that it seemed like forever–trying to get an IV into him. That was probably the most afraid I’ve ever been. I had been in other situations as fearful possibly, but those were probably situations I could have imagined. I had never had reason to contemplate newborn babies so dehydrated that there’s a chance they won’t be able to give them an IV to give them what they need.

They finally got an IV into his head–another thing that I’d never had reason to contemplate–and on the fourth day we were there I was down in the gift shop for something, and there was a sign for sale that read something to the effect of “There’s only two ways to look at life; you either think that everything is a miracle, or that nothing is.” I didn’t buy the sign; I already had it. And now you do. Hope it helps.

So, this week when we’re celebrating and contemplating what we’re thankful for, what I’m thankful is an easy question to answer; I’m thankful for all of it.

Be well, lovelies; I’m praying that your day is simply splendid.

  • I have a request. Many of the you that I see daily don’t know about this happening, so, before you ask, yes that really did happen. My mentioning it here doesn’t mean that I care to talk about it, and my wife didn’t even know me at the time, and while she knows about all of that, I can’t imagine she cares to see it mentioned either. Thanks.

2 Replies to “So, yeah, I drove into the side of a moving cop car while drunk (There’s just no telling the crazy things a person might be thankful for, Part 2)”

  1. Romans 8:28-All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose. Amen. Much love to all.

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