I, like most people that are online and “connected”, are inundated with nostalgic emails touting the “good old days”. Some are quite touching in spite of their superficial treatment of history.
Harmless I suppose.
So I thought I would indulge in one of my own.
I received my driver’s license when I was 16 years old (1972, and yes we had cars).
The first time I began conscientiously wearing a seat belt was most likely around 1992 when my daughter, who would have been four years old, was aware enough of the need to tell my wife if I didn’t.
She, of course, took great pleasure in this, I may add.
In those intervening 20 years, I had driven several hundred thousand miles, many of them as a Police Officer, in less then ideally maintained police cars, at high speeds, in all sorts of weather conditions, all without wearing a seatbelt.
I apparently defied the odds.
I miss those days. Sometimes, late at night, on the way home from work, which today consists of a 7.4 mile trip, I release the seatbelt a good .1 miles before I arrive home.
My idea of rebellion having mellowed a bit over the years.
I miss the ingenuity of Americans coming up with ways to defeat those seatbelt warning buzzers and lights.
I miss the days of getting into a car and not having the seatbelt connector act as a surrogate proctologist.
Nostalgia, by it’s very nature, must ignore more truths than it reminds us of but it is a momentary indulgence for which we should all occasionally partake.
In the interest of the full disclosure, while I was on the Police department, I had the occasion to arrive at a car accident in which one of my best friends was involved. He was likely saved by the fact that he was wearing a seat belt.
I went to the hospital with him and took great pleasure in poking at the bruises, with the assistance of the ER physician, left by the seatbelt. I was glad he had the seat belt on. Not only because it offered me a medically supervised way to torture him, but it gave me more years to benefit from the friendship.
A short time after this incident, I received one of the calls cops get all the time in the middle of the night. I answered in my usual way “Hello, who’s dead?”
Th answer was as I had assumed, someone was in fact dead. Another good friend, in a car accident. He hated seat belts as much as I did.
So, enjoy the nostalgia of your past, laugh about the things you remember, the risks you took, but what the hell wear the seat belt.