Fred Doelker, who writes a great blog called “The Doak TC Safety Page,” recently posted a weekly safety reminder entitled, “Hit Me, I Dare You.” The entry has to do with people who ride bikes or walk and, because they have the law on their side do such things as ride their bikes side-by-side in the street because it’s legal to do so or enter an intersection on a green light without ensuring oncoming vehicles are stopping. Individuals like these are not properly respectful of the damage a two-ton vehicle hurtling down the street (or even cruising slowly) can do to the human body.
These individuals may be right but they may also be dead right. As Fred so aptly puts it about riding his bike in the street: “Unfortunately, that law won’t protect me from the mom zipping her car around the curve yelling at her kids in the back seat, or the 15 year-old that got their license half an hour ago and is texting all his pals to let them know how fast he’s going, or the driver who’s swatting a bee that flew in the window.”
Fred’s post reminded me of a poem I wrote back in college about the topic. It took a while, but I tracked it down and I submit it for your consideration…and maybe to let you know why I did not become a poet. Anyway, it fits the topic.
Is Right Might?
There’s a grave up on a hillside, near a road that’s paved with tar,
that’s the grave of Henry Strickle, who was run down by a car.
Now this Henry was good-looking; a handsome creature he,
with long blond hair all shiny and his eyes blue as the sea.
But Henry wasn’t perfect, he had faults like me and you.
For Henry was real stubborn, just as stubborn as a mule.
But Hank would not admit this. He would say that’s just not true,
“It’s that I’m not fickle, what I first decide, I do.
I do not go ‘round changing, my mind 10 times a day,
like all the spineless creatures you meet along life’s way.
“If a man’s to be a true man, he must also do what’s right.
He cannot back down from his stand, even though it means a fight.”
Do not back down, defend your rights, was the motto he repeated.
For whenever right is on your side, you’ll never be defeated.
And Hank was not a hypocrite. He lived by what he’d say.
He did at least ‘til late last year (t’was a dark and rainy day).
He was at a busy corner and was crossing with the green,
when a lady right beside him let out a mighty scream.
For a big old black Desoto was headed right their way,
now the lady ran back to the curb, but Henry chose to stay.
So it’s clear our Hank was in the right and his principles were strong.
But he now is lying just as dead as if he’d been all wrong.
I ask you keep Hank top of mind, when crossing with the light.
And even when you have the green look both ways: left and right.
For standing strong for what is right will often get you far,
but that, my friend, is not the case, should you tangle with a car.