Thursday, July 30, 2009

A 100% True Parable

Back in my college years, I'd spend most of the year off at school, 3 1/2 hours away from home. But in the summer, I'd move back in with my parents. It was always good to come back and reconnect with my family and my friends. I worked hard in the summers, once finagling a way to work 27 straight days at my summer employer. When you combined those long hours with the fact that I spent all of my free time with friends and family, I'm a little surprised my parents' neighbors even recognized me.

The last summer I lived at home I was finally of legal drinking age. One Sunday, my long time best friend and I decided to partake in two of our favorite pastimes-drinking and a home run derby (think the 1960's TV show, only on a rustic softball diamond). I don't recall who won the nine inning affair, but I do remember that we finished our six pack on that humid, 85 degree day and decided that we wanted to head to a bar to get some grub and another ice cold beverage.

We headed back to my parents' place. The 'cool' athletic shorts of the day didn't have pockets, so I'd left my wallet and keys there. Much to my surprise, they had a life. I tried the doors, only to find that they were all locked. Here I was, hungry and thirsty with no money or ID, and I had no keys with which to enter the house. But much like today, I was a problem solver. So I found the only way into the house without a key.

My solution had two significant problems, though. One, it was neither particularly quiet nor quick. Two, it was quite visible to the entire neighborhood and the very busy road in front of the house. Of course I was 21, so I was going to do what I wanted to do (eat and drink), consequences be damned. I'll tell you the truth, though, I was scared out of my mind that someone new to the neighborhood might call the cops on me. After all, here I was breaking into my own house. How was I going to explain that to the police? And they'd be right to be skeptical of my story. Who breaks into their own house for God's sake? Most people have a spare stored someplace or they call the locksmith, right?

I knew that if someone in the neighborhood didn't recognize me and called 911, I was going to have to be on my absolute best behavior because no good cop was going to believe my story without proof. With exceptional behavior, I might get enough patience from an officer to find a person or persons to vouch for me. But with obstinate behavior, I knew that the day was ultimately going to end with my parents vouching for me down at the local jail. The fact that I am 1/4 Chippewa never even entered into the equation for me. What I was doing was highly suspicious behavior for anyone, and I knew the police had the duty, if called, to get to the bottom of the story. Thankfully for me, my neighbors still did recognize me and did not call the police.

I think that my approach to breaking into my own house was enveloped with a lot of common sense (if disregard) as to the potential consequences. In fact, if the police found anyone, even my dad, trying to break into the house, I hope they'd treat the situation with extreme caution. But for some people, victimhood is their self identity, and common sense can't prevail. Their entire worldview is wrapped up in the belief that others are out to get them and they lose the ability to decipher between "protective" and "abusive".

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