It’s 3 a.m.
You are somewhere far from home. Perhaps you are on a business trip or visiting a friend and find yourself in a little fart of a town, where the virgin hooker is home for a rest.
Everyone is asleep or they are curing a hangover.
Even the birds and rodents have no use for this dead hour of the night and are fast asleep.
Everything is still and motionless, yet here you sit.
You sit and stare at the red traffic light. You are stopped. You are patiently waiting for it to change.
You look left. You look right. You check your rear-view mirror. You look left and right again.
You continue to sit. You obediently wait for green.
Why do we do this? Why don’t we just go?
I am not suggesting we should break traffic laws and make our roads any more dangerous than they already are. I am simply wondering why we silence our gift of reason sometime, in order to live in total blind obedience.
Why do we wait for a new year to get our act together? Why do we make our resolutions at the end, and when we fail, have such a long road ahead before we try again?
Why do we quit things on Monday?
Why smoke that one last cigarette? What is the reason we should finish the last pack? Why be obedient to our impulses, when they are clearly somewhat perverse.
If you were to find yourself drinking turpentine, and suddenly realized what was happening, you wouldn’t think to yourself, this will kill me, I’ll stop Monday. You wouldn’t dare finish the glass.
God hates a quitter.
Our whole tradition of having a bachelor party is another great example of blind obedience to a life of pleasure and excess. We publically profess to seek our happiness in commitment and monogamy, but we celebrate our new union with a night of drunken debauchery.
Sometimes we get sick. We all do. We know and we feel rotten. We should have stayed home, but yet, we do not, and we ask our boss permission to get well. We make the assumption that everyone automatically concludes we are lying. We so worried what our boss will think or do, that it cripples us. Why do we sit at that red light? Why do we allow other people to determine our existence?
Frank Sinatra did it his way.
Well, actually, he did it the Canadian way, by rerecording Paul Anka’s classic, but the lesson is the same.
Next time you are at a traffic light, or feel you need to seek permission to do what you need to do. Don’t.
Squeal those tires and let that rubber burn, baby.
Go and don’t look back.