My Name Is Earl

Okay, so it’s not Earl, you know that…but still, karma can be a funny thing.

People often ask “so what do you get out of ITintheD, anyway?”  Which I can understand.  We don’t take kickbacks from bars, we don’t get referral fees from recruiters when someone gets hired, we don’t charge people anything to show up at our events, we spend our own money to pull things together, and this is all done in what I laughingly refer to as my “free time”.

So, the running commentary is that we get to meet a lot of people in the Information Technology industry out here in metro Detroit, including a lot of recruiters that might be able to help us some day should we ever need to find jobs.  Plus, we get to work off some bad karma from our early 20’s…which brings me to my point.

So I get pulled over this morning…

I’m going to leave this semi-vague on location, because…well, I don’t want anyone reading this and then the three of us winding up in a database somewhere flagged as “give a hard time to” as a result of telling this story.

As I’m driving in to work, sure, I saw the two cop cars in the left shoulder.  But I’m in the far left lane and it’s morning rush hour…it’s not like there’s not a solid wall of traffic to my right.  And yes, I am fully aware that you’re supposed to:

1.  Slow down

2.  Pull one lane over and leave them space

I know this, I get this, and I’ve done it a hundred times in the past.

But I didn’t see a break in the lane next to me, and I didn’t feel like it would be a great idea to bring the left lane to a grinding halt by stopping to try and make my way over, and so I reduced my speed and pulled as far to the right as I could without worrying about clipping the mirror of the car in that lane.

That apparently wasn’t good enough.  I guess I should have brought traffic in my lane to a grinding halt, because sure enough, one of the two police cars peeled off, passed two other cars as they pulled over…and got behind me and hit his siren while I was looking (yet again) to pull into the lane to the right and let him go around me.


There are very few feelings in this world worse than seeing flashing lights in your rear view mirror and knowing they’re for you.

My heart starts beating a bajillion miles an hour and my stomach is somewhere around my left knee as I stop.

The officer exits his car, comes up to my window, and proceeds to berate me for not pulling one lane over, and telling me that yes, I really should have brought traffic to a grinding halt to do so.

Being the cowardly kiss ass and suck up that I am, I naturally apologize profusely for my mistaken belief that I was doing “good enough” by slowing down and moving as far over in my lane as I could.

He stands there…just staring at me.

I’m trying to figure out if he’s pissed off enough that he’s just going to shoot me or something.

Finally I ask “Ummm…so, again, I’m exceedingly sorry officer…are we good, sir?”

“We’ll be good as soon as I give you a ticket for failing to move over for an emergency vehicle.  License, registration and proof of insurance.”


Sighing mightily, I reach into my glove compartment, grab my registration and insurance card, and hand them over along with my license.

He goes back to his car to write up my ticket.

Time to look at my list again…

He returns a few minutes later, and hands me my license, registration and insurance back…

…but no ticket.

I’m confused.

I turn back out my window, and say “Ummm, sir?  So…are we, ummm…all good here?”

He scowls again, and says “Yeah, we’re good.  Look, I know you’re a busy guy Mister Phillips, what with your job and your networking things going on, so I’m letting…”

I interject “Huh?  Excuse me, sir?”

He continues with “Yeah, I know who you are, Mister Phillips.  I recognize you from one of your things on the news and I’ve seen your site.  My brother got a job from one of your events and it seems like you’re doing good work.  So I’m giving you a verbal warning that next time…”

…I’m going to admit, I completely tuned out at this point.  Didn’t hear a single word he said from that point on.  I must’ve looked like an idiot, sitting there slack-jawed and holding my license and paperwork in my right hand while he continued talking…

Really?…is something that a police officer has even heard of?


“…and so just make damned sure you do it right next time, because I guarantee you the life of the person in those pulled over cars is more important than anything else you’ve got going on”, he finished as I tuned back in.

“Ummm…yes, sir.  Thank you, sir.  Absolutely, sir.  And again, my most sincere apologies, officer.  And thank you, officer.”

He walked back to his car, got in, and drove off.  While I sat there for a minute still slack jawed and dumbfounded.

Karma can be a funny thing.

You do good things, and good things will come back to you.  And it might just surprise the ever living hell out of you when it happens from a random direction.

And, for the record, from now on, yes, I will absolutely always pull one lane over, officer.  Lesson learned.  Besides, karma can pull in your favor, but it’s not a blanket of forgiveness, either.

I think I just used up enough of my stockpile for a bit…so I guess I’ll be on my best behavior for a while so that it can build back up again.