I’ve heard it called “poetic justice”, even turned the phrase myself on occasion, but it’s hard to find the poetic when it feels like the unwritten laws of nature are getting even with you for past trespasses.Some folks refer to it as “karma”. Others throw out the old “what comes around goes around” adage, like it was scientific fact. Billy Shakespeare called it “a pound of flesh”, which is exactly what it felt like I was givin’ the searing concrete gas station parking lot… on bended knees.
Back in ’79’ or ’80’, my buddy Kelly’s dad had a Plymouth Duster with a “340 V-8”; it was even painted onto the back of both rear fenders. The car was fast, really fast, but it didn’t have wings.The once sleepy little town of Lake Havasu City, born by the damming up of the Colorado River, is nestled into the foothills where the steep run off created deep washes and ravines. So many that it would be impossible to build bridges over all of them.
They just smoothed the dirt a bit, slapped some asphalt down and called it a road. They did, however, pop for some bright yellow triangle shaped signs and stuck them along side the road on each side of the dip to warn travelers of the “dip ahead”.
On occasion, Kelly would earn the right to “take the ol’ man’s car out”, and he took it out alright… and up.
I rode with Kelly and a carload of other teenagers that know how to make a small town less boring and everything innocent life threatening.
Kelly called it “dip jumpin'”, and we flew through the air in his dad’s Duster just like Bo and Luke did in the General Lee on Dukes of Hazard.
That feeling of anxiety and expectation in your guts and bowels right before takeoff is unforgettable. So are the relief and gratification of not dying after the Duster finally quit bouncing off the earth.
No one was the wiser of our reckless “dip jumpin'”, until Kelly’s dad, out of town on business, put two and two together, but couldn’t put the pieces of his front end together that were scattered like Humpty Dumpty.
Now, “dip jumpin'” Kelly’s dad’s car wasn’t my idea, but in hindsight, it could be that the universe holds me guilty as an accessory.
Our youngest daughter used to hit curbs in my car like Chicken Little does the panic button. I’ve had the fiberglass front spoiler fixed time and again.
I never gave much thought to the air dam behind it that it was attached to. I hadn’t given much thought to Kelly’s dad’s Duster in decades either. Not until after I’d limped my car into Yuma, halfway between Phoenix and San Diego.
I’m fairly certain God didn’t punish us for trying to fly like Evil Knievel and angels. It could be that it’s just a fallen world and folks lack wisdom, especially teenagers.
I do believe that God takes bad things and makes them beautiful. He calls it redemption.
Since wisdom has great value… maybe so does poetic justice.