Has your conscience "made you" a faker?
Some time ago, Lindsay and I were stopped at an intersection, poised to make a left turn. The red light changed and traffic began to lurch forward. Then, as we watched in suspended horror, another car rumbled into the intersection, apparently trying to “beat” the red light. But the light had already changed. The first car from our side of the light smashed into the luckless vehicle with a resounding crunch. Bull’s-eye, broad-side, almost dead center.
It was strangely satisfying. How many times have you watched some fool totally blow a red light as if he’s colorblind and myopic? Cars who have the right of way are forced to brake or swerve to miss him. Possibly worse still is the casual disregard for the laws that exist to govern such contingencies—as if they were made to be broken, and specifically by this joker. The arrogance. The vulgar, thuggish savoir-faire.*
All to say, this surprising incident was almost enjoyable. Finally, a wiggy** king of the road who got his comeuppance.
It was only upon reflection that I began to remember the various occasions (accidental, of course) that I had run red lights. On none of those days was “justice” carried out in the form of a smash-mouth broadside. If it had been, I would have felt, no doubt, pitiable and victimized in the extreme.
It’s funny how we’re willing to explain away laws of all sorts unless they apply to someone else—in which case they ought to be enforced at all costs, the sooner the better. In fact, we may even deny that “laws” exist—except when we are losing out by their abuse or stand to benefit from their enforcement.
In the end, Conscience makes fakers of us all. And maybe alerts us to the Laws, civil and otherwise, that we’d just as soon not recognize.
These words appear in association with the Vocabulary Association Project.
I know, I know, I’ve never brought in two conversation-killers at one blow before. I apologize, but who could resist “wiggy?”
*Savoir-faire: As with most words of French derivation, the idea is one of polish, sophistication, class. I used the word in an inverted sense (often a good use for French terms), of course. Synonyms include culture, breeding, refinement, even urbanity (which would’ve also worked nicely, with a pleasing sense of irony—“thuggish urbanity”—but I like to be international).
** Wiggy: A cut-to-the-chase term for someone who’s stuck on himself—hoity-toity. Synonyms include arrogant, bloated, self-important, stuffy. This is one of those words that should definitely be used in conversation as often as possible.