How a Fish Taught Me to Drive Better
The driver in front of me clearly didn't know what he was doing. He wandered and then continued straight across the intersection and toddled along about 15 mph below the speed limit.
I was trapped behind him, unable to pass in the busy traffic. Finally I pounded my hand on the steering wheel in frustration and said through gritted teeth, "Don't drive any particular speed!"
The small voice of my son, Joshua, came from the back seat of the Jeep. "Is he an idiot, Dad?"
The dagger in my heart was ice cold. There's only one place he learned that.
A wit once asked, "Have you ever noticed how everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot, and everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac?" Yeah, I've noticed. I'm usually a pretty easygoing guy: slow to anger, ready to give the other person the benefit of the doubt - until I get behind the wheel of a car. Then I become like that guy in the 1970s TV show "The Incredible Hulk." (Okay, my muscles aren't that big, and I don't turn green, but you get the picture.)
I am genuinely perplexed at my behavior - honest. I try self-discipline, but then some idi-sorry-fellow motorist cuts in front of me and out comes the monster.
What to do? The answer was simple, even if it took me a while to stumble on to it: get a fish. Let me explain.
I care very much how the Christian faith is presented to the world and try to live as the apostle Paul commands us in Romans 12:16-18: "Live in harmony with one another. . . . Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." I clearly don't follow that command when I blow past a guy at Warp 9 - after giving him a dirty look for daring to drive the speed limit.
But I put one of those Christian fish decals on the back of my car, and that has made me conscious of the signal I am sending by my driving. Paul also had to say in Romans 2:24, "Gods name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." I certainly don't want that passage to apply to me. If I couldn't avoid embarrassing myself in front of my family, never mind the terrible example I was setting for my kids, I could discipline myself by avoiding embarrassing Someone Else.
That little fish has made a difference in the aggressiveness of my driving, although I admit I still have to work on the speed part. But it is not a panacea. I must always remember whom I represent and not do as a guy did in a story related by Jay Leno: At a traffic light Jay was behind a car whose bumper sticker read, "Honk If You Love Jesus." Jay says he gave his horn a light tap, and the guy in front stuck his head out the window and shouted, "The lights still red, you moron!" Nope, that'll never happen to me.