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Slow poke

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Normally, if you’re gonna break the law, you wouldn’t tell anyone. Not your wife. Not your friends. And you certainly wouldn’t write about it in your newspaper column. Then again, never said I was normal.
The newly-proposed Slow Poke law states that slower drivers must move out of the left lane so those who want to go faster can do so.

That means we should move out of the way for those who want to break the law. The posted speed limit is there for a reason, and we “slow pokes” are just following the law.
Now, after years of being teased by family and friends, I’ll soon be officially recognized by the state of Georgia as a Slow Poke. Couldn’t be more proud.

Try this – next time you go downtown, drive in the left lane at any speed. Soon there will be someone on your tail, flashing his or her lights for you to move over. The same will happen in the next lane and the next and the next. Until, finally you’re all the way over on the shoulder of the road. Then you’ll get a ticket. Can’t drive on the shoulder. It’s against the law.

Think it’s a bit of a stretch? Just try it and let me know if it doesn’t happen, and no, I’m not gonna pay your ticket.
I’ve found driving in the left, center, or far right lanes is indeed hazardous to your health. You can’t simply drive the speed limit. If you do, you’ll get run over.

It’s easier just to walk. Can’t get run over just walking, unless, of course, you live in a golf cart community. Those things are silent but deadly. Kinda like Twin Brother Mark after he’s eaten broccoli for dinner.
There are several people to blame that Slow Poke here is about to become a lawbreaker. First up: my dad. Kids love to blame their parents for everything, but in this case, blaming Dad would be more than warranted.

During those seven years we spent growing up at 110 Flamingo Street, he gave us much sage advice about life. For example, there wasn’t a week that went by Dad didn’t say, “If everyone else jumped off the Empire State Building, would you?”
I always thought that advice to be silly, especially because we didn’t live in New York. Now, many years later, I understand when he meant. You don’t have to be like everyone else. Just because they are doing something you know is wrong doesn’t mean you have to follow them. Trust me, if they do pass the new law, I won’t be following anyone. Everyone else will be following me.

Next up in this blame game is Old Mrs. Crabtree, my third-grade teacher at Mt. Olive Elementary School. I write about her a lot and for good reason. I believe most everything you need to know about life, you learn in the third grade.
For example, she taught us not to run in school, to stay in line, and to slow down. Don’t exactly know how not running in school relates to this story, but thanks to her advice, I will be staying in my lane and slowing down.

Lastly, there’s Mr. Hood, my tenth-grade political science teacher at Briarwood High School, home of the Mighty Buccaneers. It was Mr. Hood who taught us that throughout history people could rise up, resist, and eventually overturn an unjust law. Sometimes it only took one person to start an entire movement, one person to make a stand. Looks like I’m gonna make my stand in the left lane.
Making me move over just so others can speed is unjust. I pay taxes just like they do so I should be able to drive in any lane. Besides, those other lanes are filled with big giant trucks. Making a stand by slow poking or not, those trucks will run you over if you don’t move over.

Now I know they don’t give an IQ test before you can get a driver’s license, but maybe they should. If more folks understood the laws governing speed, weight and vehicle stopping distance there would be a lot more slowpokes out there. Following five or 10 feet behind the car in front of you isn’t enough distance to stop, even if you’re following me.
Now some may think this story is silly. Others may believe it to even border on the mundane. But becoming a law-breaker is something this writer takes seriously and has, up to now, avoided. If the new Slow Poke law passes, guess there’s just two options for me: become a law-breaker or stay home.

Think I’ll stay home and watch Little One. She’s 9 months old and she’s even more of a slow poke than I am. That is, until she starts walking.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His books are available at]


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Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

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