We’re all players on the world’s stage.

   stage

In his play, As You Like It, debuted some 410 years ago, Will Shakespeare said “all the world’s a stage.”

We can only guess whether theatre audiences nodded in agreement or shook their heads vigorously to object. Most of them likely were ambivalent, much like “players” on the world’s stage today, when we face more issues than anyone cares to count.

So let us consider an addendum to his quote: “and cameras as well as microphones.”

*****

   We, the populace, may whimper, protest, mutter, lament or whatever. We are now at that place where sights and sounds are part of public records. Such has been stuffed into our collective pipes, ours to smoke, whether or not we inhale.

Nations spy on nations, corporations on competitors, political parties on each other, and, of course, traffic cameras on motorists.

We may “cry uncle” or not, but it is clear that “uncle’s” intrusions have taken over like kudzu, tentacles fully engaged.

*****

   More info whizzes about in cyberspace than mere mortals can imagine. The US mail, though, provides sobering reminders.

One came in a foreboding envelope from the City of Fort Worth the other day. It was addressed to me, and I opened it hastily, not dreaming that contents would apply to my wife, not to me.

Lo–and throw in “behold,” too–the document, somewhat harshly worded, alleged that a motorist driving a vehicle registered in my name “did then and there commit the following violation…failure to stop at a red light.” Supporting evidence included photos shot from three angles, as well as a video. The “knock-out” blow was unmistakable—a picture “front and center” of my car’s license plate.

*****

   I did what any spouse with a lick of sense would do. Racing to my calendar, I prayed that it would provide proof of my being other-where on the fateful day.

Hallelujah! I was in Dallas–driving our “good” car. I was “committing” a speech in the morning and visiting with a friend’s family gathered in a hospital surgery waiting room in the afternoon.

After establishing innocence, it was mine to inform my wife that she had committed a grievous traffic infraction and to contact the county tax office. After all, it seems best to get both our vehicles in her name. That way, she can open future such notifications herself.

*****

   She doesn’t believe she had done anything wrong, of course. After all, she’s been driving for a full half-century, NEVER having received a citation.

Stopped just once for driving a “teensy-weensy” bit over the speed limit, she cried real tears that rolled down reddened cheeks. The officer put away his citation pad, apologizing for causing any inconvenience.

Alas, while tears worked on the officer, they do no good for an emotionless camera. The $75 check for the fine has been mailed, so officially, the matter is closed. The saga continues verbally, however.

*****

   Views of such matters depend on whose foot the shoe pinches. Ours is major surgery; yours is minor, probably even “out-patient.” I could probably stand your minor illness on my eyeball.

Brenda “sort of” remembers the errant turn, vowing that the light was primarily amber, maybe with the slightest “pinkish” hue.

My guess is that it was at the epicenter of red—the brightest hue sold at the paint store.

*****

   The recent holidays were joyous with convergence of kids and grandkids. At mid-morning, though, “technological overkill” tempered Thanksgiving joy. Daughter Jana and her hubby received frantic phone calls from Tyler. Police, they learned, had converged on their home, responding to a “911” call. Relax, it was a false alarm. After all, no one was home. Some phone line fault triggered the “911” call. (Emergency responders explained that such calls are often the result of such breaches.)

Jana was chagrined. Kinfolks and neighbors inspected every room, making sure the home was free of intruders. With disarray associated with both the holidays and “getting out of town,” Jana had postponed housecleaning until right AFTER Thanksgiving. She winced at the thought of others seeing the, uh, mess.

Ah, this stage on which we mortals strut may be far better illuminated than we like.

*****

      Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Speaking inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site:www.speakerdoc.com. Twitter: @donnewbury.

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Please click the book cover image to read more about When the Porch Light’s On by Don Newbury.

   

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    We may all be players on the world’s stage. But I prefer the comedies.

  • I wonder what damage the police and neighbors did in gaining access to the house. Surely the 911 call would have been garbled static? What are the requirements on them if they ‘have to break the door down’? Are they required to make the house safe again, and leave it locked properly? Or do they just walk away, and hope one of the neighbors will do it – or contact you in Bora Bora?

    As a person with several disabilities, my housecleaning is usually done ‘just in time,’ and I’ve been known to thank folks who come over for giving me a reason to clean (dust bunnies are NOT fatal). I would be mortified if people came crashing through here, and saw some of the piles awaiting their turn for some of my energy.

    I shall try to remember to look up what powers the police are given for such false alarms. I’m sure their diligence does sometimes find people who desperately need assistance and who can’t talk on the phone, but still…

    • Don Newbury

      Alicia, perhaps I painted the picture wrong about the “condition” of the house. Relatives and friends who went through it did so AFTER entering it without forced entry. Kyle, Jana’s husband, is from the area originally, and his cousin lives just two doors down. The “going through” part was meant to relieve Jana and Kyle FOR SURE that there had been no burglary, etc.
      Still, Jana was somewhat “red-faced,” since the disarray she had intended to correct AFTER return home was seen by others.
      Thanks for reading, though, and for comments!

      • I feel for Jana! My neighbor has a key to my house. She is a meticulous housekeeper – I hope she never has to use it.

        On the other hand, when I watched her dog, the silly thing managed to lock the door on me by fiddling with the latch on the front door – and I had to crawl in through the laundry room window to unlock it so I could take care of him. That was not in her plans.

        I take consolation in, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

        How can anyone know for sure that someone else’s house hasn’t been burglarized? Obvious things missing – TV, computers – will be noticed, but burglars are clever, and often take smaller, more portable valuables.

        It makes for a good story either way.

  • Roger Summers

    Don, Don, Don. Man up, man. The gentlemanly thing to have done was to say nothing, write the check, enter it into the check book as “misc.”, mail it to the authorities. And most certainly you should not have printed it in a column read by, what, millions? As for the daughter, do the fatherly thing: Convince the cops that burglars messed up the house. Cops know burglars operate that way. Cops would buy the story. Daughter would have a believable cover story. The neighbors also would buy it, especially with the cops telling them that’s what happened. Next time something like this comes up, Don, call me. I have a zillion ways for covering things like this, man. After all, I am a newspaperman. Heard every cover story there is. Maybe even wrote some of ’em.

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