Banks County Opinions...

March 13, 2002


Editorial

The Banks County News
March 13, 2002

Six months later...
It seems like it was much longer than six months ago. Then again, it seems like it was just yesterday. It is often that way with tragedies. Time becomes hard to define.
When terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, it impacted people across the world. Life changed for many people. They lost loved ones. They became afraid to travel. They began to look at people who look differently than them with suspicion. The innocence was gone. It was the most tragic event that many had ever experienced.
The wounds are still there, but it is time to move forward. We must never forget those who lost their lives in these attacks. But we can honor their memory by continuing on with our lives. We must travel the world as we did before. We must love our neighbor and have an open heart. We may not be innocent any more, but we must not let the terrorists win by changing our lifestyles.

Column

By: Phillip Sartain
T
he Banks County News
March 13, 2002

Crank calls
When you live on the main drag, certain things are bound to show up in your yard. Things like little bits of garbage and discarded newspapers. I usually know what to do with the trash, and if I have time, I’ll read the paper. It’s the weird stuff that gets me into trouble. Like the car engine I found in the driveway the other morning.
It’s not all that unusual for someone to leave a stalled car in the driveway. Most people will come back for their car sooner or later. But no one had ever left a whole engine without a car attached. I didn’t know what to do. After all, it’s not the sort of thing that you just toss in the trash can.
I looked the engine over for identification or a note, but there was nothing. It was almost as if someone unbolted the engine, dropped it in the driveway, and then drove off using the Fred Flintstone mode of locomotion.
I debated for a while and then I called 911. A lady answered, “Yes, is this an emergency call?” I guess they like to know that information right up front for screening purposes. Since the engine was real and I wasn’t joking, I told her it was an emergency.
“What’s your emergency, sir?”
“I have an engine in my driveway.”
“Alright, and how long has this Native American been in your driveway?” she wanted to know.
I paused for moment and tried again. “No, you don’t understand,” I started, “There’s a strange motor in my driveway and I don’t know what to do about it.”
“Maybe it belongs to the Native American, sir. Have you asked?”
I took a deep breath. “Listen to me. I just want to know what to do about this motor in my driveway. Can you assist me?”
“Have you tried putting it back in the car, sir?”
“That’s not possible,” I explained.
“Maybe you can get the Native American to help,” she offered.
“Look,” I sighed. “There is no Native American to be found, ma’am.”
“Sir, are you calling to report a runaway?”
Thinking that she might finally catch on, I answered, “Well, yes, I guess you could say that.”
“Is the runaway eighteen years or older,” she asked.
I looked out the window at the engine in the driveway. “Well, based on appearances, I’d say it’s ....” Then I stopped myself. “What difference does it make how old the engine is?”
“Sir, at age eighteen, it’s technically not a runaway and we can’t help. You’re welcome to file a missing persons report if you’d like.”
Before I could say anything else, I heard the line click. “Yes, this is Missing Persons. How can I help you, sir?” It was the same lady’s voice.
I started over. “I have a missing motor in my driveway.”
“And what about the runaway Native American, sir?”
“The Native American doesn’t exist,” I almost shouted. “You misunderstood what I was saying.”
That’s when I was switched over to a recording. It was the same lady again. “Please be advised that placing a false missing person call is a violation of the code. This call has been monitored and warrants will be issued as appropriate. Have a nice day.”
“But wait....” I hollered. “What am I supposed to....” It was too late, they hung up. I thought about calling back to try to explain, but I didn’t. It was just as well. It took all the strength I could muster to get that stupid engine into the trashcan.
In the meantime, I fully expect to be arrested any day now.
Phillip Sartain is an attorney in Gainesville.

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