Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Senior Sobriety Check Points

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and at brunch for some unknown reason the conversation turned to how many tickets people have received from the police.  Older son confessed to receiving ten, 22 year-old granddaughter had only one, younger son claims none, although, while technically correct if we are limiting tickets to those involving vehicles, moving or parked, is not completely accurate.  I think I have had about five, most for parking, and Mary was
silent on the issue, but in our 52 years together I think I remember two.

Ryan proudly announced he would join Tim, having never received a ticket, but of course he is only fifteen.

For most of the tickets there was a story and some were interesting.  Sean was counting the states where he was cited and remembered Illinois as being special.  He was driving a rented car and was stopped for erratic driving at 1:30 in the morning.  The cops walked him through the classic tests of standing on one foot, reciting the alphabet from a letter chosen at random by the police (without singing), walking a straight line, walking backwards, and of course breathing into their contraption.  He passed all with flying colors but was still driven to his motel, just

Tim reminded us that quite recently, when driving home from our house, he ran into a check point, but was waved through after answering in the negative as to his recent consumption.  He found out later that ten people were cited and charged from the check point in just a couple of hours on a residential street.

Lauren’s single ticket came from doing 80 mph on a toll way, where the limit was 65.  The irony of that was she was in her first year of driving, was alone, and was most concerned that the ticket would cost her our bet, which was $300 against $50 that she would have a reportable accident her first year driving.  It didn’t and I gladly paid up with dinner at Ruth Chris Steak House.

Tim and Sean’s stories got me thinking.  About the only test I could pass,  at my age and physical condition would be the alphabet and most of the time that breathing bit.  I can’t stand for any period of time on one leg.  Walking forward on a straight line is complicated by my pretty much all-the-time limp.  I might be able to touch my nose with my eyes closed, but I wouldn’t lay bets on that.

Why don’t they have a better test for us old folks?

Maybe they could ask where we live, or what are the names and birthdates of our children.  Why not ask how old we are and verify it with our license?  Why not ask what we pay for auto insurance, and maybe make a suggestion of where we might save some money?  Why not ask what time and channel we watch our favorite TV show?  Or what was today’s Word of the Day on O’Reilly’s The Factor?  How about where can you get the best Early Bird dinner?

Why might these questions serve as a matrix for how impaired a senior is?  The litmus test would be how fast the suspect switched the subject.  Some might have to do with cognitive memory; e.g. “I just got a new hearing aid and only paid $100.”  “What kind is it?”  “About 6:30”… But more likely it is the lack of concentration that comes from imbibing.  How soon the Senior pulls out the pictures of his (or hers) grandchildren would tell a lot.  As would, “Stop me if you heard this one…”

I’m not asking for favors…just a level playing field.

Speaking of playing. Check out my next post when I’ll weigh in on the big Mother’s Day story: Kobe and his mom.  See you then.


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