I love collecting autographs. I have a lot of them, especially of baseball players including such greats as Hall of Fame players such as Harmon Killebrew, Ferguson Jenkins and the Duke of Flatbush Duke Snider. Yesterday on my way home from Camp LeJeune to Virginia Beach I got another autograph. What a lucky man I am.
The man who gave it to me was very nice and very polite and As I said I have gotten a lot of autographs in my life some that I have gotten for free and others that I have paid various amounts of money for. I have met some baseball greats including Hall of Fame players who I have received autographs for which I have paid nothing that I treasure. I have others that I have paid for at various autograph signing sessions which I also treasure. However it is the autographs of various State Troopers in North Carolina that I treasure the most. I think this is because they have cost me the most money and despite the professionalism and politeness of the various troopers involved if find that they are the most annoying to collect.
I am stationed about 210 miles from home which I try to get to as many weekends as I can. I have to drive on US 17 from my home and workplace near Camp LeJeune to the Hampton Roads area. If you are familiar with this highway you know that the area between New Bern and Windsor is nothing but an 80 mile long speed trap. Today I had a miserable drive home. I had knuckleheads that would not do the speed limit. I had other people driving in an unsafe manner that scared the bejezus out of me early in the trip. But the scariest part of the trip was when some sort of Redneck sociopath talking on a cell phone and writing while driving a red Buick LeSabre who probably abuses children did his best to endanger me between New Bern and Washington. The man almost ran me off the road and either tail gated me or refused to let me pass him. His actions were most threatening and I should have called 911 but was afraid that he would do something to retaliate. I’m sure that he didn’t get cited for anything.
So when I pulled into Williamston to defuel and refuel I was pretty stressed due to this local shithead’s threatening behavior. Thus after conducting said defueling and refueling operations and getting back on the highway I figured that I was in good shape with nothing but 4 lane highways ahead of me for the rest of the way home. However I forgot the little speed differential at the Martin and Bertie County line where the speed limit drops for no real reason from 60 to 55 miles an hour. Normally I am aware of the change in speed limit because I know the area is a speed trap but I was still a bit rattled following my encounter with the local sociopath in the red Buick LeSabre. Unfortunately my cruise control and GPS does not automatically adjust to such arbitrary changes in the speed limit. Since I was feeling the kind of stress that I had felt in various convoys while serving in Iraq I simply didn’t notice the change in speed until the polite State Trooper nailed me.
The trooper was very polite and had my cruise control and or GPS alerted me he would, by his own words would have let me off with a warning. Instead I either pay $171 to the law abiding citizens of Bertie County or about $100 more to a lawyer to get me off on a mechanical violation or some other non-descript offense. I’ll probably pay the extra $100 or so just to avoid my insurance rates going up. I haven’t figured out what I will do yet except to minimize the damage and buy a good radar detector upon my return to North Carolina. I figure if they want to set up speed traps then I should do my best to ensure that I have fair warning.
Sad to say that the NC State Trooper’s autograph at a speed trap will cost me more than some baseball legends autographs, but such is life.