Friday, December 23, 2011


Jackie Phillips had always been such a careful person.

Jackie was the type of person you would entrust with something dear to you. Jackie had an air about her that meant you could hand over your valuables to her- be they objects or secrets- the same way you could hand over your hard-earned dollar to a local credit union.

You could not imagine her busting up your car. There were plenty of friends you would never allow behind your steering wheel just because they had a wild streak. You could imagine them doing doughnuts in a Wal-Mart parking lot before colliding head-on with a truck.

Jackie was not one of those people. Jackie drove a Hyundai Elantra and used it to play a game called "Speed Limit" for goodness' sake. The title of the game says enough. You try to see how long you can stay right on or just under the speed limit. There must be a very small number of New Englanders that can control themselves enough to tolerate that game for more than five minutes. Jackie is part of that very small club.

But kids fidget all the time, and Jackie was a closet-kid in many respects. Weren't we all?

That day Jackie pressed the button that locked Mr. Ewer's files she did it for no reason at all. Maybe it was just a way to pepper the conversation we were having in journalism class that day. I think she was just plain bored, and when people in our generation got bored they fidgeted.

Jackie fidgeted with someone else's belongings and all Mr. Ewer's could muster was a very confused and exasperated expression. "Why would you ever do that?" he asked.

It was a great question. Maybe it was a nervous tick Jackie developed playing a sort of bonus round in "Speed Limit" entitled "Child Safety Lock."

No comments:

Post a Comment