Posted by: illinigirl | June 30, 2008

Stop and think

I am not going to put a statistic behind this because frankly, I don’t know how you can quantify this. . . but unfortunately, many people are affected by drinking and driving each year.

The sad thing is, it seems that until it personally touches you. . . it’s not enough to make you think. . . and sometimes, even with that. . . for some people it’s not enough.

One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is when people tell those “This one time, I drove home soooooo drunk” stories.  I don’t care that you made it home or whatever. . . I mean, yeah, I’m glad you’re still alive and all. . . but I’m done listening to your story, and my brain is shutting off. . . because I know what could have been, and it’s not really something you should be proud of.

This became my biggest pet peeve ~11 years ago.  It’s when I was touched by drunk driving and lost my friend Jackie.

We actually met for a brief moment our freshman or sophomore year at a student council exchange. . . but I didn’t really get talk to her much because I just went to one class with her.  I ran into her in the hall at a basketball game during halftime our junior year (she went to our rival school).  Although I was a freak about games, I wound up talking to her and missing some of the game.  I saw her a few weeks later at a district student council event, and we exchanged info to hang out because we had so much in common.  She just had such a fun personality and just lit up every room she stepped into.  She talked EVEN MORE than I did, which cracked me up.  She would slip from one topic to another to another to another without batting an eye.  She’d end up talking about something crazy. . . and I’d think. . . How the heck did we get on *this* topic from where we started??? 

We didn’t get to hang out very much because we were so busy with student organizations and activities, friends, work, etc.  She came to my graduation party and gave me a pewter picture frame.  I went to her and her sister’s graduation party (Jennifer graduated from the U of I the same year we graduated from high school).  A week later, it was time for U of I orientation for me.  Jackie’s orientation was a few weeks later. . . but I don’t think she got to even go. . . because on June 7th, she and her sister were killed by a drunk driver.

I have had this picture of her on top of my armoire for 11 years.  (Yep, that’s the frame she gave me.)

I had only met Jackie’s parents once before the accident. . . but we’ve become friends, and they are amazing people who tell their story (even though I’m sure it never gets any easier to tell) to try to influence people to do the right thing.  I still tear up when I think about the day I got the news, and it will forever be a frozen memory for me.  Can you even imagine what her parents went through seeing the nightmare play out in front of them?  They are very courageous people. . .

So why has this been on my mind?

There was a drunk driving casualty in the city this weekend, and one that touched my friend.  He lost a close friend of the family, a police officer working on a construction site.  He has a 13 year old son, and a bunch of other officers went to his son’s baseball game on Sunday seeing as his dad couldn’t be there.  Poor kid.

Look at the post that preceded this one.  I’m certainly not one to shy away from a beer.  I’m not trying to sound holier than thou. . . and I know that I’m preaching to the choir for most of the readers of this blog, but if it makes one person think for a second, it will be worth it.  Whether you go out and plan to have just a few drinks. . . or more than just a few, have a plan of what you’ll do if you are not in a position to drive. 

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Responses

  1. eric’s uncle was killed by a drunk driver so eric’s pretty tough on drunk drivers. he doesn’t usually give them much of a break. even former chief players.


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