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Kirby: What’s the response when past catches up with you?

By Robert Kirby

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Mar 23 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Mar 23 2014 01:01 am

Once again I have been set upon by the malevolent forces of oppression. On Wednesday, the Utah Highway Patrol stopped me. Again.

Not the entire highway patrol. Trooper William Weaver pulled me over on Interstate 15 near Spanish Fork because I was "following too close."

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I could use this column to expose Trooper Weaver as a minion of an evil revenue-generating organization, but I won’t, partly because the UHP eventually will stop me again, but mainly because I was doing exactly what he said I was doing. On purpose.

I left St. George at 2 a.m. and drove home. I obeyed the speed limit the entire way, which in my own mind is traveling 5 to 9 mph over whatever the signs actually say.

The trip was long and uneventful. For hours it was just Pink Floyd and me plowing the long freezing night. Forty-five minutes from home, I ran into a dimwit in a pickup near Payson.

You’ve probably seen this guy before. If not him, then one of his idiot kin. They’re the ones who drive UNDER the speed limit in the left lane.

They never move to the right. You can pass a dozen "Slower Traffic Keep Right" signs and they’re still tooling along with their heads tucked between their back pockets.

Either that or they’re doing it intentionally, telling themselves they’re perfectly entitled to cork up the rest of us. Isn’t what they’re doing thereby helping the UHP enforce the speed limit?

If this is the case it should be no more than a Class C misdemeanor to shoot at them or bump them into the median. But I’m not the law, which explains why I ended up on the shoulder with a UHP spotlight cooking the back of my head.

Traffic had begun to back up as I and about a dozen other drivers tried to get around this rolling roadblock. After 10 miles of being trapped by Mr. Clueless, I saw a wedge of light between him and a semi. I sped up and tried to get around but was blocked again. #%@%!

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That’s when the lights came on.

Trooper Weaver and I got along famously. I gave him my papers, answered his polite questions and didn’t get upset when he kept calling me "Mr. Kirby" even after I asked him to stop doing it.

Note: It’s a personal thing. Most of the painful stuff in my life has been prefaced with "Mister," "Brother," "Private," "Elder" and "Defendant."

I pleaded my case. It was the guy’s fault for blocking traffic. I was just trying to get around the idiot.

Trooper Weaver completely understood. He agreed that there are a lot of moron drivers out there, but it might be better for all concerned if I focused on not being one of them.

Waiting in my car for the citation, I was suddenly overwhelmed by irony. Twenty-five years ago, I was a cop in his exact spot. From where I was parked, I could see the old scenes of at least a half-dozen fatal accidents I had responded to.

Weaver let me go with some new paper and a polite adieu. That’s when I apologized and said I should have known better because of my past. I was a wee bit ashamed of myself.

I drove home in a better frame of mind. What I hadn’t told Weaver is that I’m an honorary colonel of the UHP. That would have been really embarrassing.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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