After arriving home from a wrestling meet at one in the morning, my friends asked for a ride. We soon realized that the mechanic who had worked on the wiring in my pickup had mixed things up. However, once we knew what each switch did, we felt confident we could still make our way home.

I was really tired, but I knew if I pulled the light switch on to turn the radio on, it would blast us out of the pickup. But then I remembered that the light switch was also tied to the dash dimmer. I pulled the light switch and the radio blared, but then I quickly turned the knob for the dash light dimmer and, indeed, the radio volume decreased. Unfortunately, the station the mechanic had put it on was not one I liked, but I couldn’t figure out how to change it.

I held the right blinker on, so I would have headlights as we traveled. As we approached the first stop sign, I hit the wiper switch to turn on the brake lights, and then I pressed the horn to turn on my left blinker. I then turned off the wiper switch to shut off my brake lights and we continued on our way. When we pulled up to the next stop sign I did a similar thing, except I reached over and clicked on the heater fan switch to signal a right turn.

All of my friends who were traveling with me would remind me what each switch did. As soon as we turned the next corner, I noticed a car was following us. After we stopped at the next stop sign, and started to pull out again, my rear view mirror was suddenly filled with red and blue flashing lights.

Lenny laughed. “I can’t wait to hear you try to talk yourself out of this one.”

The police officer came up to my window. “So where are you guys coming from?” he asked.

“We came back from a wrestling meet and just arrived back at the school,” I told him.

“We are heading home.”

“Well,” he said, “you are probably wondering why I pulled you over. I want to know why you turn on your flashers every time you come to a stop.”

My friends tried to muffle their laughs as I spoke. “You see, Officer,” I replied. “My pickup was just rewired by a mechanic, and he crossed some wires. I didn’t know about it until we got home from the meet.”

The officer looked doubtful. “I see. Would you mind demonstrating?”

“The light switch turns the radio on and off,” I said, and I pushed it to off. Immediately the radio went silent. “The hazard lights turn on the heater fan,” I said, as I demonstrated.

“The radio button turns on the wipers,” Lenny said, reaching up and turning the radio dial. The wipers started going back and forth. Then, for some reason, Lenny turned the channel dial, and the wipers sped up. He turned it back, and they slowed down. He started laughing as he continued turning them up and down.

I slapped his hand away. “Stop it! You’re not helping!”

I turned back to the officer, who was struggling to keep a straight face. “So,” he said, “what turns the flashers on?”

“They are connected to the brake,” I replied, pushing the brake pedal to show him.

“So, why do the brake lights turn on, too?” he asked.

“Because I turned them on to let people know I was slowing,” I replied. “They are tied to the windshield wiper switch.” I demonstrated, and the officer didn’t even try to hold a straight face. “Seriously, sir,” I said, “I will take it back first thing tomorrow.”

He nodded.

  “I suppose you can all get home safely tonight. I’m going to let you go. But you make sure you get it fixed. Driving with all those crossed wires is quite dangerous.”

“Thank you, sir,” I said.

“No, thank you,” he replied. “I think you just helped me win the department pool for the best story of the month.”

And with that, he laughed as he walked back to his patrol car.


Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist, playwright, and author, can be contacted at da***@da*********.com; or visit his website