Answering an unasked question

A long, long time ago in the tiny town of Carlsbad, N.M., a police officer taught us a lesson we’ll never forget.

At the age of 14, we were learning to drive. At the age of 15 back then in New Mexico, you could get a license if you passed the written and driving tests.

One day our mother let us drive her to the bakery to pick up a birthday cake. It was part of our driving practice — strictly illegal, but pretty common back then. With cake in hand, Mother advised us to make a U-turn to head back home.

Now, the road was kind of narrow and we couldn’t make a full “U-ie.” So we made a “3-point U-turn” — turn into the opposite curb, back up, then finish the turn by going forward again. We’d read about 3-pointers in a driver’s manual.

Well, as soon as we’d finished the maneuver, a police car pulled out of a nearby alley with its red lights flashing. We pulled over to the curb we’d just kissed in our 3-pointer.

“What were you doing, son?” the officer asked leaning in the window.

“Just making a U-turn,” we replied.

“Well, in New Mexico, 3-point U-turns are illegal,” he advised us. “Just don’t do it again, OK?”

“He doesn’t even have his license,” Mother chimed in.

“Ma’am,” said the officer. “Don’t ever answer questions you haven’t been asked. I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that last sentence. Have a nice day.” And he left.

A couple of weeks ago, new Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Sen. Al Franken during confirmation hearings that he had not had any contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign. Except he had met with the Russian ambassador to the United States twice while the campaign was going on. Now he is embroiled in a controversy.

The sad thing is Franken didn’t even ask Sessions if he personally had contacts with Russian officials. The question dealt with how serious Sessions would take it if Trump campaign officials conferred with Russian officials during the race. Sessions volunteered the answer he hadn’t met with them.

Somehow, we don’t think it’s going to work out as well as when Mother volunteered that answer to that kind policeman in Carlsbad.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

COMMENTS