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{July 29, 2013}   Poet’s Corner: When It’s Wise to Yield

 

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There are times when it is wise to yield–for instance, when someone isn’t looking and is about to bump into you with their shopping cart in the cereal aisle. Or a blind man starts tapping his way through the middle of a busy intersection just when your traffic light turns green.  Ethan Cohen, of the Cohen Brothers writer and producer of movies such as Fargo, The Big Lebowski, and O, Brother, Where Art Thou? wrote this poem, suggesting that the best course of action when dealing with fools is simply to get out of their way.

 

The Drunken Driver Has the Right of Way

The loudest have the final say,

The wanton win, the rash hold sway,

The realist’s rules of order say

The drunken driver has the right of way.

 

The Kubla Khan can butt in line;

The biggest brute can take what’s mine;

When heavyweights break wind, that’s fine;

No matter what a judge might say,

The drunken driver has the right of way.

 

The guiltiest feel free of guilt;

Who care not, bloom; who worry, wilt;

Plans better laid are rarely built

For forethought seldom wins the day;

The drunken driver has the right of way.

 

The most attentive and unfailing

Carefulness is unavailing

Wheresoever fools are flailing;

Wisdom there is held at bay,

The drunken driver has the right of way.

 

De jure is de facto’s slave;

The most foolhardy beat the brave;

Brass routs restraint; low lies high’s grave;

When conscience leads you, it’s astray;

The drunken driver has the right of way.

 

It’s only the naivest who’ll

Deny this, that the reckless rule;

When facing an oncoming fool

The practiced and sagacious say

Watch out–one side–look sharp–gang way.

 

However much you plan and pray,

Alas, alack, tant pis, oy vey,

Now–heretofore–til Judgment Day,

The drunken driver has the right of way.

–Ethan Cohen

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