Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.
Photo courtesy of the Burien Police Department.
This sounds like an Onion story. But it’s not.
As a reformed journalist and unrepentant fan of weird news, this story is classic. Let’s break it down.
Related post, which WordPress put on the front page: How weird news teaches us great storytelling
It’s almost always a man, which makes me sad for my gender. Come on, men. Get it together.
Variation A: Men in groups + alcohol = stupidity level may get boosted to 11.
Variation B: The man is from Florida, which has so many of these stories that there’s a Twitter account dedicated to weird news about dumb men doing dumb things with all the headlines starting, “Florida Man” – as in, “Florida man eaten by alligator while hiding from the cops” or “Florida man gets high, takes his clothes off and dances on off-duty cops car.” I am not making this up.
In this case, a man decided to drive around in an expensive car at 112 miles per hour.
It’s not enough to do one stupid thing. You need to add two other special somethings to your Recipe of Idiocy to spice that soup up.
Here are your standard choices:
(a) Mind-blowing drugs (sorry, pot isn’t strong enough)
(b) Wild animals
(c) The police
(f) Doing something else that will probably get you killed
In this case, the man combines (b), (c) and (f).
A normal person would stop after a crazy police chase and a crash when you were treating the local highway like das AutoBahn.
Not this man. He doubled down, twice. Because that’s his destiny.
Mistake # 1: He ran away.
This never works. The police chasing you are not on LSD or meth. They’re sober, trained and working as a team. You can’t out-run police dogs, three other squad cars, the police helicopter with infrared cameras or this thing I like to call radio waves, which travel at the speed of light. Police use radio waves to tell each other exactly where Mr. Genius Criminal is running or hiding.
So unless you’re a bullet-proof superhero who can outrun helicopters and radio waves, it’s a pretty good bet you’re gonna get tackled and handcuffed.
Mistake # 2: He came back for his monkey.
Now, you might have a tiny, tiny chance of getting away if you sprint like Usain Bolt two seconds after crashing your car. Maybe.
You have zero chance of Shawshank Redemptioning this sucker if you waste all kinds of time running back to the car to pick up your pet monkey.
The monkey will slow you down, give away your hiding spot in the bushes by making monkey noises—or make it really, really easy for average citizens to call in reports of the latest fugitive, since it’s the only dude running around with a monkey on his shoulder.
Verdict: A+ for commitment to stupidity, but C- for creativity. Any actor would ask, “What’s my motivation?” Why drive 112 mph in the first place? At least rob a bank first, or hold up a 7-Eleven while dressed like a ninja.
Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.