2010-06-23 / Opinion

It's all in the explanation

by Alex McRae

Bad things happen. To good people, bad people, glad people, sad people and even pelicans. Just ask those who call the Gulf Coast home.

Over 60 days after a BP oil well blew up and started spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, locals are not just fed up, they are fit to be tied.

They want relief. They want action. Repeated press appearances by administration officials and now, executives of BP, have promised boatloads of bucks to fix the problem.

But no one has explained how the disaster began. Or how a repeat performance could be avoided. History shows providing an explanation might be a step in the right direction.

Decades ago when "I Love Lucy" topped the TV charts, audiences loved it when Lucy messed up and Ricky said, "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do."

Gulf Coast residents feel the same way. And sooner or later, explanations will be given. The only question is whether they will be offered in the court of public opinion or a court of law.

If BP (or the federal government) has any sense, it might want to jump on the explanation bandwagon soon. It won't be pretty, but might actually improve BP's image. Even if the explanations don't fly, they can at least be good for a laugh.

For instance, a few days ago, just a few miles from the Florida panhandle beaches, a Destin, Fla., man's explanation for some bad driving left locals laughing.

According to news reports, cops were called when a man drove his vehicle over a curb and into a ditch, then spun his tires into radial soup trying to get out.

Wrecks are common. This dude's explanation wasn't. When lawmen arrived and asked what happened, the man said he lost control because he was "distracted by an alligator in the road."

Sure, it was Florida, but since alligators don't usually prowl the four-lane near the local Wal-Mart where the wreck happened, cops were suspicious. They felt better when the driver admitted he had consumed "five or six" beers.

The alcohol may also explain why the driver told cops to watch out for the lions and tigers he had seen roaming around.

After flunking a few field sobriety tests, the dude was taken to the jail. Then things got even more confusing.

While waiting to be booked, the man walked up to the desk and told the officer in charge he was ready to check out. When the cop acted puzzled, the man explained he needed to check out because he was at the EconoLodge Motel.

Haven't heard one that good since spring break in college, but not all explanations are so humorous. That same week, a few miles away in Crestview, FL, a local women got nothing but cold shoulders from cops when she tried to explain her way out of a drug bust.

Cops weren't cranky because she tried to sell some cocaine to an undercover cop. They were enraged when she tried to explain why she had brought her 11-month-old daughter along for the transaction.

She told the lawmen that she tried to avoid mixing her daughter and dope, but said she had been in a bind recently and was forced to sell crack to make some extra cash. At least she didn't say it was for the child's college education.

Lucy Ricardo's 'splainin' has its advantages, but sometimes it's best to follow another piece of advice. The one that goes: "I don't believe

I'd a told that, brother."

(Send your e-mail comments

Windows to: alex@newnan.com)

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