Bend the rules or follow them? |

Bend the rules or follow them?

Alison Berkley

My luck is totally running out.I think I might have jinxed myself the other day when I was at my shrink’s office. God bless her, my therapist still seems to be under the impression that a) she can help me and b) I actually need help. I don’t even know why I still go to her after my friend Jack Johnson (the city councilman, not the musician) cured me over the Christmas holidays. He cocked his head sideways with cigarette poised in one hand and drink in the other and goes, “Honey, your only problem is that you don’t have any problems,” in that adorable Kentucky accent. Love him.Understand it’s really difficult for me to take the whole talk therapy thing seriously after being raised by two shrinks. Every night at dinner throughout my entire childhood, my parents would talk about their patients, coming up with pseudonyms to protect their confidentiality.”You know, Mary. Mary the cutter,” my mom would say. I remember thinking she was talking about someone who worked in a quarry, like those kids in that biking movie “Breaking Away” from the ’80s, only to discover her patient was literally a cutter, as in someone who cut themselves with a razor on purpose. “Oh, you mean Jane the schizophrenic who was busted yelling at the fish in the Hartford Aquarium? The one who drives the blue BMW?” my dad would say. Or, “You’re talking about Jeff R., the bipolar cop who handcuffed his wife to the mailbox naked.” The best was when I’d tell them about my new best friend/teacher/gymnastics coach, only to watch their faces turn white with horror. “What, are they like a patient or something?” I’d ask.”I’ll tell you when I’m on my death bed,” my mom would always say. Still, I was willing to give therapy a try – especially after all my friends started making these subtle hints by saying things like, “I can’t listen to you anymore! You need serious help.”So the other day, I’m sitting there in the leather recliner sipping my complimentary herbal tea and Shrink Lady says, “What are the consequences for your actions, Al-lissssss-sun?”And I look at her and go, “There aren’t any.” For some reason, ever since I said that, all this bad stuff has been happening. For years, I’ve gotten away with murder. Getting out of trouble was always as easy for me as getting into it. I’m the queen of sneaking in the back door, of bending the rules or ignoring them all together. I don’t wait in lines, fill out forms, fulfill requirements, purchase tickets or read instruction manuals. My philosophy in life has always been a combination of “if there’s a will, there’s a way,” and “ignorance is bliss.” As one particularly anal guy I was dating once put it, “You don’t even open your mail.” I seemed to be blessed with some strange ability to float through life oblivious of all the chaos going on around me, most of which I likely caused. My mom says I’m like Mr. Magoo, the blind cartoon character. My boyfriend calls me Miss Hap.Let’s just say “the system” isn’t for me and red tape is never too sticky or thick to cut through with my toenail clippers. Things like speeding tickets, overdue bills and taxes always just sorted themselves out. But now all of a sudden it’s all catching up with me. The other day, I got this mean letter from the IRS, bitching about 2003 taxes or whatever and making all these threats, like if I didn’t fork over two grand, they were gonna kidnap my dog and hold him for ransom. What’s a girl to do? I might actually have to pay, which is really going to screw up my shopping budget for this trip I’m planning to L.A. in April.Then I had this court date in Silverthorne I totally forgot about. I got pulled over for speeding, which was so totally unfair. I was merely following the guy ahead of me and we were going the same speed, so it seemed like I was “going with the flow of traffic” or whatever. When the race car driver in front of me pulled off the side of the road, I was like, “Ooo! I wonder why Speedy Man is stopping! Speedy Man is going to lose all the time he gained by stopping!”Then I realized it was me the cop was after. I got popped going 75 in a 45, but only because he hid right behind the sign where it went from 55 to 45. That’s so sneaky and mean, a shot below the belt if you ask me. I’m like, “Officer, the whole reason I bought a Jeep Wrangler was so I wouldn’t get stopped for speeding anymore.” When he looked at me funny, I said, “I mean, this car doesn’t even go that fast.” He even turned down my offer for a little roadside settlement (prude!) and handed me a court summons instead of a ticket, as if speeding down an empty mountain road in the middle of nowhere is some kind of crime. I took the time out of my not-so-busy day to call the court people and reschedule. They were so nasty on the phone, treating me like a criminal and telling me I have a warrant out for my arrest and have to “turn myself in to the nearest police department in Colorado” like I’m an escaped convict or something. “You have to post $500 bond and then we’ll reschedule your court date.” Jesus Christ. Make that one less pair of shoes I’ll be buying on Rodeo Drive.I guess that means I have to turn myself in – or maybe turn myself into someone who can at least pretend to follow the rules for now.The Princess wanted to ask Sheriff Braudis for a pardon. He can e-mail her at

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