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Apr-11-2012 00:51printcomments

Life Behind Wheel Propels Human Relations Roadmap

Maintenance is the key to management. Sloppy oversight reaps negative results.

Road map

(SALEM) - This writer was raised in suburban New York City and did not actually get a drivers license until I reached age 40. Thus I became a late bloomer behind the wheel.

Looking back, there are many invisible lessons to be gleaned. When we drive a car, yes indeed, we are interacting with an assortment of very diverse human beings out there. We need to be aware of what this entails in terms of developing our insight and our intuition.

First off: the car is something mechanical. It consists of many complex systems. In this age of silicon chips and electronic paraphernalia, we need to admit to malfunction. Mechanical things like people are destined to wear down, part by part. Without proper scrutiny we shall screw up!

Maintenance is the key to management. Sloppy oversight reaps negative results.

Lubrication is pretty basic, as we as humans rely on liquids to quench our thirst. Feeding our auto with adequate oil makes its world go round. Motors have their form of temper tantrums, so why risk overheating?

On the road, we encounter other drivers jockeying for position. Some cling to the fast lane; others are content to be moderate or go slow. The insecure type will vacillate from lane to lane and almost drive us insane. Consistency is not his credo. Credibility is not his lifestyle.

One-upsmanship is egotism incarnate! That must-pass-em speed demon runs on empty when it comes to empathy. He maneuvers without end, until a crash ends his rear end, or worse. This dangerous high-risk-taker is priming up for a date with the undertaker.

Road Rage may enter the fray. The motor force here is Paranoia. Such a person is part sadist and part masochist. We should never take his assault personally, yet his shoot-from-the-hip temperament is a hazard to our health. Swerves and curves may well turn into mayhem.

That drugged-out driver poses another danger to our well-being. Whether it's alcohol or some other self-poison potion, it qualifies as "fatal attraction". Steer clear of same, and be sure to report such recklessness to 911 immediately. Why stay stubbornly in harm's way?

But let's think positive. The majority of drivers are relatively sane and safe. Choose them to be our role models and salute their prowess on the road. They constitute our roadmap to that destination called Peace of Mind, USA. All of which makes those speedbumps tolerable to bear.

These then are the signs of our times. Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address:

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