January 26, 2022

Good grief! Again!

[This is a brief piece I wrote for my BRAINZ writing prompt group. The May one-word prompt was SHOCKS.]

Sometimes I’d swear I was Charlie Brown in a previous life. I never seem to learn that Lucy is going to jerk the football away just when I try to kick it. I end up flat on my face, furious with myself for being so gullible. Furious that once more, I have to pick myself up, dust off and remind myself to be smarter next time.

              My naiveté has led to many shocks along the way. The first that comes to mind was in the late 1970s when I was just out of college and at my first job as a journalist. I was working for a newspaper in Fort Worth during the trial of T. Cullen Davis, the oil millionaire accused of murdering two people and wounding two others at his ritzy mansion.

              It was “the trial of the century” in Fort Worth and for most of Texas. During weeks of testimony, three eyewitnesses at the mansion identified Davis as the shooter. It seemed a slam dunk case.

              I was still a full-fledged Charlie Brown at heart then, so imagine my shock when I heard the “not guilty” verdict over the radio. I couldn’t believe it. I had yet to realize that our justice system is far from perfect and that if you are wealthy, you can hire a high-powered lawyer and have a better chance of beating a rap.

              I guess too much time passed between the T. Cullen Davis verdict and the O.J. Simpson case for me to remember this bit of wisdom. Because once again, I was shocked, stunned that the man was acquitted. Silly me.

              But enough of the criminal justice system. My Charlie Brown tendencies have led to many shocks in my personal and professional lives as well. From backstabbing bosses to cheating boyfriends, there were plenty of folks I shouldn’t have trusted along the way. But I still did.

              Now that I’m considered a “senior,” I like to think I’ve shed some of my gullibility. That I’m older and wiser about human nature and frailties. I know it’s an imperfect world, but I still believe that there’s good in almost everyone. That most people are doing their best and just trying to survive in a crazy world. There’s one exception, though. I’ll never trust Lucy. We’re done.  

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