Of Turtles and Tardiness


So I was smack dab in the middle of my commute this morning and I noticed a little commotion in the lanes across the way; so being the type of person I am – *cough* nosy *cough* – I pulled off the road to see what was going on.

Apparently a turtle was trying to cross a four lane highway, and had stopped right on the middle white line.   Of course, three or four motorist of good moral fiber had stopped to ‘help’ the turtle.  Trouble was, they couldn’t agree on which way the turtle had been traveling in order to put him on the side of the road he was heading toward.

Discussion was heated, meanwhile the four lane suddenly found itself a two lane because cars were beginning to pile up in the ‘fast’ lane holding the good samaritan’s cars.  It has a truck horn that finally got the good samaritan’s attention, and finally one of them suggested my side of the road or at least I think he did because he was pointing my way.

Traffic was halted while one of the samaritans picked up the turtle by the shell and carried it across to a farm field planted in tobacco to the right of me and released the creature.

Two things occurred to me as I watched the turtle while traffic cleared to it’s normal flow.

1 – I wonder what the samaritans used as an excuse for being late when they got to work?  ‘Sorry Boss, I had to help a turtle cross the road..’  Naww, they wouldn’t would they?  and..

2 – Do turtles eat tobacco leaves?   Evidently not, not long after the commotion died down the turtle’s head cleared its shell bobbing slightly, before legs popped out and lifted the shell turning it in the opposite direction right back toward the highway.

Interested in the outcome, I picked up the turtle and put it on the passenger seat of my car and drove it across the road, and set it under a shady tree.   Within moments the head emerged again along with the legs, and headed off into the underbrush.

I sat for another ten minutes sipping my morning coffee, and wondered what excuse I would use for being late to work, then I remembered a quote I once read; ‘Two wrongs dont make a right, but they make a good excuse!’

I started the car and headed on in to work.

The quote by the way, is attributed I think to Tom Szasz.  If not please correct me.

Oh, my excuse? ‘I got caught up in research’, I told my boss with absolutely sincerity, ‘on the human response to stress induced safety problems, and how they are resolved’

Maybe its the type of work we do, or my sincerity, who knows but he bought it. Lateness for helping a turtle cross the road, excused.

One thought on “Of Turtles and Tardiness

  1. “Trouble was, they couldn’t agree on which way the turtle had been traveling in order to put him on the side of the road he was heading toward.”

    For some reason, I find that absolutely adorable and hilarious. It sounds like a situation on some prime time sitcom, especially having to explain some tardiness at work afterwards.


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