The Cost of Being Wrong

Many years ago, I got into an accident while driving with my girl friend. It was one of those odd situations where two small streets crossed, blind spots on both sides, no stop signs and neither had a clear right-of-way. We were a bit shaken up, but thankfully, no one was really hurt. At least not physically. My pocket-book was and, I later found out, so was her image of me as a provider and protector.

As neither I nor the other guy had a clear right-of-way, neither was at fault. Neither of us had any insurance either. So I was out about $5,000 which at the time was just over two months pay for me. Not something that I had lying around. I also had had a debacle with credit cards while in college so they weren't going to be of any help to me. But that was just money.

I've made money and lost money and made it back. So what? It was inconvenient (okay, maybe more than inconvenient but certainly not the end of the world). The car I really liked. It was fairly new, ran well and handled the road great. It was now in a heap in the middle of the road with the front left wheel and fender neatly folded under it like a cat does with its paw. That made me sad.

And I was angry. Angry at the guy who hit me. I was angry right up until the point where the police officer (who arrived shortly after the accident) told me that my insurance company would pay for all the damages and everything would be good as new.

Insurance company! They're scam artists. They prey on the weaknesses and fears of the common man. Then he said something to the effect of "Neither you nor your girlfriend were seriously injured. You were lucky this time. Learn from it.

I'm sure you'll be able to get your car fixed but what if you had to come up with $50-60,000 or more to cover medical bills for her and yourself?" He'd seen worse. I tried to stay angry, but couldn't really. I couldn't even really get sad about the whole thing any more. He was right.

I had a responsibility that I had failed to keep. He probably also included something in there about car insurance being required by law if you drive, but that wasn't even really the point. It was my responsibility and I let myself down and my girlfriend down. I also ended up being a burden to others in the form of rides and borrowing money. But that wasn't the worst of it.

She dumped me. Hard. She wouldn't return phone calls and was mysterious "away" every time I came over. Finally, her roommate took pity on me and told me that it was because I didn't have insurance when we got into the accident and that she considered that to be a big problem.

What if one or both of us had been seriously injured? Her viewpoint was that I wasn't up to the point of being able to be a provider and protector which was my job as a man. Therefore, she wasn't interested. Period.

I never was able to make it up to her or even really get her to talk with me. Finally, I moved on. Throughout the years, I've looked back on that incident. Maybe I needed to get whacked upside the head.

But now I have a teenager that's about to start driving and I'm doing what I can to instill this lesson in him rather than some other driver "whacking him upside the head" and instilling the lesson in him for me. Sure, the world can be a dangerous place. It's what makes man reach out and do better. It's not that insurance companies are bad or even a "necessary evil.

" I'm still not fond of insurance companies, probably because they make me wrong. Their viewpoint is that I will get into an accident; my viewpoint is that I won't. Every time I do, they're right and I'm wrong. But again, that's not the point.

Each person has a responsibility to safeguard himself or herself to the best of their ability. This responsibility also extends into family, loved ones, friends and any groups one is a part of. Take a look at each one of these areas. Is there some part of your life that you could maybe take even a little more responsibility for? You'd be surprised at how many people will appreciate your efforts.

Kris Nickerson started in the online marketing field in the late 1990s developing high-traffic, dynamic websites. Prior to going online, Kris was the owner of a graphic design firm in Portland, Oregon. He has been involved in several successful online commerce ventures as well as consulting companies on increasing the effectiveness of their web presence. In addition to the technical side of web development, Kris is a veteran writer covering a diverse range of topics including marketing, health care, public relations and finances. Kris is also active in a variety of social betterment programs. Kris Nickerson


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