Speak Your Piece: Choosing to Look Away

In a small town, some people find peace of mind by learning how to avert their eyes. The strategy can work on all sorts of messes, large and small.


We’ll be driving along the highway and she will scream, “Ewww, did you see that?”

I immediately hit the brakes, thinking an 18-wheeler is barreling toward us.

 “Wha-wha-what?” I respond.

 “Didn’t you see that dead cat?” she will ask. “It was flat as a pancake, oozing all over the highway.”

It happens often. A bloody deer carcass, stinky skunk, or a totally unidentifiable clump of fur will draw her attention. She will talk about it for the next five miles. And, if there is an aroma involved, she always pulls the top of her blouse up over her nose. She will frown and shake her head.

I just keep driving, because — you’ve got it, “I don’t look at road kill.”

That motto keeps me sane in a small town, because there’s a lot of stinky stuff along my pathway.

I hear a dumb rumor, alleging that the mayor was in a shootout with the FBI. Or that President Obama is now a follower of Hare Krishna. Or that the pope is buying up all the .22 rifle bullets in the world.

It just helps to look on up the road — you know, keep driving.

I see downtown buildings that need the attention of a bulldozer. I try not to look.

A neighbor’s dog poops in our front yard. I don’t look.

But my wife looks, sniffs and comments on all the above.

During such moments, I find that silence is the best tactic. I’m not too good at that, but biting my tongue does the trick.

I figure road kill eventually goes away. In the interim, my six-word motto will keep the marriage intact.

Rudy Taylor and his family publish three weekly newspapers in southeast Kansas, with offices in Sedan, Caney, Cherryvale, Independence and Oswego.