Taxi Tales:

Judgment calls and the men who love them

By Louie de Palma
Reader Road Warrior

It’s pretty damn hard sometimes to know the right thing to do. If you’re presented with the option to buy a known conflict diamond, most people probably wouldn’t do it. We have Leonardo DiCaprio to thank for that.

On the flip side, most people continue to buy evil, violent, mushy green blood avocados on a shockingly common basis. Sixty-one percent of all ‘cados sold in the good U-S of A come from good ol’ M-e-x of ico, even though 80 percent come from the Michoacán region, which is controlled by the Knights Templar drug cartel. These guys do a whole pit-load of killing, burning locals farms and extorting, all in the name of the good green avocado. This earns the drug cartel about $150 million a year. Yet we Americans continue to eat the pit out of these conflict fruits! We have Michael Phelps to thank for that after his Subway sponsorship years back. That’s when he told everyone it really stokes his hunger to freestyle his foot-long with avocados on it. Thanks Phelps, you pit head.

OK, it‘s not Phelps’ fault. He didn’t know. How could he? He’s probably way too stoned to know about blood avocados. He made a call to make some cash repping some ‘cados. I get it. Been there, done that.

Well, not exactly, but I make judgment calls in my job all the time that are sketchy as hell, and I have no idea how they are going to pan out. In this day and age, who can make a solid decision? With all the super deep insightful political memes out there and everyone changing their profile pictures to support one cause or another, I can hardly figure out what to believe. It’s like I have to think for myself, and that my friends, is where it gets tricky.

Next thing I know, I can’t figure out if I stand with Planned Parenthood or not. I mean, I do, but I also stand with unplanned parenthood. That’s totally fine, too. I don’t actually know many planned children. Shoot, I stand for super planned adopted parenthood. I stand with people who plan on never being parents at all. I stand with people who prefer cats. Actually, I hate cats, but if you accidentally get a cat, fine. But don’t raise it wrong, because then you’re a neglectful parent who raised a psycho latch-key cat hopped up on violent images and memes that shoots some place up and it’s your fault.

As you can see, it’s really difficult in actuality to make good judgment calls. Especially when dealing with others. Especially when they get in your cab and you have to make split-second, Phelps-esque decisions without knowing a lot of situational background. That’s why I’m proposing a background check for every customer. I’m taking one from the old gun regulation concept here: If I can weed out the dangerous-to-themselves-or-others crowd with paperwork, I can go on giving rides and making decisions guilt-free. After all, they’ve been vetted, so any bad decision they make afterword is totally not my fault. I propose combining background checks for gun purchasing with your average medical forms. It would go something like this (note this has been modified for my line of work—you’ll have to make your own for your job):

1)Are you are criminal? Yes or no?

2)Are you going to commit crimes? Yes or no?

3)Are you crazy, or have you ever been crazy, even if only for a little bit? Yes or no?

4)Do you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse? Did you combine this with unsafe fornication and/or violence without a safe word? Yes or no?

5)Have you ever been crazy while drunk or high, even if only for a little bit? Yes? No? Once, maybe twice? Or can’t you remember?

6)Do you have a history of violence, especially domestic? Yes or no?

7)Please disclose your medical history. Are you missing any limbs? Are you diagnosed with any form of anything? Please make special note of Alzheimer’s or bipolar disorder, heartbreak or insatiable anger.

8) Have you ever felt feelings? What are they right now? If the answer is never, please also mention this.

9) Are you a good person to yourself and others (keep in mind your overall impact on your town, country and environment, as well as your local and global contributions)? Answer in less than a minute—we don’t have all day here.

Countless times I wish I had this process to screen people from themselves and others. Then I might not have had to watch a tweaker lose his mind in my cab after he ripped his own twenty in half because he was too twitchy not to. This made him unable buy minutes on a burner phone, miss his next fix, sober up then somehow wind up at my door later, demanding my phone. Or I might not have had to drive a man with Alzheimer’s almost every day to a doctor to get treated for constipation day after day. I could have deduced earlier that he was alone and losing his mind. Instead, after not hearing from him for a while, I inquired about him and learned he died alone. That one sticks with me. There was another time I delivered a case of beer to a man who then burned off his arm in an oven because he passed out drunk. I didn’t know until after the delivery. Luckily he only drinks beer now after the arm incident.

People make bad judgment calls daily. If a blood diamond is on sale, people are going to buy it. If a product makes enough money, Phelps is going to sell it. I don’t know if a lack of paperwork or planning is really the issue here. Any problem boils down to bad judgment calls and variables. Any success comes down to variables and judgment calls. That’s the nature of people—like a cab, you never know what you’re going to get day-to-day. But I like it that way. You can try to plan parenthood, but where’s the fun in that? Most kids I know came from spontaneity.

That’s not to say there shouldn’t be options. You can try to paperwork criminals and the insane out of getting guns. Why not, let’s try it. Human existence is weird, and its getting weirder by the meme.

I don’t know how to make people not make bad decisions. I do know that in my cab, I’ve got a concealed permit and a center console full of condoms for customers available upon request. By the way, they were kindly donated by Planned Parenthood, which I stand with. I’ll be painting my face pink to show solidarity. Just remember, if you bring an avocado in my cab, it’s gonna get ugly.

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