Driving Mr. Magoo


There are some bad drivers out there. The one that inspired this real quick shallow essay (what I like to call a “moment of reflection”) fits the stereotype of the super bad driver, so I won’t be descriptive there. But for the story’s sake, I’ll call him Mr. Magoo — as in, the famous cartoon character we all came to love in the ’70s. I once knew an archetypally  adorable and short old man, who was clinically blind, that tickled all of us. The way he moved through the world, clueless to the accidents he was causing, but never making one mark on his seersucker suit, or turning his smile upside down… well, that’s Mr. Magoo, whom I still love. But we will refer to this horrible driver — one that I witnessed nearly enter the 405 off-ramps, then quickly yank their car back to the adjacent on-ramp, only to cross into the second turn lane, nearly hitting the fast car waiting to speed once the light turned green — Mr. Magoo.

So, Mr. Magoo finally makes his way onto the freeway… except in the process, Magoo rode the shoulder for a while until he realized that it wasn’t a lane. Then after two solid minutes of driving at 30 mph, he almost ran his car underneath a semi-truck attempting to change lanes. But catching himself just in the knick of time, Magoo swerved back… That was the moment of grace: when instead of judging Magoo and getting all mad, worrying about anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves in the vicinity of Magoo (including himself), I found myself in absolute awe of the blessing of God’s hand.

“I thanked God for his grace over all of us. And then I made a mental note to watch Mr. Magoo with sons, and drove my happy butt to work!”

In a span of minutes, I had personally witnessed so many times that Magoo could have caused catastrophic damage… not to mention, a traffic jam that would have pissed off the entire city of LA, were it not for God’s hand. Sure, there are a lot of accidents that scare and worry us… But there are a million times more saves and near-misses in our lives that we simply do not notice. So many times that God’s grace has saved our clueless butts.

Of course, any time we point a finger at another, we have three pointing back at ourselves, and our own hand is all the way raised in these acts of divine providence. I think about the stupid situations I have gotten myself into, and GOD somehow gave me a wooden plank to escape on. I wouldn’t call it an easy save by any means. More like there was a deadly shark circling beneath me, waiting for me to fall off the teetering plank so that he could eat me.

Yet my makeshift plank allowed me to walk safely onto the back of the shark, who essentially swims close to the shore in an effort to figure out how to get me off his back, thereby inadvertently allowing me to ride his back like the surfboard that I believe him to be — straight onto dry land. (That was some Mr. Magoo metaphor shit right there kids — for those that don’t know.)

In that moment of realization of our shared humanity in this chaotic world, I become calmer and less irritated with this truly and admittedly horrible driver. Instead, I thanked God for His grace over all of us. And then I made a mental note to watch Mr. Magoo with sons, and drove my happy butt to work!

WORDS: Mara Brock Akil
DATE: 08.11.2021
PHOTOS: Stock Imagery 


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