Phlebotomic is a blog experiment that seeks to gather multiple perspectives around a common prompt, which is provided weekly.

Last week's prompt was "Beauty"...

This week's prompt is "Path"...

03 March 2009

Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200: Free Parking

i’m one that typically tries to find the good that comes from a bad situation, no matter the severity. sometimes it takes me a while to really sit down and look back at an undesired experience, but inevitably, it happens.

the subject of this blog is “Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200”. the previous line to this popular phrase from the game monopoly is: “Go To Jail. Go Directly To Jail”, and in the summer of 2003, that’s exactly what I did.

as a kid, i enjoyed playing this game quite often. (far too frequently i’d end up playing by myself…i would even create imaginary players i’d have to compete against, but naturally, i always made sure that “i” won.) one thing i never understood about this game was that it was a game of real estate and money, of finance and the occasional tax; so what did going to jail have to do with that? perhaps we now see some correlation between that and our society today (ie: enron, madoff, etc.), but that’s for someone else to write about.

here’s my understanding of a greater truth in my life, as taken from that simple family game. i was just going about life, playing the game. rolling the dice and seeing what property i landed on too. i was not concerned about outside forces (besides perhaps the occasional really can’t get away from those). that is, until i found myself in a sticky situation without a ‘get out of jail free’ card. in the summer of 2003, i was living like a king (at least that’s what i tried to portray to everyone else. internally, i knew i was a mess). excessive alcohol intake and partying had become a fairly regular thing in my life. i was not worried about tomorrow, only where i was drinking that night.

on that night, something changed. i was driving home early from a night out with friends, because i had to get up very early the next morning and leave on vacation. about ½ mile from my house, i saw the flashing lights in the rearview mirror. i pulled over, and began to wonder what i had possibly done wrong. turns out, i wasn’t speeding, or swerving, or in violation of any moving offense. the car i was driving (my friends by the way, he was ‘too drunk’ to drive) had expired tags (he was always the procrastinator). so, because of something as silly as an old piece of paper stuck to a windshield, i was now about 10 minutes from taking a ride downtown. the officer could smell alcohol on my breath, so he pulled me out of the car for a field sobriety test. honestly, i thought i did very well, but apparently my vote didn’t count. DWI.

the ironic thing in all of this is that i really wasn’t drunk. to this day, i’m convinced he just didn’t like me…that there was a prejudice involved. after 22 hours in jail, i was released on bond. about 6 months and several thousand dollars later, my case was thrown out, because the prosecutor had no evidence in which to proceed. the video they took showed no signs of inebriation.

i started this post by saying that i typically find the good that comes from a bad situation. the good that could possibly come from this story: well, there are a couple things. first off, did i mention that the case was thrown out on account of me not being drunk?! i can’t even begin to tell you how many times before that night, the outcome could have been severely different. there were nights when i don’t even remember driving home, so i can only imagine what would have progressed from an expired tag then. and secondly, this incident began something in me. it started an awakening, that life wasn’t just a game. that situations are real, and that ‘get out of jail free’ cards really don’t exist. it wasn't a change overnight, but it most definately was an introduction to a different life. one filled with promise and security.

occasionally, you do land on “free parking”.


  1. Wow..sometimes it takes something big to rattle the cage of the brain and say..hmmm, maybe this isn't such a great idea anymore.

    Mine was a 12 year thinking it over situation. I had no choice and there were no get out of jail free cards or chances. I thank God for it all though, because if I had never been put in a situation where everything was lost, I never would have been found or saved. Maybe we should entitle your post 'The Game of Life'. Get busy living or get busy dying.

    Sometimes God needs a situation that rattles your cage enough that you begin to look UP for the answers and not just out.

    (And I have to say this..I am jealous of your night in jail that turned your thinking..I only wish mine had been that short, or that I could have learned much faster.)

    My get out of jail free card is God himself. God paid my dues so I no longer have to be imprisoned.

    ONE..that the world may know.

    :) Sara

  2. Sara,

    I would love to think that my one night turned me around...but the reality is, it only got the wheels turning. my wheels were pretty rusted back then, so it took a while to get them into working order, but yes, it definately did start the process.

    and i still think that you're story is amazing, as does ryan. we have mentioned you often!