Editor’s Musings Oh, the Irony

by Beth Weber

Because I am a big nerd, I was recently discussing how people often use the word “ironic” incorrectly. For instance, Alanis Morissette famously said in a song that a rainy wedding day was ironic when it is really just bad luck and/or a failure to consult the Farmer’s Almanac. Fortunately, I have a personal tale that demonstrates irony, bad luck, and poor driving at the same time.
My son was six, and it was the day of his first soccer game. Of course, we were running late due to my poor planning. When I hit the main drag through town, I ran into road construction where the lanes had merged. I was busy staring at the traffic cones and didn’t see an elderly man on a moped making his way toward my car at the intersection. It was possibly the slowest collision in history, with me frozen at the wheel as he putt-putted into my rear fender and then toppled over.
My son screamed, “Mom, he’s dead!”
I thought that was unlikely, but I was worried. I got out of the car and saw he was already up. We headed for the nearest parking lot, followed closely by a policeman who had also been at the intersection.
The elderly gentleman, who looked familiar to me, said politely, “You ran a red light.”
I said, “I don’t think so.”
The policeman said, “Oh yes, you did. Ran right through it.”
I gulped and mentally started calculated the cost of this incident. Meanwhile, my son was in the car worried that I was being arrested for attempted murder.
As the policeman took our information, I was staring at the accident victim, who still seemed familiar. I couldn’t place him, though. Not until he gave the policeman his name. When I heard it, I turned completely red.
The policeman asked me my name, and I gave it. Then, I looked at the victim and said, “And you are my insurance agent.”
What followed was the most amazing example of customer service I ever witnessed. My agent, whom I only seen dressed in suits before, immediately examined my car for damage and advised me on what I needed to do to file my claim. He apologized for not recognizing me and went to great lengths to make me feel better. Clearly, he suffered no brain injury in the moped collision.
I must also note that my insurance agent was not wearing a helmet, something else I found ironic for a risk management specialist, but I knew enough not to comment on that lapse.
My son, shaken and probably afraid to ride with me, made it to the game just before it started. His new team, the “Badboys,” won, but the memory of the game is overshadowed by this ironic accident. He will never, ever, let me forget it.
Situational Irony: A situation in which the outcome is very different than what was expected. www.literarydevices.com