He’d broken the law hundreds of times.

Heck, thousands of times.

He broke it every single, blessed day.

And he knew he’d continue to break it.

This outlaw didn’t choose his way of life.

At least that’s how he looked at it.

To hear him tell, it was society’s fault.

Just another case of meddling with the individual.

He’d rationalize.

“I’m not hurting anyone,” he’d say.

Plus, he’d say, this was a tradition.

“My daddy did it. My granddaddy did it. No pencil-pushing legislator on Beacon Hill or in Washington or whatever can change that.”

It was common practice in his youth, he’d point out.
“We didn’t have these highfalutin’ notions back then,” he’d say.

“And we were the better for it,” he’d add.

As with so many folks who end up on the wrong side of a law, he’d fall back on his “civil liberties.”

“It’s my inalienable right,” he’d say. “It says so in the Constitution.”
And, as with so many folks who end up on the wrong side of a law who cite the Constitution, he had a hard time pointing to the particular passage that exonerated him.

And it didn’t help that he’d never actually read the Constitution.

Still, he was as convinced the language was there as he was that there was no lobster in lobster sauce.

“It’s really pork,” he’d say.

He was fatalistic about his future.

“Sure, sooner or later they’re going to catch up with me. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. It just means, well, I’m not really sure what it means.”

Even knowing this fate, the outlaw could not be convinced to conform.

And people tried.

They’d say: “But it could save your life.”

He’d say: “It’s my life. If I’m too dumb to save it, too bad for me.”

They’d say: “But statistics clearly indicate this is the right course of action.”

He’d say: “Statistics, shmatistics.”

They’d say: “But there’s a national crackdown this month.”

He’d say: “Oh, I’ve been through these national crackdowns before. They’re just trying to scare people.”

They’d say: “Aren’t you scared?”

He’d say: “Well, yes. But I’m not going to change.”

They’d say: “Isn’t that, well, you know, kind of stupid?”

He’d say: “If being stupid’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.”

They’d say: “But the crackdown campaign has a rhyming catchphrase – click it or ticket. Doesn’t that make an impression on you?”

He’d say: “Nope, cause I’ve got a song lyric, ‘I fought the law and I won.’”

They’d say: “But that’s not the way the song goes. It goes, ‘I fought the law and the law won.’”

And the outlaw’d say: “Oh.”

Wareham (Mass.) Courier Editor Frank Mulligan can be reached at fmulligan@wickedlocal.com.