© 2012 Aaron Atkinson

Ten Dollar Fine

One of the most friendly, outgoing and extroverted classmates of mine from Graceland is moving from her home in Kansas City back back to where she grew up in Pennsylvania. As I think about her departure, I can’t help but think back to one of my favorite moments involving Kara.

At Graceland, women had to be out of the men’s residence hall by 10 p.m. on weeknights (and vice versa.) During my junior year, the year that my buddy JP was our House President, I heard a fuss in the hallway at 10:05 p.m. on a Tuesday. I emerged from my room, along with several other guys, to see JP, who was also close friends with Kara, writing her a ticket for being on the hall past curfew. She wasn’t happy.

Kara: Gosh JP, are you serious!?!

JP: (smiling) Kara, I have to.

Kara: C’MON JP. I’m only five minutes late and I’m leaving right now. Don’t be such a jerk!

JP: Hey, rules are rules. If I bend them five minutes for you this time, I’ll have to bend them ten minutes for another person the next time.

Kara: This sucks!

JP: It’s only ten dollars, Kara. It’s no big deal.

She was so mad and red-faced that I had to cut in to try to defuse the situation.

Me: Kara, hey on the bright side, at least you look really stunning tonight. As you were walking by a few minutes ago, I heard a couple of guys say that you looked pretty fine.

She softened for a moment and smiled at the compliment.

I pointed to the yellow ticket she was holding.

Me: Fine indeed. Ten dollar fine!

If my goal was to diffuse the situation, it worked like a charm. She wasn’t mad at JP anymore.


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