Influence: it is something we all want. Having influence is a great thing. If you lose, though, it can be terrible. My friend Steve would drive all over town. He never came to a complete stop at any stop sign. He never really stuck to the speed limit, either. He wasn’t a threat to the other drivers. He just was a little lax about obeying traffic laws in his hometown.
Steve owned a self-service carwash. To use the carwash, you had to use tokens. If you put money in the change machine, you got out tokens that could be used for the washing machines. He always managed to give out tokens to the police in town. Just about every Saturday, the police would stop by the carwash and pick up a few tokens. The tokens were only suitable for washing cars. Needless to say, his hometown police department had especially clean cars. Steve never seemed to get tickets from his slack driving.
You might say he had a little influence in town. Well, he sold the carwash, and the police chief changed. The last time I rode around with Steve, his driving habits had changed dramatically. The town’s police cars were a lot dirtier also. You might say his influence had faded a little.
That’s the trouble with influence. It doesn’t always last. Sometimes you find out the influence you thought you had is nonexistent. Some of my friends have been stopped for speeding and ended up with a ticket, or worse ended up in jail because the police didn’t know that their brother-in-law was friends with the mayor, senator, or even the governor. Sometimes even the most powerful influence wielder will run for cover if you are arrested for DUI.
Still, it is nice when you can get some use out of your influence. Isn’t it great when we get some good or service at a reduced price because we have an influential friend that lets us have something at a deal? Sometimes we come to find out we could have had it a lot cheaper had we just went to a different store and paid the regular price. Losing influence is terrible.
Losing influence is the worst thing. Think of the people that are running for office now. They seem to have a little influence, and in the blink of an eye, that influence fades and its back to being just goofing around with us common folks.
Sometimes we just imagine that we have influence when we really don’t. Steve might obey traffic laws a little bit better. Sometimes I ease through a stop sign without a full and complete stop. It is not because I have some influence; I just don’t do it all the time. The same goes for speeding.
I think we all wish we had a little influence that we could use and not abuse. It not only makes us feel important, but it saves us from some traffic fines and things like that. We shouldn’t get too carried away, though. Will Rogers said that “If you think you are a person of some influence, trying bossing around somebody else’s dog.”