Select Page

‘My Brilliant Life’ is a series of blog posts that may continue until blogging loses it’s chique coolness or I lose interest.

My Brilliant Life: 28 years on and lots has happened, let me bring you up to date. This short, abridged and possibly incorrect account of my period of my life serves three purposes. Firstly, to help me remember where I’ve been and be thankful for where I’m going, secondly to seek your input and editing if your memory is better than mine. Finally to document a life changed, a life that I didn’t think was, but actually is brilliant, proof that who you were isn’t exactly who you will be and what you’ve done doesn’t have to drag you down but can build you up.

I’m 16 and a half years old, having just got my drivers license learners permit in Queensland and I get myself a night in jail because I wasn’t wearing a bike helmet!

You remember when you got yours, a drivers license expands your horizons, it’s like installing wings on a bird, the teen can be set free to drive wherever he wants! Though the years before you get your full drivers license, before you are set free, you travel differently, in Central Queensland you ride a bike.

This fateful day I was riding my bike through town, Victoria Street actually, out the front of the Old Commonwealth Bank building and the Old Courthouse. As was the fashion in those days you never wore your bike helmet, you had it hanging from your handlebars so that if you crashed you’d at least have safe handlebars. The law at the time had all bike riders wearing helmets. As admirable as the lawful cause was I still wonder why we need to legislate silly things that keep stupid people like myself alive. Whatever happened to survival of the fittest?

I’m riding casually and the Police lights and siren squeals and I halt in fear. I’ve heard that sound before and wondered what I could have done to get in trouble this time. Luckily it’s only a $30 fine for not wearing my bike helmet. I nod and agree with the policeman at all the right moments, take the paper fine and put my helmet on and I’m on my way. There’s a subtle difference to every other occasion before now where I’ve gotten in trouble, big or small, with the police. This time I had a drivers license and even though I wasn’t driving a car they took my drivers license number and all my details.

Months, years later

Having worked my way in to a great position with Business Solutions in Mackay I had a company car at various times to do various jobs. I’d also, after many tries, finally acquired a provisional drivers license. Had’ve I actually read the book, studied or taken a course Id’ve passed with flying colours, alas a license was won!

I was driving down Harbour Road towards the center of town before the Forgan Smith Bridge in Mackay and the Police sirens light up. In Mackay at the time it was common for the Police to do random checks of random cars, it wasn’t personal, they’d check for stolen items, drugs, alcohol etc and check your BAC and license. After a search and some checks they let us go and all was fine. I drove about 40 metres before the Police sirens came back on.

The Police Headquarters had gotten back to the Police who had searched me via Police radio and let them know there was a warrant for my arrest and I was to be brought in immediately.

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gunna do?

The $30 bike helmet fine I had earned when I first got my license had been ignored, forgotten and went unpaid. It subsequently went to court and earned itself some extra court charges and amounted close to $200.

The Police that night said I could pay then, alas I did not have $200 on me. My dad nor my boss would answer their phones, I had no money and no lifeline! So I spent the night in the watchhouse (local police mini-jail is proably a good description if you’re unaware of what a watchhouse is). Nights in jail earn you money towards your fines, its remunerable repentance in a funny way, so I stayed two days, technically, because I came in before midnight and left the next morning. I’d paid most of the fine off through my sleep and my dad came in the next morning and bailed me out, and all was fine once more, thanks Dad!

So what have we learned?

Wear a bike helmet!