Dave Molter is a freelance writer and Golden Quill and Keystone Press Awards winner. He also is a freelance musician in the Pittsburgh area.

All I know for sure is, someone exceeded authority in my life. Maybe many times.

I’m not exactly certain when it began, but I think it was probably in the early 1960s, after the long-haired Kennedy hippies took over Washington.

Before then, I was just your average, crewcut, slightly overweight child of a borderline lower-class American family. My dad had quit high school when he was 16. My mom didn’t work – except around the house, which was, you know, ordained by God. At least that’s what Dad said. I wore Perry Como sweaters to school. The yarn pills on the sweater were longer than my hair.

But after JFK and Jackie moved lock, stock and barrel into the White House, things changed. Mom wore a pillbox hat to church; Dad no longer wore a hat anywhere. I started wearing penny loafers, black dress pants, a skinny tie, a white shirt and a fully buttoned vest to school. My formerly butch-waxed hair began creeping toward the tops of my ears. I was, I think, what they called “trendy.” Who made me do it? Someone. Someone who exceeded authority.

Then JFK died and the Beatles happened. As soon as I could get Mom to take me to Thom McAn, my penny loafers became Cuban-heeled Beatle boots. My pants became pegged. Some color appeared in my above-waist wardrobe. My hair actually touched the tops of my ears. My gym teacher said I climbed a rope “pretty good for a girl!” By the time I’d reached my senior year in high school, my home room teacher took one look at me, pointed and screamed, “You! Get a haircut!”

I was, I think, what they called “groovy.”

Who made me do it? Someone. Maybe the same someone who exceeded authority the first time.

50 years passed.

Now my hair is over my ears and I have a beard that in a few months might make Grizzly Adams check to see if, facing me, he was looking in a mirror. I sometimes wear pegged pants, although they are now called, they tell me, “skinny jeans.” Actually, they are probably what an internet ad called “plus-sized skinny jeans.” This makes about as much sense to me as “jumbo shrimp.” But I do like the look.

I am again, I think, what they call “trendy.” But probably more a thing they call “retired and don’t care what people think anymore.”

Who made me do it? Someone.

I read last week that some people say that special counsel Robert Mueller “exceeded his authority” in investigating Donald Trump. I read – also on the internet, because it is the only reliable source of news since the weekly shopper I used to get at the taco truck down the road stopped printing – that when the Department of Energy ruled in 2008 that we must phase out incandescent lightbulbs, the lighting industry objected and sued to overturn the decision.

“DOE, in our view, exceeded its authority,” said Clark Silcox, general counsel for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

More headlines:

“Judge rules Trump exceeded his authority in issuing rules on collective bargaining”

“Supreme Court exceeded authority in issuing execution stays”

“DC District Court holds that Medicare payment cuts for 340B drugs exceeded agency’s authority”

“DOJ: US government exceeded surveillance authority”

Exceeding authority is, I think, a thing they call “trending.” So, yeah, someone surely exceeded authority in my life.

And when I find out who it was, I’m gonna sue him.


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