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Tirade of the Week


8.22.99

Rules for the New Millennium: On the Road


When the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2001 (the real start of the millennium), there are gonna be some changes. Yep, I plan to be in charge by then, and you can kiss your freedom goodbye. Well, not ALL your freedoms -- just your freedom to be an asshole. Last week I laid down the law about conduct in movie theaters; this time, I turn my focus to rules of conduct on the road.

(A) HIGHWAY ETIQUETTE

(1) Unless you are driving an emergency vehicle (ambulance, cop car) or you have some living thing in your car demanding immediate medical attention, there is no reason for you to drive up someone's ass. The new cars of 2001 will come equipped with light sensors on their rear fenders. If you are tailgating a car and there are no flashing lights present on the roof of your vehicle (and, of course, official emergency vehicles will emit a special kind of light to foil idiots who put a fake bubble on their car), the car in front of you will spray shaving cream onto the windshield of your car. That should slow you down pretty fucking rapidly.

(1A) The above tailgating accompanied by the use of high-beams will result in your windshield being splattered not with shaving cream but with rancid, week-old diarrhea.

(2) If you are on the highway going less than 50 mph in perfectly fine weather (i.e., not inclement weather that necessitates slow and cautious driving), you had better have a good reason. Each car will come with a booklet of cards to place in the rear window: ON MY WAY TO THE GARAGE; TRYING TO GET THIS PIECE OF SHIT HOME BEFORE IT DIES; etc. That way your fellow drivers will know you're not just being slow, because all of us have been forced to take the highway while driving a trembly car. If you are seen using these cards too often (i.e., abusing them), your right to drive on highways will be revoked until you get a better car.

(3) Once you come off the ramp onto the highway, special sensors on the pavement will immediately turn off your blinker, so that you don't drive for miles signalling for a right and annoying everyone behind you. If you need the blinker again soon after entering the highway, you can manually activate it as usual.

(4) Keeping pace with a car in the next lane is forbidden. Either pass or go slower. Going neck-and-neck with another car at 60mph makes the other driver nervous and can lead to accidents.

(B) STREETS

(1) A stop sign means STOP, not "slow down, check to see if no one's coming, then continue without really coming to a full stop." Special sensors in the curbs will determine whether you have complied with the general standards of a full stop (i.e., complete interruption of forward motion -- some of you seem not to grasp this basic law of physics). If not, the sensors will read the barcode on the bottom of your car and feed the information into the database of your friendly local police department, which will mail you a ticket.

(2) Cars will be designed with a feature that automatically emits a piercing buzz whenever you start to go into a turn without having indicated your turn with your directional blinker. Eventually you will get the idea: slow down, signal, turn. Even if you are in a parking lot alone at 3 in the morning, you will still have to signal or face the piercing buzz.

(3) The streets of residential areas will be booby-trapped. They will contain spikes that spring up and puncture tires if the sensors within the street pick up a car going above the posted speed limit. (The sensors will allow for emergency vehicles.) Some of you drive way too fast in residential areas and I think a couple of shredded tires are a small price to pay for pretending the street where I live is a racetrack.

(C) PARKING LOTS AND DRIVE-THRUS

(1) There are well-defined aisles for traffic within most parking lots. Some choose to ignore them and cut diagonally through the lot, usually at a high speed, inconsiderate of other drivers or pedestrians. If the parking-lot sensors detect a vehicle on a diagonal course, the car's barcode will be scanned and the driver will be ticketed.

(2) To discourage "Esso assholes," sentry guards will be posted at the entrances and exits of all gas stations. The driver will confirm that he or she is entering the station for gas, not to cut through the lot and avoid a red light. The driver will receive a token along with the gas, which he or she will then turn over to the exit sentry in order to be let out of the parking lot.

(3) Any fancy car parked on a diagonal so that it takes up two spaces will be fair game for much merriment involving knives and sledgehammers. The police will cordon off the car and hand out hard weaponry to the first twenty people who want to take a whack at the car. If the owner of the car can be located and brought forth to witness the destruction, so much the better.

(4) To discourage drivers from entering the exit of a McDonald's parking lot, spikes will be placed at the exit. The spikes will be positioned at such an angle that they push down for exiting vehicles but remain rigid for entering vehicles. This will prevent the annoyance of an exiting customer having to yield for some entering shithead who misunderstands the meaning of the word "exit."

(5) Drive-thru customers will not be allowed "special orders." They must save that for transactions inside the building, over the counter. Why the fuck are you making a special order at a fast-food chain, anyway? What are you, an asshole? If you want your food a certain way, stay home and cook it yourself, dick.

(D) PEDESTRIANS AND OTHER NON-AUTOMOBILES

(1) Pedestrians are advised not to abuse their right of way. In particular, surly teenagers who take their sweet fucking time strolling across the street, heedless of approaching cars, will have no legal recourse if some irate driver floors it and rams them into a better life.

(1A) This goes double for skateboarders.

(2) People on bicycles are advised to remember that they are smaller than a car and therefore harder to see coming if they are pedaling at about 30mph. People on bicycles should also remember that the purpose of a sidewalk, as implied by its very name, is for walking, not bicycling. People on bicycles would also do well to realize that in a match between a car and a bicycle, the final score will be Car 1, Bicycle 0. Generally, people on bicycles should just fuck off. We are looking into outlawing them altogether except for recreational purposes like freestyling in arena situations, where they can do whatever they want without getting in my way. Bicycles are for sport or exercise, and there are plenty of non-traffic spaces in which to ride them for those purposes. Bicycles are not for getting from point A to point B any more. Maybe back when bicyclists shared the road with horses and buggies, it was acceptable. But this is the age of the automobile, so get a fucking automobile and keep your Schwinn off the road. My apologies to any bicyclists in the readership (my familiar litany: I'm not talking about the bicyclists I don't notice because they do what they're supposed to do, I'm talking about the assholes I do notice because they're assholes), but too many of these people think they own the road and they just annoy me all to hell.

(E) GENERAL DRIVING BEHAVIOR

(1) When you do something stupid that causes another driver to beep at you, you will not respond as if the other person is the asshole; you will not react to the other person's justifiable beeping by muttering "All right, all right! Jesus, relax." You will hold up the card that comes with the car: SORRY. I'M WRONG. YOU'RE RIGHT. I'M THE ASSHOLE. I SUCK. I SHOULDN'T EVEN BE DRIVING.

(2) When the light changes to green and the car in front of you fails to proceed within 2 milliseconds, you will not lean on your horn and scream "C'MON, ASSHOLE, LET'S GO!"

(3) If you cut someone off and then drive at a crawl, thus adding insult to injury, expect to get your ass kicked. That will be legal grounds for a righteous ass-whupping.

(4) Finally, when a highway sign says LEFT LANE CLOSED, they're not kidding. The left lane will be closed. And such signs are posted well in advance to give you the opportunity to get over into the right lane. Therefore, you will not stay in the left lane until the last possible second, merrily pass drivers on the right, and then expect other drivers to let you into the right lane. Past a certain point -- say, a half-mile past the sign -- the sensors in the highway will cause your wheels to lock, thus preventing you from getting into the right lane; you will run off the road and die, and the rest of us will laugh at you and continue on our way.