Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The 17 Best-Known Root Causes of Bad Driving

Rough Language And Speed Bumps Ahead

Recently Sugarmama undertook the subject of bad or poor drivers in her reader-based drive to cover every subject under the sun, but I don’t think she was mean enough. No, she may be strong, she may be smart, she may be good-looking, but what’s needed for a topic like this is somebody who’s hateful as sin, mean as a snake, somebody who’s been mad longer than Sugarmama’s been alive, someone willing to say derogatory things about bad drivers’ mothers, fathers, and their antecedents in the non-human world. Someone not limited by a false sense of politeness. Someone gleefully unstable. In short, this topic needs a ratbastard like me.

The items below are numbered, but only for reference points in case some of you want to criticize. As it turned out, I was incompetent and failed to make this a list of distinctly different things. So let’s just say it’s a bunch of small essays on the general topic and that many of them wallow all over the place and hit some of the same points. The New York Times wouldn’t let me get away with this, but my publisher is rather more lax.

The 17 Best-Known Root Causes of Bad Driving

1. Bad Parents -- Some of their parents never told them the difference between right and wrong. It’s that simple.
2. Bad Daddies -- Even some of the fathers who did tell them the difference nonetheless drove this way themselves and thus negated all that good advice.
3. Bad Mommies -- Their mothers never insisted they quit driving badly. They never told their child not to show up for Christmas if they were going to keep driving like maniacs. They prided themselves on having raised a child who could tie its shoelaces and pretend to keep awake in church; that alone was considered a miracle. Driving habits were important. They just “love” their depraved offspring, no matter what, and never oppose their return to the road. Killing other people’s babies and children is no great matter.
4. Families In General -- Whole families need to be exterminated or sterilized. Clearly, large segments of the American population are either unwilling or unable to police their own behavior. Bad Drivers in these families simply got too much positive reinforcement in a negative situation. They behaved badly and were treated nicely. It’s hard to say if it’s the rich or the poor who are most at fault, or people from the North or the South. In Hell, where they will all eventually go, no one cares about that. The family unit has just plain failed, I say; there are no powerful Grandfathers and Grandmothers these days who’ll slap the crap out of you when your other near kin fails to do it.
5. Inadequate Police Authority -- Listen, we need bigger guns. Why wouldn’t it be all right to just shoot the worst of the bad drivers dead in their tracks? Just drag the dead body to the edge of a cliff and give it a kick down the hill. Being a cop would become a much more popular job. Bad driving would decrease due to the rumor of this alone. Cops wouldn’t really have to shoot more than five or six a week in any one city to get things in line.
6. A diseased concept of Freedom -- When they get behind the wheel, regular men and women continue to speak kindly and gesture in a friendly manner to their loved one in the passenger seat even while they’re not looking where they’re going and are turning into aggressive monsters toward every passing stranger. Upon hearing this description, they readily recognize The Other Guy, not themselves.
7. Clocks -- When Bad Drivers are late for the latest thing they’re late for, other drivers, even those who have elderly persons or infants in the car, are of no consequence whatsoever. “Run over them if necessary,” appears to be the golden rule.
8. Insurance Companies – It’s their fault because some people who pay enormous premiums have come to think that insurance will cover everything. Many drivers have evidently never seen maimed bodies except in Terminator movies and it isn’t anything real to them.
9. Immaturity -- Oh, these awful Boys at the wheel! The best of kind, gentle, educated, skillful Americans turn into flaming assholes behind the wheel. I said Boys, but I intend no sexual distinction. Offenders are male and female. They want what they want and they want it Now. They don’t care what happens. They won’t accept the argument that They could have a wreck. It is utterly impossible, according to them. I’d like to blame TV for this perception, but, as I understand it, bad driving preceded TV. Somebody was wrecking oxcarts long before we invented the rubber tire or combustion engine. Therefore we must conclude that the First Profession wasn’t The Prostitute at all, it was The Asshole.
10. Religion, or the lack thereof -- Apparently perfectly good Christians, as drivers, become as impatient and pushy and demented as anybody else does. If God-fearing pedestrians acted the way they do as drivers, they’d be elbowing your grandmother to the ground at the grocery store and kicking Grandpa’s cane out from under him at the curb so that they could jump out and cross at the intersection in front of him. The wouldn’t even say “Oops!” Yet the polite and respectful pedestrians you know ARE those predatory drivers who don’t seem to belong to the human race!
11. Bosses – Many won’t let parents leave early to pick up their kids or else they make the parents suffer for it. It’s not that these bosses are without sympathy because they don’t have children of their own. They just have children who don’t have a parent. The bosses have children, yes, but no sympathy, period.
12. Judges and drunk drivers -- I believe it has changed a good deal in the past 10 to 15 years, but it used to be that judges would give drunk drivers a pass or a slap on the wrist because the judges themselves were old-fashioned good-ole-boy drunks themselves and thought there was nothing wrong with drinking, at any time or in any way. Like the Masons, drinking was a Secret Society in which there was No Shame. Like slobs around the world, they identified with Everybody (even the criminals) who “just like a good drink”. I take it they ceased to identify with the drunk drivers AFTER they killed someone, but their unwillingness to shun them or control them before the event is testimony still, I think, to the laughability of the whole concept of civilized behavior. Judges ought to represent it, and not be good ole backslapping jowly hog-boys who start drinking alcohol just as early in the morning as the criminals. Their Mammas spoiled them as well, it seems. And now they’re goddamn judges!
13. Partially disabled drivers -- People with bad backs, stiff necks, recent injuries, and overall low agility. Many people are bad drivers through no particular ill intent, but simply through illness, age, and dysfunction. Whether aged or crippled or just a little stiff, some drivers get in their cars and pray they won’t be required by young aggressive maniacs to whip their heads around 180 degrees in each direction to check for danger or to thread a needle with their Mercury Sable. They are NOT agile enough to do so! Maybe they shouldn’t go out and drive in that shape, but the fact is that everyone in America has always done so and is going to continue to do so. It’s pointless to argue about it. Neither the best Christian or the worst driver in America is going to give up their driving privileges without being first wrestled to the ground and subdued. Certainly today’s bad drivers will continue to believe in their own God-given right to drive even when they’ve become the slowpokes that they currently despise.
14. The irrisistable sensation of speed – It just Feels So Good to speed! Today’s speeders will someday be slow old folks themselves praying to Jesus to let them keep their driver’s license and their freedom of movement. If they live. No one “grounds” himself when the time comes and in fact there is a long span of time where these imperfect specimens might “get by” just fine if only there weren’t so many impatient, murderous, rude, and thoughtless pushy bastards on the road with them. In America, there’s always a faster gun and there’s always a younger or more capable driver eager to force you off the road. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with them. My cousin J.W. would like to chase them down, wrestle them to the ground, and beat them until they cough up some pitiful explanation of or apology for their stupid behavior. But there’s just too many of them. And, of course, as you may be thinking, his demonstrative behavior at that point might be a little on the suspect side itself! But I understand his feelings thoroughly!
15. Lack of Defensive Driving – A primary cause of accidents. I’m always surprised that young people and other impatient drivers with quick reflexes are not more afraid of crowding the older or slower drivers. It never seems to occur to them that the ensuing danger of this fast driver-slow driver proximity is Very Great. It should serve as a big red WARNING SIGN for them to ease off. Even if the old folks are Completely In The Wrong, how right can young people make it by being so aggressive? Is the reasoning, “I’ll scare him half to death and that will not cause him to perform some frightened and aberrant action, it will only cause him to safely get out of my way?” Hey, fat chance! When somebody frightens me out there, I BACK OFF to about Tuesday and give them room to do a double back flip. I don’t ride their bumper with steam coming out of my ears while waiting for my break to surge ahad or for their brakes to unexpectedly slam on. You know what, agile driver, you aren’t really a professional racecar driver like you think; you’re just a snotty twit in a big hurry. Personally, I hope you die soon, trapped in a burning car. Something has damn well got to thin the herd. Soon.
16. The Mystique of Competition – I think this is the main thing, the factor involved in most of the other things already listed. For some reason in America, only the old, the infirm, and the way-too-cautious completely do NOT subscribe to it. It’s a notion that seizes us the instant we get in our cars. We suddenly believe that Life is a Competition, a matter of being first (no matter what the cost), of winning (even if there is no prize), of Killing the opponent if necessary, of excelling at something you can do while sitting down on your dead ass. Everyone can do THAT, so naturally everyone is attracted to it!
17. The Mystique of Competition, Part Two
· you must never Yield, you must never get out of anybody’s way, you must always be vigilant! You must Always ride the bumper of the car in front of you. Let them know that you are in a hurry and that you’re better than they are. Either they don’t work for a living at all or their job’s not as important as yours.
· If they don’t move over, Push them over! Dopey people and old people have no business being on the highway with sharpies like you, so never give an inch, take no prisoners!
· Overwrought mothers with a car full of kids and a birthday cake on the front seat are to be given No Quarter on the highways! See if you can make her jumpy! This is the way, get those sluts and mutts off of my road! If they can’t stand the heat, they should get out of the kitchen!
· We’re overpopulated, anyway, so just smash ‘em and bash ‘em! Kill ‘em! But, just remember, when you get out of your car, you’ll have to be mild-mannered Clark Kent again. Kiss your Mamma. Kiss your Sugarmama. Pat your kids on the head. Those are the rules.

I believe some of these bad drivers need to Play sports instead of just watching them on TV; maybe they’d get some of that aggression out of their system somewhere else. But I’m only an amateur psychologist, so what do I know? I know I’m liable to kill the next SOB who pulls any of this Bad Driver pushy stuff on me, I do know that!

Wait a minute, let me run that thought past my over-excited brain one more time… Think it over, now…


Lost in the loss
Or the thick of it,
My heart, like most,
Is sick of it.

Tossed by the rise
Or the sink of it,
Men’s hearts grow tired,
Not quick from it.

Current draft: 02/08/03

No more long articles for a while...we want short blogs, we want short blogs, we want short blogs! Well, you get the idea.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "All cynicism masks a failure to cope." -- John Fowles (The Magus)

1 comment:

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)