Yes, I Road Rage


Road Rage: The Art of Making Lifelong Enemies During a Fifteen Minute Commute

I use to joke about having one of those de-motivational posters with a poster of a NASCAR crash and the caption, “Road Rage: The Art of Making Lifelong Enemies During a Fifteen Minute Commute.”

People just don’t get the joke.

Someone once suggested I replace the NASCAR picture with a picture from a traffic jam. Like, for real.

What would be the fun in that?

I love NASCAR. Back in the day, I was a HUGE Dale Earnhardt fan. I loved watching that black number 3 Chevrolet plow through slower cars. The way Earnhardt drove, he basically gave everyone else on the track an ultimatum just by showing up: Get out of my way, or I will wreck you.

That kind of attitude doesn’t translate to the street very well. But let’s just take a moment and imagine that it did.

Go ahead, admit it. Wouldn’t we all feel better about driving if it was legal to lock bumpers on the highway and push the old Buick doing 68 in the passing lane past the old Mercury doing 67.5 in the slow lane?

Where I live, we basically have Autobahn rules for the parkways / interstates. No, not the drive as fast as you want part, but the keep right except to pass part. In fact, there are signs everywhere that say keep right except to pass. Right about every two miles, there’s a sign that says that.

So, do people keep right except to pass? Of course not!

Which brings me to a point. I was recently told that more than half of adults never read a book after they leave school. And then I was presented with this pile of “facts”:

• One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.

• 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.

• 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.

• 70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

• 57 percent of new books are not read to completion.

According to the folks at MentalFloss, the source of these statistics is a study that never really bothered to explain how they came up with these numbers. Nonetheless, they’ve been quoted for truth all over the internet, so they must be right, right?

Yesterday I logged onto Facebook and saw somebody’s status that said, “You don’t have the guts to post this, but imagine how much better the world would be if you did. Share if you’ve got the guts.” And beneath that was a picture of a little girl and a caption that said something like, “I support finding a cure for cancer.”

Seriously, what dark part of Facebook is so vile and disgusting that it takes guts to say you want cancer to go away. Is there some big group of people somewhere who will send you taunting messages if you’re against cancer? Are there cancer groupies who will feel discriminated against and threaten to sue?

And then there’s the politics. We have a guy running on his third marriage (with allegations that he asked his last wife for permission to be a polygamist) running on a position of strong moral values. We have another guy who implemented mandatory state-wide healthcare while governor criticizing the president’s national health-care plan which was based off his own state-wide health care plan. And then we have the guy who says what he believes even when it’s not popular, whose voting record going back thirty years is totally consistent with everything he says he believes in—and that guy’s called a crackpot!

The presidential elections aren’t a popularity contest, the whole future of our country is at stake—but hey, why apply logic to politics. Everybody likes drunk uncle Ted because he tells great stories and buys people stuff, why not run him for president? I mean, personally, I wouldn’t hire him to sweep the floors, much less run the country. But, hey, your mileage may vary.

Speaking of mileage,  I almost got run over by some old guy in an SUV who didn’t know what side of the road he was on. Which is minor compared to most days, honestly. A couple of weeks ago I nearly got hit head-on on a one-way street because some idiot in a Suburban a half-block up from me decided to pop a U-turn in the intersection and race back where he came from. Nevermind all those signs at every intersection that say WRONG WAY: DO NOT ENTER.

I can only imagine when this moron popped the U-turn, his thought process was something like this: “I should’ve turned a block back. I could make a right, turn up the next street, and get back to where I’m going, but SCREW IT. I’M IN A BIG SUV.”

This brings me back to why I liked Earnhardt so much. After putting up with traffic like that, there’s just something satisfying about watching a guy knock the hell out of all the cars around him like some kind of automotive incarnation of the Tasmanian Devil. Which, I guess, explains why the Tasmanian Devil played so often in GM’s marketing of Earnhardt and the Chevrolet brand.

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Yes, I road rage. But it’s not all bad. I’ve learned to like driving with nobody else in the car. It’s almost like being in NASCAR, except without the fun of being able to plow through other cars.