Thou Shalt Not Cut
Me Off, Dammit!
by Mad Dog
There's no mention of driving while using cell phones,
eating Big Macs, or applying mascara, or whether it's okay to use the
carpool lane when you're by yourself because "the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit are always with me."
||The Vatican, in its
never-ending search to find something in your life they haven’t
already issued rules for so you can feel extreme guilt when you don’t
follow them and confess for what feels longer than an hour-long Larry
King Live show — if you can imagine such a thing — recently issued
the Ten Commandments for Drivers. And why not, there’s already the
original ten, the movie version, the suppressed “other ten” — if
you believe a recent Weekly World News, and why shouldn’t you?
— and of course the Ten Commandments of Love by the Moonglows,
but that was way back in 1958 and I’m sure they need to be updated
pretty badly at this point. Right, as if the others don’t.
The 36-page document, which is
actually called "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the
Road," a title that sounds more like a guide to paving, filling
potholes, and painting white stripes in rural areas, covers the moral
aspects of driving a car. And the immoral ones, too. It discusses road
rage, respecting pedestrians, keeping within the speed limit, avoiding
rude gestures while driving, and my fave, the Fifth Commandment, which
reads: "Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and
domination, and an occasion of sin." In other words, “Both hands
on the wheel, buddy.”
Not surprisingly, praying while
driving is okay. In fact, it's encouraged. And often necessary.
Hopefully though, you’ll do it with your eyes open and your hands
firmly at the ten and two o’clock position so as not to make that
“In case of Rapture, this car will swerve all over the road but I
won’t care because I’ll be in heaven already” bumper sticker come
true. There's no mention of driving while using cell phones, eating Big
Macs, or applying mascara, or whether it's okay to use the carpool lane
when you're by yourself because "the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit are always with me." But don’t worry, if the state trooper
doesn’t buy that excuse you can always ask President Bush to commute
your fine. He’s easy.
The survey found that the three things that infuriate people
the most is motorists who drive too fast, tailgate, and cut over without
signaling. At least when other people do it.
These guidelines come none too soon. According to a survey
released by AutoVantage, a Connecticut-based automobile membership club
that acts like AAA but isn’t, bad driving manners and, as a result,
road rage are getting worse. Grabbing the top spot as having the worst
drivers for the second year in a row is Miami, FL. Way to go, Miami! Now
put down those cell phones, middle fingers, and .38 Specials and watch
the road, will you?
The survey found that the three
things that infuriate people the most is motorists who drive too fast,
tailgate, and cut over without signaling. At least when other people do
it. The three road ragiest reactions to bad driving were honking the
horn, cursing at the other driver while thinking they’d somehow hear
it from 40 feet away through two cars with the windows rolled up, the
air conditioning running at full blast, and the stereo pumping at ear
bleeding levels, and waving a fist. And no, they’re not waving it to
show solidarity with their oppressed brothers. Only 1 percent said
they’ve slammed their car into another one to let it be known how they
felt. Of course when you figure that there are 196 million drivers in
the United States, that means nearly 2 million people have rammed
another car because of discourteous driving. Maybe it’s time gas
stations start passing out free Xanax with every fill up. Hey, at least
then we’d be getting something for the inflated prices we’re paying.
Not to mention we wouldn’t worry about how fast the dials on the pump
were spinning. At least not until the end of the month when the credit
card bill showed up and the Xanax had long ago worn off.
them try the Monday morning rush hour commute or get stuck behind an RV
that’s towing a car up a winding mountain road for two hours at 6 mph
and see how long their fist stays inside the Popemobile.
Hopefully people will take the Ten Commandments of Driving to
heart and become more courteous drivers. True, the Vatican wants us to
become more moral drivers, but let’s not ask the impossible. If we
don’t shape up on our own, we might be forced to shape up. Transport
Canada, which is like the U.S. Department of Transportation with a few
extra “eh”s thrown in, has been testing a system that enforces the
speed limit by making it hard to push down the gas pedal when you go
over the speed limit. How can they tell? They use a GPS device to
monitor the car’s speed and position. Yes, they not only know how fast
you’re going, but where you are. And what you’re doing. So stop
thinking no one knows you have your finger in your nose while you’re
sitting at that stop light, okay? And you thought your current Car Nanny
was bad reminding you to buckle your seat belt, buzzing when you’ve
left the headlights on, and setting off an ear-piercing alarm when you
break either the third, fourth, or seventh Commandments of Driving.
It’s easy for the Vatican to expect
us to follow the Ten Commandments of Driving. After all, Vatican City is
the world's smallest sovereign state, with only about 1,000 cars, a
maximum speed limit of 30 kph — about 19 mph — and not a single
accident inside the city’s walls in more than 18 months. Let them try
the Monday morning rush hour commute or get stuck behind an RV that’s
towing a car up a winding mountain road for two hours at 6 mph and see
how long their fist stays inside the Popemobile. Pax vobiscum
indeed. It will be more like “Move over, Buddy or you’re going to
hell.” Would you pass the Xanax, please?
©2007 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them, but not while driving.