2003 Column Archives Last Updated: Apr 22nd, 2006 – 16:33:07

By John Sammon
Nov 16, 2003

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I hate driving. I’m driving down the road at a reasonable speed, and what’s this in my rearview mirror, some geek tailgating.

“What’s your problem?”

I’ve taken all I can take after a mile. I can’t stand it; I’ve got to get this jerk off my back. I veer to the right side of the road, driving in the bicycle lane, so the jerk can pass. He won’t pass. He’s hanging there. He won’t pass. Why won’t he pass if he’s in such a big hurry?

“Oh sure. Tailgate me and then when I pull over to meet your greedy demands to hog the road……..all of a sudden, you’ve found morality. You can’t stand it. By pulling over, I’m telling you to your face (through my rearview) that you’re a selfish coward….and you can’t stand it……me demonstrating it to you. So you hang back, rather than passing me, rather than being forced to admit (by passing) to both you and me that you’re a jerk.

Finally, I regain the middle of the road, and the jerk resumes tailgating.

Okay if that’s what you want. The least I can do is slow you up and ruin your day a little.”

What would cause this guy to be in such a hurry? It must be important, like life or death. He’s probably in a rush to get to the auto parts store where he’s a clerk, so he can pick his nose and belch. I’ll bet his name is Sparky.

Here are some psychological profiles of other favorite drivers:

The little man with the big engine. This guy has an all-terrain-pseudo-military vehicle with a 50 million horsepower engine and knobbed tires the size of my hatchback. He assuage his numerous shortcomings as a man (including penis) by a display of motive force that in all probability takes the place of sex fulfillment.

“Oh boy. A little tiny man with a big foot.”

He has an American flag flying raggedly in an improper display in celebration of Bush’s war, even though the limit of his own service was six weeks in the Boy Scouts. His vehicle consumes more gas in a year than the country of Yemen. He roars by me in the fast lane.

“I’ll bet your mother made you wear clean underwear on Saturdays.”

Here comes the redneck trucker, the one with the Confederate flag celebrating slavery. Hates his wife, hates blacks, hates his job, hates himself, and hates me for slowing him up because I’m in the slow lane going 55 mph. The fast lane next to me is open, but he’s too lazy to use it. He wants this lane. Finally, I swerve into the fast lane to let him pass.

“Oh yeah, give me a dirty look from up there in the cab. Billy Bob. You’re not very bright, not a Rhodes Scholar. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be hauling a load of brussels sprouts. I’ll bet you’re five-foot-six.”

The yuppie punk in the BMW. Roars by me like I’m standing still. His speed strokes several neurotic mythologies he has about himself, such as beating the system, achieving competitive rape-like mastery over others, and courting danger in line with his idea of himself as a swinging stud.

“Tough guy. You wouldn’t flip me the bird if we were face to face. I’ll bet you cry in your sleep.”



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