Stupid is as stupid does…and then some


By Al Vinikour     

In the past I have written diatribes about people who use their vehicles as beauty salons and shaving mirrors as they head to work – seemingly oblivious to the fact that they’re completely surrounded by traffic. They probably figure it’s a good deal because if they’re applying mascara at a stoplight and the light changes somebody will let them know.

The other day I was caught in a construction slowdown and used the time wisely (for me). I got to thinking about all the stupid things that drivers do once they get behind the wheel. I must admit that this thought process was triggered by a radio report I had just heard about our state declaring it illegal to “text message” while driving.

Just how much of an idiot does somebody have to be to read and send text messages while aiming a two-ton boulder down a roadway? That’s right…that stupid! I can just see the thought bubble over the head of some gossip-happy individual who sees the gravel hauler stopped about a half-mile ahead of them but they don’t have time for that now…they need to read about what happened after Chad got drunk and disappeared with Gretchen.

If texting while driving isn’t that big a deal then maybe school systems can save themselves a hunk of cash by combing Driver’s Education with Typing 101. Their instructor could teach them some of life’s valuable lessons such as “ASDF…JKLSemi…HIT THE BREAK NOW!!!!!” Or “Never put the vehicle in “R” when you’re going forward, LOL.”

Among other acts of lunacy I see quite often are people reading newspapers while driving. What the hell are they thinking…that they’re commuting by train? If you’re in the midst of reading about the latest political scandal – or even reading a completely enjoyable column by that hilarious Al Vinikour — if the train has to make a sudden stop because a recently unemployed vice president of sales is lying prone across the railroad track you can continue reading.

However, if you’re driving and get lost in what you’re reading the next thing you know you’re going to be hitting a stopped school bus in the ass…and guess what’s going to happen to yours when you’re sent away for 3-5 years for vehicular homicide? The same question can be asked about people who are on their computers while driving. The only difference is the advanced degree of technical stupidity.

To a lesser extent another idiotic practice is dancing while driving. I’ve seen people — particularly teenagers — doing every type of dance imaginable with the exception of maybe the limbo while trying to pilot a vehicle. Generally they resemble bobble heads as they use their craniums to keep time with whatever they’re calling “music” that day.

In my day, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, the most someone would do is loudly sing with the song that’s playing on the radio. But it makes a big difference to sing along with Bo Diddley and carefully watch the highway rather than listening to from the Black-Eyed Peas and trying to do a full spin while hitting high notes with one’s eyes closed.

Things I haven’t seen drivers do, although if you can think of it it’s probably been done, are: changing a baby’s diaper on I-75; frying eggs on a portable hot plate; taking their temperature rectally; building a model airplane, doing needlepoint, crocheting or any other kind of hobby craft;…see where I’m going with this?

Hey, Al, now you've
seen the one-hand
diaper change!

Ironically I have no problem with people eating or drinking a beverage while driving, although some municipalities seem to. Not just because I do it myself but if you can’t watch the traffic around you while having a 7-11 cup of coffee at your lips then you should not be issued a driver’s license.

Unless you’re closing your eyes and savoring the beans that Juan Valdez personally brought down from the mountains of Colombia then you don’t pose a threat to me or anyone else around you. Same theory applies to an Oscar Mayer hot dog you just purchased at Bert’s Service Station. (I say ironically because it really makes me just as stupid as stupid does.)

Just remember when you’re behind the wheel, the old rule of “10 and 2” applies to hand position…not the letters W” and “P” on your keyboard. And do as I say and not do as I do – damn I’m hungry when I’m hungry!