March 31, 2000
I’m going crazy. I know, you’re sitting there thinking, He’s coming to this conclusion a little late, isn’t he? Besides, we’re all a little kooky, even though eccentrics insist on having their own private club. But I’ve seen a sign that I’m dangerously close to cracking up: I almost bought something I saw in an infomercial. All the signs were there: it was a TV show preceded by a message from the network that said, "This is a paid advertisement. We don’t endorse this product, and you probably shouldn’t either." The name of the show was "Wondrous Inventions of Science" and was hosted by a guy with bad teeth and badly permed hair. (Never, ever buy anything from anyone whose hair looks like overcooked rotini.) He also had a sidekick with an English accent who interrupted everything to rush in and tell the host what a great deal he had. The deal was then booed by the audience who, strangely enough, kept looking up, as though there were instructions being held up over their heads. (Obviously the instructions weren’t the only things over their heads.) The sidekick made the deal better, and the audience, looking slightly confused and not so certain, booed again. This went on about fourteen times. Finally the deal was so great the audience gave it a standing ovation.
I have no idea what the product itself was, but what I believe put the deal over the edge was when the English guy included a free thumbtack. Anyway, I might not be around the next couple of weeks because I’m checking myself into a hospital for observation. But wait ’til you hear about the deal I got on medication!
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
THE 15 CARDINAL RULES OF DRIVING IN NASHVILLE
- A right lane construction closure is just a game to see how many people can cut in line by passing you on the right as you sit in the left lane waiting for the same idiots to squeeze their way back in before hitting construction barrels. Bonus points are awarded for getting out of your car and moving the barrels.
- Turn signals provide clues as to your next move in the road battle, so never use them.
- Under no circumstances should you leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, no matter how fast you’re going. If you do, the space will be filled in by somebody else, putting you in an even more dangerous situation.
- The faster you drive through a red light, the less likely your chance of getting hit.
- The car with the most extensive body work automatically has the right of way.
- Braking is to be done as hard and late as possible, to insure that your antilock braking system kicks in. This will give you a nice, relaxing foot massage as the brake pedal pulsates.
- Construction signs are carefully positioned to tell you about road closures immediately after you pass the last opportunity to exit, but just before the traffic begins to back up.
- Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right. It’s a good way to scare people entering the highway. Passing on the shoulder is encouraged – that’s why they’re paved.
- Speed limits are arbitrary figures to make Tennessee look as if it conforms with other state policies. They are intended only as suggestions and are, in fact, unenforceable.
- Just because you’re in the left lane and have no room to speed up or move over doesn’t mean that a driver flashing his high beams behind you doesn’t think he can go faster in your spot.
- Always slow down and rubberneck when you see an accident or even a person changing a tire. If you’re lucky, you may see the unlucky breakdown victim get mugged.
- Learn to swerve abruptly. Nashville is the home of very high-speed slalom driving, thanks to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which puts potholes in key locations to test drivers’ reflexes and keep them on their toes. Parts of truck tires are left on new highways where potholes haven’t yet been established for the same purpose. The orange barrels are for special slalom events as they are reserved only for the most highly skilled in slalom driving when competitions are held at night.
- Seeking eye contact with another driver automatically revokes your right of way.
- Giving on obscene gesture may invite armed retaliation. Be sure that your rifle is on the gun rack in the rear window (and therefore visible), rather than lying on the seat, and in range to pick up easily.
- When in doubt, remember that all unmarked exits lead to Old Hickory Blvd. FOR THOSE OF YOU NON-NASHVILLIANS, "OLD HICKORY BLVD." WAS TO HAVE CIRCLED THE CITY AT ONE TIME, BUT IT’S CUSTOMARY FOR NASHVILLE ROAD ENGINEERS TO DRINK WHILE THEY WORK. REGARDLESS OF WHAT SIDE OF TOWN YOU LIVE YOU HAVE AN OLD HICKORY BLVD.