Thursday, March 31, 2011

Top 10 Things that should be Illegal to do while driving.

Today's submission comes in no small part thanks to my brother Mikey, or Michael as he prefers to be called (Which I do not call him).

 Driving is hard.  You don't realize how hard it is until you try driving with your son or daughter.  Then you understand just how many things inside and outside of the car you have to keep track of.  Over time you internalize the bits you think are most important and leave the rest, but in the beginning, everything has equal weight and it's hard to keep track of it all and actually drive the car.  For many of us, driving the car was the first actual grown up thing we did and for the first little bit, it scared us to death.  We were playing in the adult world now and all of the sudden a lot of things come into perspective.

To help us, the Government has created a whole codex of laws and regulations involving driving that most of us have no idea about.  They are all regulated locally unless you are on an Interstate Highway, then it's monitored by the Feds.  Recently some new laws have been enacted to help save us from ourselves.  While I could and probably will go on in another blog about how I really don't think it's the Government's place to say much about what I'm doing, If they are going to go ahead and make laws anyway, then I think they probably missed a few.  The following are things that should probably be illegal if they aren't all ready when it comes to driving.

10. Shaving/make up - I've seen both, but I must say, I've seen more of the former than the latter.  As a man of some experience, it appears to me that makeup is more of a work of art than a specific process.  Each artist has their own canvas and their own medium.  Shaving is much more easy and very much resembles mowing the lawn.  Neither of these things should be done inside a moving vehicle by the DRIVER!  I understand you are late and you are trying to save time in traffic.  Stop it.  I promise you look much better without makeup than having your makeup done by a mortician (that rarely turns out well).

9. watching chicks/dudes - Fellas, this one is mostly for you.  I don't know if women have the same kind of eye for the opposite sex that we menfolk do, but I highly doubt it.  I remember in high-school I was horrible for this.  I can only count luck and guardian angels for the fact that I didn't have any accidents whilst gawking at the opposite sex.  The other problem is when you are doing this you start driving slower and less aware.  So I envision a speed trap type of arrangement with a scantily clad female and a police officer with high powered binoculars.  Once they find the driving gawker, BANG! here is your ticket!

8.  kid care - Instead of being distracted by something on the outside, all of the distractions are on the inside.  Kids don't really have any concept of driving.  They figure that it's just one of the myriad things that adults can do.  They goof around in the car the same way they goof around at home.  This requires attention (usually from mom, not as much from dad).  Instead of pulling over, mom gets a juice box and pre-straws it and reaches back to give it to her demanding toddler.  The car continues on its course but starts weaving like a drunkard on payday.

7. seat fishing - Who of us doesn't like a little snack while we are on the road?  I know I do.  The problem is, a lot of the treats you will eat end up spilling somewhere into your seat.  This also goes for those little pieces of paper that you wrote directions on or the parking slip you thought you had.  So you start fishing for whatever it is you lost.  While you are searching, you usually have one hand on the wheel and you start veering and lurching down the road with no rhyme or reason searching for that dropped junior mint that you know you will step on if you don't get it RIGHT NOW!

6. radio scan - This used to be a worse problem than it is now thanks to radio controls on the steering wheel.  If you have an older car or an older stereo in a newer car you might be in danger of looking at the station while you are changing it.  It's really not much of a distraction but you usually do it when you are driving at high speeds over a fair distance.  I was never fond of changing the station.  In fact, I would listen to songs I didn't like because I figured I would definitely like the next song coming.  Other people are not as patient with things they 'can't stand' and must change the station to something they like.  These people are doomed to listen to the last 1/2 of all the songs they like on the radio.

5. Watching the movie the other car is playing - I've actually done this  I'm embarrassed to say.  You follow a minivan and you see that the monitors are showing some movie and you get close enough so you can try to identify the show.  Don't claim you haven't done it,  I know you have.  The best part is, there is no real way to verify what the movie was in the case of a dispute.   Don't do it, it's a hazard.  Or get bigger screens in the back so it's easier to watch.  Hey, maybe they could make an option on the car that will cruise control behind the car in front of you so you can watch the movie/show without worrying about maintaining speed.  hmmmm...

4. paying more attention to the GPS than the road - Ok, you're lost, it happens.  But thanks to the miracle of the GPS, you can now have a little box with a pleasant voice tell you that you've missed your turn off.  The interesting thing about GPS is that I've found that once I decide to trust the GPS, I no longer rely on my innate sense of direction.  I found myself being lost in places I knew.  When skynet takes over, it will start with the GPS systems.

3. texting - ok, this is just obvious and obnoxious.  The cellphone is a distraction, but once you add texting to it, you have multiplied it many fold.  People that text while driving are a menace.  According to some studies texting makes you more impaired driving than being drunk.  When you text while driving, you slow WAY down as though this is compensation for having almost 100% of your attention on your text (you wouldn't want to misspell...srsly).

2. reading a book - This is one of the oldest of driving multi-tasks.  Crack open that book and plop it on the steering wheel.  Whenever you are stuck in traffic or at a stop light, you have a good 30 seconds to read a few lines.  Please stop.  Nobody thinks you are smart or anything like it when you do this while driving.

1. using mr. Microphone - Hey good lookin!  Be back to pick you up later!  Mr Microphone was first annoying road dwellers in the late 70's.  You tune it into your car stereo and blast away.  Turn up the stereo and you are public addressing everyone on the street.  So if you are really clever, you use Mr. Microphone on the guy next to you whose stereo is up WAY too loud.  Just tune into his frequency and tell him to TURN IT DOWN!.  Oh, wait a minute, you need to concentrate on driving.

There it is.  Please stop doing these things.  I have a total of 14 followers (according to current counts).  My ego tells me I need all of you desperately.  Don't make your car your coffin.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Top 10 things my dad said

My dad died in 2005 in early March.  It was sudden, but not tragic.  Well, it was at the time, but considering the myriad ways you can go, he went pretty well.  He left mom with a lot of trouble because he had no time to set things up and of course there is the abrupt way he left us. But I think mom would not have traded that for seeing him in pain. He fell over dead of an arrhythmia (heart attack but without the pain).

Anyway, This is about the catch phrases my dad used to say to me all the time growing up.  Now that I'm grown I've begun to think that dad didn't have too many original lines.  Nearly all of these are attributable to a different source except one and I think he got that from his dad.  See if your parent's rattled any of these well worn phrases.

1.  Rudolph the Red know rain dear.  -  This is a corny joke that I will not tell, It comes from a long line of pun jokes that were my dad's stand by's.  While dad didn't say much original, he did have a lightning fast command of the things he knew.  He retold jokes with great skill and story telling ability.  Well, this joke came up every Christmas without fail.  He would try to dress it in different ways but the aforementioned was always the punchline.

2.  Don't shuffle the eyes off em - Also, Don't roll the eyes off em - Dad loved to play games with the family.  Usually card games, but any game would do.  He was a good sport that way.  Well if you were trying to shuffle cards and he felt like it was taking too much time, that's the phrase that would come out.

3.  Kids should be seen not heard. - This was told to me countless times as I was a pretty loudmouthed kid.  I had a knack for turning something I thought was interesting into something fairly boring.  I started by re-telling one or two panel comic strips.  Usually Snoopy.  What I didn't realize was that for some reason without the pictures, the joke wasn't nearly as funny as I remembered it.  After telling a few clinkers in this fashion I would get this sage advice from Dad.  When company was over, he didn't want us saying anything.  In fact, when company came over to play bridge or something.  I remember that the TV was moved into our bedroom and we had dinner there where my brother and I were comfortably sequestered.  Mom would always hand pick the chips out of the bag and we would get the broken ones.  We were happy with that.  1/2 a bugle was better than no bugle at all.

4.  Futzin around. - If we were not doing something that dad wanted us to do he would tell us to 'quit futzin around and get to work'  I've found that the term futzin is synonymous with puttering, dinking, twinking, and possibly goofing.   If you know any others...keep them to yourself.

5.  So is Christmas. -  This had nothing to do with the holidays, but was rather the standard comback for this overheard exchange:

Dad:  'Mark get in here, it's time for family counsel'
Mark:  'I'm coming!'
Dad: 'So is Christmas'

There was one month a year that this didn't play so well, but he'd use it then as well.  He would then change to 'you're moving slower than COLD TAR' for a seasonal change.

6.  That's what thought did - This one baffled me for the longest time.  Dad never explained it and I think he got it from his dad.  It was one that you were supposed to figure out over time.  The exchange would go:

Mark:  'But I thought it would work if I did it this way'.
Dad:  'Yeah, that's what thought did'

Not really sure how it works, but I suppose that it means, that's what thinking will get you if you are stupid.  I'm not sure.  Maybe I'm too dumb to figure it out ;)

7.  You make a better door than a window. -  Dad didn't watch a whole lot of TV, but he did like college football.  When we would come in the room and stop between him and his show he would say that line.  He explained that one first off and a few times after to make sure we got the point.  It didn't stop us from stopping in the middle of the room to gawk at the tv like some glowing God.

8.  He who makes the gold makes the rules - This was Dad's standard reply to every query that started 'Why do I have to do that?' or  'That's not fair'  or anything even remotely close to that.  It was aggravating and yet it still proves true today.  Which makes it that much more maddening.

9.  Ya gotta get up in the morning. - This was a musical rejoinder.  He would sing out that little phrase to the tune of reveille early in the morning on Saturday to wake us up.  Dad was a farm boy and farm boys believed everyone should get up at the crack of dawn.  That or he was passing down the fun time he had in Basic Training. 

10.  It will take you a month of Sundays to do it that way. - Told to us if we were taking too long to do something because we were doing it incorrectly.  A month of Sundays didn't make a lot of sense to me either.  It either meant a month of weeks, or it meant that Sunday was not a work day so you could spend all day working at it.  I was never sure. After looking it up a month of Sundays indicates a long dreary time. 

Dad, I sure miss you.