“Who’s gonna drive you home, tonight?”- The Cars
As you may have heard me mention, I really love history. The facts and dates of events from a long time past are to me as entertaining as any sit-com(excluding Family Guy) or any television drama( oh goody another Law and Order series). But more than being a series of random facts and figures, they are a narrative of who we are as people and how we got here. The characters that we have met along that journey continue to inspire us today. We all know the pantheon of historical figures that still have lessons to teach us. Whether it was DaVinci showing how art and science can mutually exist with the same man or George Washington’s lessons that a man in a powdered wig can still be macho, we know the names and stories of the historical heavy hitters. The most interesting of all historical figures, at least to me, are the inventors. You know them, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Tesla( the guy that created radio transistors not the crappy 80s hair metal band) and …….um…….whatshisname…..the guy that created the WHEEL. That’s right, one of the most important inventions in history and we don’t even know the guys name. Talk about getting shafted. Don’t think the wheel is that big of a deal, then imagine the world without it.
IT would be really horrible if the wheel had never been invented. Imagine, if you will( no that’s too polite, change that to IMAGINE IT DAMMIT), a world without wheels. If the only way to move goods from place to place was by imitating that lame “wheel barrow race” you do with your cousin at the family reunion. Sucks doesn’t it. And that’s just for starters. No yo-yos, no trains to look at and say,”gee I wonder if its hard to drive a train”,and no Richard Simmon’s Deal-a-meal. And most importantly, imagine a world where a trip to work involved saddle sores and a constant shoveling of horse..um..deposits….the only bright side would be that the street cleaners would really start earning their money. It’s a world I would rather not live in.
The true value of an invention is the long-term impact it has on civilization long after the inventor’s time has passed.There are so many inventions that were obsolete as soon as they left the workshop, but not the wheel. If you happened to be one of those great minds that invented the library card catalogue, the chalk board, and the 8 track tape then I think you see my point. While items like video stores, payphones and phones that you can’t watch cat videos on have become nothing more than additions to the refuse pile of history, the wheel is alive and kicking. Airplanes,yep using wheels, bicycles, that’s a wheel user too, and most importantly the automobile are the inventions solely based on the continued success of the wheel.
The automobile. It is truly the greatest thing that we can thank the wheel for. Well, we can also thank the wheel for giving Pat Sajak a safe outlet for all of his energies that otherwise would have turned him into an uncontrollable killing machine, but that is a story for another time. Just think of the many ways that cars have impacted out lives. First of all there is transportation, a traffic jam that consisted of a bunch of people just walking to work would make for far many more physical confrontations. The movie Cars would be considerably less action packed without the …you know…cars. The MTV show “Pimp my Wagon” could be just a little too weird for my tastes. And thousands of rednecks crammed into Nascar stadiums to watch herds of goats turn left would not have quite the entertainment value that one searches for.Most importantly, without cars one would have to make out with their dates on horseback, which requires a level of balance that too many of us just don’t have. So here’s to the car, getting ugly dudes chicks since 1921.
The auto is a great invention but it is time to really make it better. Here are a few of my personal modifications.
- Replace your headlights with strobe lights and make traffic look like you’re in an old timey movie.
- Mount a pair of handlebars to your roof luggage rack. Tell the kids that if they don’t sit back and be quiet you are going to make them ride “topside”.
- Change horn from ” HONK” to one that says, “Oppan Gangamstyle”.
- cloaking device for car when you call in “sick” and then have to make a beer run.
- Replace side windows with real life ant farms so the kids get a taste of science on their way to school.
- Outlet on back of car that emits oil slick and tacks. Why should James Bond have all the fun?
- Some sort of translator that will inform squirrels that once you have crossed 3/4 of a street you are not allowed to double back in the opposite direction.
- Waffle dispenser
- On board game of Risk to occupy my time when I have to “pull up and wait for the fries”.
- Wireless cell phone charger. There are so many cords in my front seat that it looks like a plate at Olive Garden.
- Abacus so I can accurately answer the question,” Sir, how many drinks have you had tonight?”
- Football team car flags that actually stay where you put them.
- Anti-Kardasian laser beam.
- That inflatable Autopilot from the “Airplane” movie.
- Enough Starbucks for the whole trip home
Now that we have improved the machinery of the automobile, we need to do something about the drivers. Thanks to the steadily shrinking budgets in the public school systems, driver’s education is becoming more and more rare. Thank Goodness. I took Driver’s Ed and as anyone who has seen me try to parallel park can confirm, Driver’s Ed doesn’t teach you any of the skills you actually need. Well thanks to a blank check I found while rifling through my neighbor’s garbage, I now have the means to embark on my idea of a chain of driving schools. It will be just like a McDonald’s that teaches you to drive. And just like McDonald’s, the service will be lousy, the employees incompetent and when you get home you will realize that you just got ripped off.
My classes will feature the skills you need to be an expert driver in today’s modern world. No longer accepting the scared straight method of making new drivers fear the auto, I will teach them to embrace it like a drunk creepy “uncle”. Here is just a sample of some of the lessons(Gratituity is appreciated):
- Do not casually approach your care and make sure all lights and mirrors are in proper working order. Sprint to the car like you are being chased by zombies, it is a proven fact that an abnormally high heart rate makes you a better driver. If you approach your car from the passenger side, slide across the hood a la Starsky and Hutch to get in the driving mood.
- Do not text while driving. Any fool can type out “lol” while driving the car with your knees. A true expert can perform more complex tasks like origami or performing circumcisions.
- Proper placement of hands on the steering wheel is important. No, not that “ten and two” crap. Place your left hand palm side done at high noon and lean over to rest your right hand on the gear shift, even if it is an automatic. You are probably going to die in the car anyway, you might as well look cool while doing it.
- It is important to know the language of driving. Being able to expertly mouth your favorite cuss words so that the guy who just cut you off in traffic can understand them when he looks in his rear view mirror is a highly valued skill.
- Gentlemen, when your curvaceous girlfriend is riding in the front seat with you, you need to find a parking lot with as many speed bumps as possible. And yes, you can thank me later.
- If riding with any woman in the car, she gets to control the a.c. and you get to control the radio. It is perfectly fine to be seen at a stop light sweating/freezing but it is never o.k. to be at said stoplight with Justin Beiber’s latest hit escaping from your speakers.
- Try to keep yourself entertained on long car trips, I suggest turning the radio to an a.m. frequency that only has static and then pretend you are the last man on earth and its time to formulate your plan on how to defeat the alien menace.
- Final exam: order an entire dozen of donuts via the drive through at your local pastry shop, specifically telling the order taker the exact type and quantity of items that you require.
Well, that about sums up my lessons on the car, and just in time……………………………………
The city bus is almost here.