That’s Life

You Drive Me Crazy 


By Tony Bender

Editor’s note: Ironically, Tony Bender is stuck in traffic and will not be sending us a new column this week. Here’s a favorite from 2002, which has aged like fine wine and, therefore, should be better this time around. That’s what Tony told us, anyway.

According to official statistics, a startling number of North Dakota drivers are older than some of the things I have in my refrigerator.

Some of them actually witnessed, first hand, the stuff that happened in the Bible. For example, I know a guy, Herman Leviticus, who claims to have written part of the Old Testament. I have my doubts. Who ever heard of the Book of Herman?

My point is, many North Dakota drivers are old. Some, in fact, are clinically dead. I am fairly certain I saw Ted Williams turning left on red in Bismarck just last week. I’m not complaining about old people. I fully anticipate being one someday, if the codgers don’t rise up and surround my office with pitchforks and torches after reading this.

Let’s face it. There comes a time when you have to take away the keys. It’s for your own good. Recently, one North Dakota man mistook the bay of a car wash for his garage and when he exited the vehicle, was drowned in a flurry of pink suds. Because the corpse was Simonized, it kept sliding right out of the coffin. The pallbearers dropped him three times on the way up to the front of the church.

In Ashley one day, I was watching as four elderly drivers met with their blinkers pointing various directions at the intersection near McIntosh County Bank. Having four cars reach the intersection simultaneously had never happened before in the history of Ashley and none of the drivers knew who had the right of way. They stayed there, befuddled, until they ran out of gas and had to be towed away by Bobby Delzer.

Another problem with elderly drivers is they drive old cars with doors so long and heavy, when they fling them open, they inflict door dings so grievous, I was able to convince my insurance agent I had been broadsided by the train. I almost pulled it off, until someone pointed out that the Burlington Northern doesn’t run through town anymore.

I’m not suggesting our elderly drivers should have to pass drivers tests, or anything that revolutionary, but I think there should be a few simple rules. If you are regularly being passed by riding lawn mowers (and some push mowers) in town, you must immediately surrender your keys. If there is a block-long parade of cars following you down the highway at 14 miles an hour, all afraid to pass because your left blinker has been on since D-Day, you must pull over and cease driving. If you have a bobblehead Chihuahua in the rear window of your DeSoto and it doesn’t bobble when you drive, you must put it in park forever.

I know there will be all sorts of complaints and statistics cited after this column comes out. I’ll hear how teenagers are actually more dangerous behind the wheel than senior citizens. I agree and have a few simple rules to keep teenagers off the road as well.

If I have my way, I will make it illegal to drive any vehicle in which the stereo system is louder than the muffler. And another thing. I demand they get a new song. It is a well-known fact that all teenagers listen to the same song. The lyrics go something like this: “Boom Boom BOOM, Boom Boom!” (I think it’s Mozart.)

If Middle East despots ever get their hands on American speaker technology, we are sunk.

I also intend to see to it that no teenager with more chrome in his tongue than on his bumper be allowed behind the wheel. Just as a matter of principle. The same goes for those who have more tattoos than pin stripes. Can you imagine what today’s teenagers will be like behind the wheel when they get old?

We have to stop them now.

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