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Tucson Weekly License To Drive

Honk If You Hate These Cheeseheads In Traffic.

By Tom Danehy

NOVEMBER 23, 1998:  A FEW WEEKS ago I wrote something about bad drivers in town. After it came out, several of my friends said, "Gee, Tom, that was cool, but why don't you be more specific in future columns?" (And yes, sadly, I do indeed have friends who talk to me just like that.)

So, for the past few weeks, I've been driving around, taking copious notes as to which category of driver is the absolute worst. At first I tried to catalog everything, but do you know how hard it is to write down "Red-haired woman, smoking and singing country music while running red left-turn arrow" in a notebook on the passenger's seat, while steering with the left hand, staring straight ahead at the road, and trying to keep the car at exactly the speed limit?

Heck, I can't even keep the car at one speed when I'm in the vehicle inspections place. Is that the most embarrassing thing in the world, to be asked to get out of your car after several futile attempts so that some woman named Bunny can drive your car better than you can?

Anyway, despite my friends' pleas for specificity, I decided the best I could do is look for trends. And after weeks of exhaustive research, I present my findings:

CAR IN WHICH ABSOLUTELY NO ONE LOOKS GOOD DRIVING: The Corvette. Is there a more pathetic sight than a 40-ish man driving a Corvette? Okay, two Mormons on bicycles. But other than that, a Disco Dentist driving around with the top down in a Corvette, the wind whistling past his gold chains which lay across his transplanted chest hair, lays claim to the dubious title of El Dorko Mas Pathetico.

Alas, a Corvette is the kind of car a guy dreams about having when he's a kid, and by the time he's old enough to afford one, it's waaay too late.

And a woman driving a Corvette always looks like Flo on the old TV show Alice. Or, if she's young, she looks like a hootchie Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, meaning that in 20 years, she'll look like Flo.

Nobody has looked good driving a Corvette since the Mercury astronauts.

CAR MOST LIKELY TO BE VANDALIZED: One of those sorry-ass little Nissans or Hondas with the tires sticking way out from the vehicle. By itself, that's not enough to make an unbalanced person take a hammer to it. It's the fact that the pansy who owns that piece of shit has decided to park it diagonally across two parking spaces in the lot.

Hey Dickhead, why not just put a sign on your ride which reads, "Please scrape a key along my door to show your displeasure with my having made you walk an extra half-block to the store?"

Actually, that wouldn't work. People who drive cars like that probably don't use gerunds.

I have to be clear here. I have never vandalized a car, nor do I condone such reprehensible behavior. But I do know what causes it. (And when I say I've never committed vandalism, that doesn't mean I haven't hocked a well-placed loogie in my time. Windshield is good, driver's-side window is better, door handle is best.)

The worst thing of all is that those cars look really stupid. Why draw attention to them. They look like the boxy landing craft in which Spock and others were stuck in a decaying orbit back on the original Star Trek. They don't really think that looks cool, do they?

MOST AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS: Big-haired women driving pickup trucks with Dallas Cowboys stickers on them. The stickers are on the trucks, actually, although I wouldn't be surprised if the women had them, too. Just please don't ask me to check.

Cowboys fans are, by definition, jerks. Put one behind the wheel of a big truck and it's like, "What do you mean I can't make a high-speed U-turn across three lanes of traffic, narrowly missing an unloading school bus and causing elderly pedestrians in the crosswalk dive for cover? I just heard on the country station there's a sale on 12-packs at the mini-mart."

MOST INCONSIDERATE DRIVERS: Those guys driving pickups with a trailer along behind full of weeds, tree stumps, and gardening tools. I didn't know there was such a thing as a landscaping emergency.

You know these guys. They all look like they're related to the Allman Brothers. Long, stringy blond hair which hasn't been washed since the monsoons ended, driving along listening to "Stairway To Heaven," and drinking a lite beer designed to tide them over until after work, when they start in on the heavy beer.

They weave in and out on the freeway, secure in the knowledge that if they're ever pulled over, their defense will be, "Hey, I didn't know we cut in front of somebody. I can't see behind me what with that mountain of weeds that's spilling out of the trailer all over the freeway. Huh? No, I don't have a license, but my brother Elbert has one for the both of us. He's my brother and my uncle. See, Ma and Pa were kin before they got married. I always said they slept together for years before they started sleepin' together."

I used to think these guys were dumb, but now I know better. See, they pull the weeds at somebody's house, then get up to 80 mph on the freeway to spread the weeds to the four winds. Then, when they get to the next house, their trailer is empty and they've sown the seeds for new business all over the valley.

MOST AGGRAVATING DRIVER: This is usually the one who pulls out right in front of me, causing me to swerve and/or slam on the brakes, then proceeds to drive 10 miles under the speed limit while I'm on my way to or from church. Technically, I'm in a state of grace, so I can't honk, or yell or wave. All I can do is raise my hand to God, when what I really want to be doing is raising one-fifth of my hand to the idiot in front of me.

If you have others, please write and tell me. Just don't feel the need to show me.

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