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A public conversation about our worlds.

  • Monday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Steven Gould
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Brain Activity



Rory’s Rules of the Road

June 1st, 2009 by Rory Harper


I’ve been spending much too much time lately moving across our Texas highway system trapped inside the damnedest repeated clusterfracks. (Yes, that’s the technical linguistic term for a group of Texas drivers who have bunched up at high speed.)

 

I’m a gentle old man, but I’ve had too many recent inner visions of flames, explosions, and the deployment of my personal bazooka, to be satisfied with the current state of affairs.

 

Therefore, I’m posting so that everyone who drives in Texas will know how to better keep Rory alive and happy on the highway.

 

Here’s the One Rule to Rule Them All: Get Out of My Way.

 

Here are the Three Laws of Velocity:

 

  1. If you’re driving faster than me, you’re a maniac, and should be removed from the road.
  2. If you’re driving slower than me, you’re a granny, and should be removed from the road.
  3. If you’re driving the same speed as me, you’re pacing me, and should be removed from the road.

 

This set of rules is simple, elegant, and results in me having the highway entirely to myself, which is as it should be. However, we live in an imperfect world, so I’m willing to put up with you as long as you Get Out of My Way.

 

There are, of course, some behaviors you shouldn’t indulge in, unless you want to make me suffer from Road Annoyance.

 

To be perfectly clear, I’m not doing this for your own good. I don’t care if you kill yourself and all your loved ones by driving stupidly. Darwinism in action is what that is. I just don’t want you to kill me, okay? I’ve already got enough problems with that whole natural selection thing as it is.

 

Though, since I’ve already passed my DNA along, I suppose it really wouldn’t be that wrong to run over me. And I know it won’t really upset you to kill a feeble old man whose life is practically over with anyhow, for more than a few hours, or until you’re distracted when the next episode of  “Jon & Kate Plus 8” airs.

 

But what if you hit Jon & Kate and the eight cute little kids and smushed them all? That would make you sad for a long time, wouldn’t it? Okay, maybe not about Jon and Kate. I mean, who cares about those two idiots? But the kids for sure, right? I bet that would make you sad for a loooong time.

 

So – remember these things I’m about to list, because you might kill a bunch of adorable little soon-to-be-adoptees instead of me, if you don’t.

 

Here are the Ten Tips to Avoid Bazookas:

:

 

  1. No driving while intoxicated, except maybe on very light doses of amphetamines, which can actually enhance alertness, focus, and motor skills. However, you should practice titrating your meth dosage extensively in non-driving situations, so that you know where your edge is. For instance, if you snort or shoot, it’s best to always wait until the initial rush has passed. No alcohol or other depressants, because they blow out your reflexes. No weed, because it distorts your time sense, which is a Very Bad Thing when you’re on a high-speed closing vector with an old man who owns a bazooka.
  2. Do not lead the Pissed-Off Parade. This is what happens when you have somebody on a one-lane road that insists upon driving reasonably near the posted speed limit, or on two-lane roads where the person in the left-hand lane paces the vehicle in the right-hand lane. Everybody balls up behind them, and group rage explodes like chain lightning, with tailgating and headlight flashing and finger-shooting once you finally get past the miscreant. I speak from recent personal experience, though never as a miscreant, only as a finger-shooter. I think sometimes these miscreants feel all virtuous that they’ve held everyone else to the posted speed limit and thus increased safety on the road. In actuality, they’ve greatly increased everyone else’s anger, stress, and unsafe driving behavior, thus making it more likely that somebody will get hurt or killed.
  3. Observe the Real Texas Speed Limit, not the posted speed limit. This is what the miscreants who lead the Pissed-Off Parade have failed to understand. The RTSL is around 85 to 90 mph when you can see far enough ahead to be sure that there are no lurking DPS troopers with their evil unAmerican radar guns. When you can’t see that far, the RTSL is between 76 mph and 79 mph, depending on how daring you are. Going 80 mph when you blow past the cops will always get you a ticket. Anything over 76 might get you a ticket if they’re doing some sort of  safety enforcement thing that week, or need the revenue to buy more ammo. Going 75 will never get you a ticket.
  4. It’s never about the posted speed limit anyhow. And it’s often not about the RTSL. It’s about the flow. Drive with the flow that  has spontaneously emerged to match current road conditions, or drop back (and Get Out of My Way) if you can’t. You should drive fast enough that only a few people pass you, and you pass a few people, and you have plenty of space on all sides, even it if means going faster or slower to get that space. Yeah, I know, it’s safer if you don’t go faster, just slower. But let’s be real here, since we can’t be sane. A law has supposedly been proposed that makes it illegal to hang out in the left-hand lane when not passing anyone. I approve of that law. If you break everyone else’s flow, you’re endangering them. There would be a lot fewer rage-induced accidents if that law were enforced – because we all know that the person leading the POP is screwing with us on purpose, if it lasts longer than two minutes.
  5. No cell phone usage. Not even hands free. All the studies are clear – this is the exact equivalent of driving drunk. It kills people and seriously messes up the flow, because cell-talkers drive slower than others, in the mistaken belief that they’re then driving more safely. They’re not. They’re driving blind, and blocking people behind them.
  6. No texting while driving. I’ve been spotting this monstrous behavior increasingly of late. It shouldn’t be a ticket. It should be jail time. And the brass finger screws, to make sure there are no repeat offenders.
  7. Also, no sexting. Unless you’re at a long stop light. And there’s an old man on a motorcycle next to you. He might even help you with the pics.
  8. While we’re on the subject -- No sex while driving. Yes, it can make a boring trip much more interesting, both for you and whatever truckers might chance to pass by. Once again, I have no problem with you killing yourself, as long as you don’t kill me. I simply don’t want to be going just because you’re coming. This means no JO. And no BJ. And no HJ, either, dammit. Also, no cowgirl, even if you have room for it. Especially no reverse cowgirl. Unless she’s driving, and you’re in a decommissioned milk truck, in which case it won’t really be reverse cowgirl, but doggy instead. Which probably isn’t a safe thing, either, but it can be a helluva lot of fun. (I actually do remember a little bit of the Sixties…)  Perhaps best to just pull over and park at the edge of a side road under a tree. Right? You can even practice safe text with each other afterwards.
  9. No littering. I really don’t want to abruptly eat the rest of your Texas Double Cheeseburger at 79 mph.
  10. THERE ARE MOTORCYCLES ALL OVER THE FRACKING ROAD !!! IF YOU ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION, YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE US !!!

*

*

….One last little bit, in case I haven’t yet penetrated your state of denial about your bad driving habits.

 

I have a daughter named Rachael, whom I adore, and who will miss me if you commit vehicular homicide upon me.

 

All of my friends know about her character, and you should, too:

 

Rachael is vindictive.

 

She will come for you.

 

You’re better off deliberately driving into a tree to avoid running over that old man on the motorcycle.

 

Hugs to everybody,

 

Rory

Posted in Daily Life, Dammit!, Health and Safety, Rachael is Awesome, Rory, You | 5 Comments »

5 Responses

  1. Rachael Says:

    Seriously. Even, if in the phone call you made that caused you to run over Papa, you were saving the lives of thousands of children and ending world hunger– …

    I would also like to add my personal hate: People who don’t signal! Hate hate hate.

  2. Madeleine Robins Says:

    May I add:

    People who signal but forget they’ve signaled or just don’t want to do what they were advertising they were about to do.

    People who think that fifteen feet between one car and the next is a perfect space in which to insinuate their car.

    It’s astonishing the number of people out there who seem to have learned to drive by playing video games.

  3. N.G. Says:

    In my driver’s ed class we were watching a series of interviews in which the question was, “What distracts you most on the road?” The girls’ answers: friends, phone, radio, family, make-up.
    The boys’ answer: girls.

  4. David Duncan Says:

    Discovered this website while looking for a used copy of Petrogypsies. Apparently, I won’t have to settle for a used copy once it’s published by Darkstar.
    Looks like you’ve gotten old; I on the other hand am still young and handsome — or at least not unbearably ugly. I could be wrong about that of course.
    I still have fond memories of the Inlet crowd.
    David F. Duncan

  5. Rory Says:

    Hey, David!! It’s great to see you here!

    I have extremely fond memories of you and Kevin and Reality Island during the Good Old Days.

    And that time when we were working that outdoor concert and you went into a coma and were found passed-out and smiling on top of a huge and very busy anthill.

    …Oops… Was I supposed to mention that?… Did it really happen, or is that just the Alzheimers again?..?

    Hit me on FaceBook if you’re on it, if you want to.

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