Final Word

By Jeff Girod

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Posted March 29, 2012 in News
What’s that sound? It may be Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood honking his car horn at you—especially if you’re talking on a cell phone or texting while driving . . . HEY, YOU! PAY ATTENTION! I’M TALKING!

LaHood recently told a Washington, D.C.-area radio station that he “drives around on the weekends” with a special somethin‘-somethin‘ when he sees distracted drivers: “What I’ve been doing is kind of honking at somebody if I see him on a cell phone.”

Way to go, LaHood! You may be the first federal bureaucrat worth more than the loose change and melted Velamint in my cup holder.

But frankly, honking doesn’t go far enough. Whenever you see someone texting while driving you should throw a brick through their windows. Then throw another brick, tied to a live raccoon taped to a switchblade.

We’re all going to die some day. I’d just rather it wasn’t today, and at the thumbs of an idiot texter. Better our demises are slow and predictable and occur several decades from now, a gradual accumulation of sedentary lifestyle, heart disease and an unfettered love of the deep-fried Blooming Onion at Outback Steakhouse.

What I don’t want to happen—and what happens too frequently—is that life is snatched away tragically because some jagoff chooses to text “OMFG!!!” at the exact moment he should be checking his mirrors, or activating her turn signal before swerving across three lanes of traffic.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 3,092 traffic deaths in the United States last year were caused by “distraction-affected crashes,” which is another way of saying dummies on smartphones. The NHTSA also believes deaths and accidents caused by cell phone users and distracted texters are probably much higher, but those statistics are difficult to collect, because when your car crashes and explodes in a fiery ball of stupid, so does your iPhone.

And even if you don’t die: Diddling on your smartphone while driving is infuriating to the rest of us. It transforms you into someone who drives too slowly, brakes for no reason and talks like a crazy person to an invisible nobody inside your car with no fingers on your steering wheel.

In short: Driving while on a cell phone makes you an asshole. Don’t be an asshole. We have enough already.

I’ll break it down for you: 99.5 percent of all the stuff you say or do on your smartphone is meaningless, pointless garbage. The people you talk to, what you talk about, what you type about, the links you search for, what you click on, upload and download . . . None of it matters. I know, because all of it is in my email inbox.

You and your smartphone could fall down the world’s deepest darkest well, all your emails could go unanswered, weeks could pass without a single wall post, status update or “like” on your Facebook page and life as we know it would continue. In fact, the world would get better. At the very least, people would stop inviting me to join Farmville.

Just because technology has provided us with a high-speed network does not mean every response has to be at high speed. Take a breath. Reconnect with your tiny voice. Enjoy a personal thought just for yourself without polluting the contents of your head to your 46 Twitter followers.

And what exactly is this pressing news that you can’t even put your car in park to share with the universe? In your estimable opinion, Hunger Games was “XLNT”? Holy jeez, your 13-year-old self wouldn’t dignify that brain turd with a note passed in geometry class.

So why are you spending upwards of $75 a month for cell service, not to mention putting entire interstates full of strangers at risk just to hit “send” on a message that—never mind thought provoking—is barely English?

I make this solemn oath in allegiance to Ray LaHood: If I’m ever in a horrible car accident caused by a driver distracted by a cell phone, I will drag my mangled body from the twisted wreckage, across the bloody road, and with my dying breath, I will force the other driver to swallow my bumper.

I’m sure someone will Tweet you the jpeg.

Contact Jeff Girod at finalword@ieweekly.com.

 



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