Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Fools of the Road

                                                                                 
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Recently, we were driving into the city for dinner with another couple. We were seated Flintstone style with Fred and Barney in the front, and Wilma and Betty in the back. All of a sudden, a car that didn't have its headlights on started to pass us. I encouraged our friend to signal the driver by honking or flashing his lights. He simply ignored my suggestions, as he and my husband continued their conversation.

On the way home, another incident occurred. This happened on the expressway while Fred was trying to change lanes. The two hot rods were going head to head to prove who was King Of The Road, and our friend was determined not to let this young punk take over his title. As Wilma and I were hanging on for dear life, Fred and Barney were conspiring to teach this guy a lesson.

After we knew we were out of danger, I brought up dinner, and maybe a bit of lunch, before I said, "What's the matter with you Fred, and Barney? You boys are just as guilty. How can two grown men with families waste all this time drag racing with a maniac, when you couldn't even help another driver who forgot to turn on his lights?"

Then Fred replied matter-of-factly, "That guy was just playing a twisted game. He purposely drove without his lights on, so that the first person who flashed his lights would become a moving target for them to shoot. How could I risk getting us all killed?"

Barney said that he had also heard stories about those gang related shootings. I told them the whole thing sounded absolutely ridiculous, and that by signaling to the driver it could prevent future accidents. The subject quickly changed, and Fred had us all laughing the rest of the way home.

The next morning, I was rummaging through the Sunday paper when something interesting caught my eye. I grabbed my husband, as we called our friends to tell them to pull out the Motormouth Rides section of the Chicago Tribune. Coincidentally, someone else  was reluctant to help drivers who didn't have their lights on for the very same reason that Fred had mentioned. This was Bob Weber's (Motormouth) response:

"This is an urban legend that, as far as I could find, goes back to 1993. Despite such stories bouncing around, this is not part of a gang initiation. Please don't let unfounded rumors prevent you from being a good Samaritan."

Fred and Barney were also surprised to read this article only a day after the incident had occurred. Hopefully, this will result in them becoming more courteous drivers, instead of acting out their road rage. At least they both said, "You were right Julie, I mean Betty." I think "You are right," is the new "I love you."


*A repost from March 2014. 

44 comments:

  1. Wonderful write. It's sad that there are people in the world who will not come to other's aid. I have a person who lives in the apartment below me who made it perfectly clear when I moved here a few months ago he was NOT here to take in parcels, help if anything went wrong in my apartment, he said he kept himself to himself. Would he refuse help if he was taken ill or needed any help at all? I wonder.
    Yvonne.

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  2. Drag racing is more likely to get you shot.

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  3. That sounds dangerous. I write articles about car accidents and see a lot of unsafe driving and dangerous road rage. Glad you're safe.

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  4. I will never understand men and their personality changes when they get behind the wheel of a car.

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  5. You were right and yes he conceded a point to you. People are so stupid when they get behind the wheel. (and yes, I'm part of that group at times. We all have our moments).

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  6. So we hope Fred and Barney flash their lights the next time, as any woman in a car would do.

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  7. Whenever My Rare One admits that I'm right, I feign deafness and make her repeat it a few times, loudly. LOL!

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  8. I'm glad it all worked out well for you, and sounds like you had a good time after all!. Especially being told you are right, always a nice thing to hear, and one I never hear from my husband. It's easier for him to say he loves me than to say I was right :)

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  9. Welcome jack, Julie! I've been missing you. This is disturbing and hits close to home. I have known several people, men and women, who lose their cool while driving. They honk, shout, make inflammatory gestures and even engage in dangerous racing challenges with other motorists to determine King of the Road supremacy. In doing so they risk their lives and the lives of other innocent people. I never heard of the urban myth about this bizarre gang initiation and it will not stop me from flashing my lights if I see someone driving at night w/o them. If we all stop doing the right thing out of fear, where will that leave us?

    Once again, it's great to see you blogging again, dear friend Julie. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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  10. Funny story. :) Not a single one of us in this family will get into a car with the man anymore. He's gotten so bad and we're not interested in playing games while in the car! LOL He's always "in the right." We're just wanting to stay alive.

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  11. Boys! I could see my hubby do the exact same thing with racing. Brains are not working at that moment. I love it when I hear "You are right". My husband will ask why I don't say he is right. My answer is "If I agree with you then we would both be wrong."

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  12. Some men should only have a license to drive dodgem cars. They can then be as macho and dangerous as they want without injuring anyone. If "you were right" is the new "I love you", be careful what you say to your accountant!

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  13. I was afraid you'd found an article substantiating that one. So glad it clarified things and that, as usual, Betty was right. It's awfully scary otherwise, especially when you're driving with your feet on the hot pavement like that. Whew!

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  14. "You are right" has ALWAYS been the best "I love you" to me. That's probably because it's so rare..., ha ha.

    The thing about the urban legends is there's always some idiot who will believe it AND do it. Never underestimate the power of stupidity.

    Great post!

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  15. I've heard all about cars with their lights off and what happens to the people who unknowingly flash their lights to let them know. I'd still be nervous about doing it because some people can take an urban legend and make it real.

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  16. Yvonne - Sorry you have such a nasty neighbor. Hopefully, you'll meet some friendlier people. It's true how he's ultimately hurting himself in the end.

    Alex -You are absolutely right about drag racing.

    Natalie - Fortunately, they didn't get too carried away. So sad about car accidents.

    Arleen - You couldn't be more spot-on, Arleen. My husband also undergoes this Hulk-like transformation when he's behind the wheel.

    Joanne - Yes, "we all have our moments!" I guess mine occur when I'm trying to rack up points.

    Joanne N. - Yes, that is the moral of the story. Of course, most women wouldn't even have to think about doing the right thing!

    Debra - Sadly, I'm the same way. Maybe we could join a support group together, Debra!

    Karen - After a period of time, I think many men say "I love you" to cover all the bases. They probably forget what the argument is about in the first place, and are hoping for a speedy exit.

    Julie

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  17. That Fred and Barney - always 'goobers.' I read bout the legend and thought > in my small town with all the traffic allows a car to turn around so quickly and come back to me > follow that car... it has discovered a shortcut!

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    1. Dixie - Speaking of 'Goobers,' it sounds like you live in a town like Mayberry. It's always fun to find new shortcuts. Glad you haven't fallen for any of those urban legends, Dixie.

      Julie

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  18. Shady - I'm sorry that I haven't been around very much. I've been busy working on a new project, and will probably be taking more time off throughout the summer. Thanks for the kind words, Shady. I agree that many drivers do get carried away. A few weeks ago, it made headlines when a driver cut someone off. They pulled over and got into a fist fight. I'm glad you don't drive angry, Shady. Carry on good citizen, and I hope you have a great week too.

    Empty Nester - I think you have a very wise family. Stay safe!

    Birgit - "If I agreed with you, then we would both be wrong." I LOVE it! This might become my go-to phrase. You really should consider putting it on a bumper sticker, though it would look a lot prettier on one of your cards, Birgit.

    Gorilla - Yes, dodgem or bumper cars are a lot safer. What if I really like my accountant?

    Robyn - Great line about "driving with your feet on the hot pavement!" They must have had to book their podiatrist appointments months in advance during the Stone Age. Yabba dabba doo!

    Cherdo - We do appreciate it more, because it is so rare. Yep, all it takes is a few people to fall for these urban legends before they get blown sky high. Thanks Cherdo!

    Chrys - As with most things, you have to go with your instincts. If you're all alone in a seedy neighborhood, I would still proceed with caution. In a more populated area, I wouldn't hesitate to flash my lights. You have to do what you're comfortable with, Chrys.

    Julie

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  19. Glad to hear they came around to listen to the voice of reason.

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  20. 1) This urban legend is the gift that keeps on giving. I don't know how many times I've had this exact same conversation.

    2) A couple of nights ago, my mother said to me, "Robin, you are right." I said, "Please say it again. You know those are my three favorite words." Hahahahaha.

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  21. I thought this seemed familiar when I was reading so I was glad to see it was a repost and I wasn't crazy LOL. The title alone makes it fun to read again. :)

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  22. I wonder what it is that makes some people undergo a personality change when they're sitting behind the wheel of a car? They behave more aggressively, forget their manners, and pick their noses as though no one can see them.

    Great post! With such a good ending, too. Those three sweet-sounding words of endearment: "You were right." Music to my ears. (But while I'm waiting to hear those musical words, I'll settle for listening to a CD.)

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  23. GEM JULIE ~
    I had heard of that "headlight gang initiation" bit a long time ago. Didn't know if there was any truth to it or not. But considering that the average I.Q. of the gangbanger is probably about 75, it wouldn't have surprised me.

    I'm a good and safe driver, but the signal I probably use most often is my "middle finger" signal. The Right signal, Left signal, I could live without, if I had to. But there's a special something about the "middle-finger-of-the-road" signal that's indispensable.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  24. Daisy - I like being called,"the voice of reason." I will enjoy it while it lasts! Thanks Daisy!

    Robin - See, your mom really does appreciate you, Robin! Those words are music to my ears.

    Julie - Great memory! Sorry to put you through another rerun. Hopefully, I'll have something new for the IWSG. Thanks Julie!

    Susan - They really should issue tickets for picking and driving. UGH! Susan, I know I said, "You were right," at least a dozen times when we were working on our book. I know it's not quite as nice as hearing it from our husbands, but sometimes we just have to do the best we can.

    Stephen - Just be careful with your "middle finger signal." Some people get fighting mad when that happens. Have you practiced your eye roll signal? I think it works even better with sunglasses, Stephen.

    Julie

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    1. >>... Have you practiced your eye roll signal?

      Better yet... I practice my Kung Fu. (It pairs well with red wine and middle-finger-signals.)

      ~ D-FensDogG

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    2. Stephen - I should have realized you were King of the Mountain, Grasshopper.

      Julie

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    3. Ha! Yes, you SHOULD have. :-)

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  25. I remember reading this one last year. That "game" is really scary. Glad it never made it down here.

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  26. Drag racing is very dangerous of itself. I would have been scared too.

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  27. Rhonda - Fortunately, it was only an urban legend, though there are plenty of other scary games going on everyday. You also have a great memory, Rhonda!

    Jo - It was a very dangerous thing to do, and we were lucky no one was hurt. Things could have ended differently if we were in another part of town.

    Julie

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  28. Interesting post...yet chilling too, to read all comments.

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  29. Romance Reader - Yes, it is chilling to think about all of the reckless accidents that occur.

    Shelly - I think you're pretty witty too. Thanks Shelly!

    Julie

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  30. So, if I'm hearing you right (and I think I am), saying "Bloody Mary" three times in front of a mirror won't result in a scary ghost appearing. Unless you do it in a Walmart dressing room. Then, you might get some toothless guy with his shirt off.
    Yabba dabba do.

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    1. Al -You can bet your brontosaurus burger on that one! Remind me not to go to Walmart anytime soon.

      Julie

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    2. Walmart-Come for the low, low prices! Stay for the random fart clouds in the frozen produce section!

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  31. Sounds scary...glad we don't have anything like this on our roads here.

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  32. When it comes to driving, it's actually not the gangs I'm worried about. They get out their anger on a regular basis. It's the repressed middle aged men. A few months ago this fat old guy got so mad (over something HE did) that he followed me into a parking lot to try to get me to fight him. It was pathetic. I do not, in fact, need to beat up a fat old man to feel good about myself, so the police were called and he was arrested. It's a dangerous, scary world out there.

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  33. Nas - I'm glad your roads are safe too.

    Bryan & Brandon - Sorry you were put in that situation. Of course, you handled it in the best way possible. This would make a great future ABFTS road rage episode.

    Julie

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  34. You have been given an award on my blog today! Stop by and check it out when you can and congrats!

    http://www.cherdoontheflipside.com/2015/06/creative-blogger-award.html

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  35. Cherdo - Thanks so much for the Creative Blogger Award! You're one of the most creative bloggers I know, and it really means a lot coming from you. Thanks again for being so thoughtful!

    Julie

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  36. Never heard of that one. I used to flash my lights all the time to remind others that their lights weren't on. Now I don't drive so I just shout and wave my arms. Doesn't work.

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  37. That's why I prefer to drive! It has preserved our marriage!!

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