Hi! I live
in _____________________ [insert name of miserable god-forsaken
place here]. As part of my [miserable god-forsaken life]
I have to drive through/to [choose one] ___________________
[insert name of another miserable god-forsaken place here].
Can I just tell you that the drivers in [2nd miserable god-forsaken
place] are the worst drivers on the entire planet! They really
are. All of us in [god-forsaken place #1] comment on it. What
we in [god-forsaken place #1] want to know is why are these
assholes from [place #2] such terrrible fucking drivers? Honestly,
it's amazing. What accounts for this?
commuter and welcome prettyfedup.com. May I just say that I 100% agree
with you. I have/have not [choose one] been to [whatever
miserable places you are talking about] and I can certainly tell
you that I have experienced firsthand/heard about the amazingly
bad drivers in [whatever damn place we are talking about].
The drivers in [Paris, Boston, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Italy, New
York, Texas, your town] are among the worst in the world and simply
defy imagination! I am certain that if you moved to [Jupiter],
your commuting/driving problems would be solved and you would experience
the driving courtesy you expect and so richly deserve.
In the meantime
however, we simply want to complain, analyze, categorize,
and insult people. Every person of even modest intelligence
knows instinctively that the correct ways to deal with the immense
aggravation caused in daily life by other drivers consists mainly
of complaining and insulting people with the occasional
fistfight or exchange of gunfire thrown in to spice things up.
You can do these
two things on your own, though, and already are, (and may I just mention
as an aside how truly talented you are at both, practice has certainly
paid off for you in this regard!) so we are going to concentrate on
analyzing and categorizing and commenting, insulting people, and generally
wasting time. This is our skill set at prettyfedup.com and we are
making use of it as usual.
Okey doke. There
are 5 brief and extremely analytical reasons why the drivers in your
area suck so bad. The one you are most interested in is the last
one of course because that's just how life is. The things you really
want are always off in the distance while the things you don't care
that much about are parked on your front lawn and won't leave. But
you have a mouse and can click to the end if you want, so no biggie.
All right - without further ado, here are the 5 analytical reasons.
Reason #1: People are Stupid and Insane
Reason #2: You are Not a Good Driver
Analytical Reason #3: Driving is a Miracle of Technical Achievement
and Sheer Exhilaration
Analytical Reason #4: Which Could Very Well Lead To Your Gruesome
Analytical Reason #5: Every Region Favors Its Own Method of Suicide
That was easy.
And although it all sounds plausible, and although you already know
everything I'm going to say, you still want to read about it anyway,
because reading about bad drivers is almost like complaining about
them and as we already saw, everyone knows this is the only sensible
way to handle their existence. So let's complain away!
Reason #1: People are Stupid and Insane.
All right, you
already know this, but there is simply no fun in knowing it unless
we prove it logically. So let's do that.
Get a picture in your mind or idea in your head of what you
think the median level of intelligence is throughout your town, city,
province, state, nation, continent, or planet. Just whatever you
think it is.
Realize to your absolute horror that fully 50% (50%! one half!)
of the people in the area are even stupider than that!
That's what a
median is. It's the point at which exactly one half of the people
are worse than that at whatever it is. This ironclad statistical
rule has a big effect on your driving experience. And it's very difficult
for your brain to process.
You see, in
most of areas of your life, you are blithely unaware of this rule.
The normal human tendency is to self-select the groups you are involved
with to more or less match your own egocentric, comfort-loving, familiarity-seeking
self. In other words, you attempt to hang out with people that are
more or less at your level. Maybe a little bit higher if you are an
ambitious social climber, maybe a little less if you are threatened
by competition. But pretty much on your level.
Your friends are
on your level, your magazines, your TV shows, your websites, your
neighbors, your associates, your political party, your whatever the
fuck. And since you do your best to hang out with people on your level,
you are completely unaware that fully 50% of the people in the
world are worse than the median in every single activity human
beings engage in, everwhere.
is one area of life where you cannot self-select to match your own
level. Almost everyone drives! Furthermore, anyone who is allowed
to drive will (and some who aren't will too) and even more shocking
- they can drive on the same streets and highways you do! This
completely unexpected turn of events leaves your brain filled with
shock, outrage, bewilderment, confusion, fear, and anger. You are
in no way protected on the nation's highways from that bottom 50%!
Think of this!
Every time you get in a car and drive somewhere, a staggering 50%
of the other people driving are below the median in intelligence.
You are subjected to a ruthless cross-section of humanity in a manner
you rarely, if ever, have to experience otherwise. Even at work, there
is self-selection going on, and although you are aware of some individuals
hovering dangerously below the median, still you scooch yourself towards
the people on your own level.
and unprecendented exposure to the bottom 50% occurs in driving situations
every single place on the globe. People everywhere are forced
to drive with the bottom 50% and therefore people everywhere are convinced
they personally must deal with the worst drivers in the world. Since
your brain can't comprehend that this bottom 50% of people it never
knew existed are everywhere - it naturally thinks that somehow
you have accidentally fallen through a wormhole to hell and landed
in the one spot in the world where everyone is a bad driver!
And when I say
everyone is a bad driver, that's exactly what your brain thinks. It's
actually constructed so that it only takes about 15 or 16% or so for
your brain to form a stereotype and come to the conclusion that everyone
in the group it is observing fits the stereotype. If only 15 or 16%
of the people in your area were worse than the median, your brain
would still be convinced that 'everyone' who drives in your area sucks.
In reality, it's about 3 times that number! This makes your
brain want to explode in your head.
This is one of
the reasons that driving makes people's heads want to explode. It
simply is not physiologically equipped to make sense of what it is
actually experiencing. If you pay close attention to yourself when
you encounter a driver who is far stupider than the median - you will
notice your head trying to explode! If you are not careful, one day
it actually will. Exploding head death syndrome caused by exposure
to the motor vehicle driving habits of others is not well-documented
in the medical literature, but it actually occurs at an alarming rate.
It usually goes by prosaic and boring little names like 'high blood
pressure', 'massive stroke', 'coronary artery disease', 'brain aneurysm'
and so on. But why the hell do you think the blood pressure got so
high? Because your head's still trying to explode over bad driving
you have witnessed throughout your life.
Add to this the
fact that a certain percentage of people driving are actually insane
(I'm not sure what percentage but insane people do drive) and it is
no wonder you are eventually going to keel over dead from some driving-related
variant of the exploding head syndrome.
The only treatment
for this feature of the driving experience is to become below the
median. If you can get yourself down the bottom third, let's say,
your exposure to people well below your personal median will go down
dramatically. The worst drivers are the happiest! And ironically,
they will live far longer than you, my ranting friend. Which brings
us to our next Analytical Reason.
Reason #2: You Are Not a Good Driver.
Surveys show (conducted
for Family Feud I believe) that 98% of people think they are 'good'
drivers. Better than the horrifying median we witnessed above. All
of these people are wrong! This includes you. You Are Not A Good
There are only
about a dozen or so good drivers in the world and all of them refuse
to answer surveys for Family Feud. Furthermore, thinking you are a
Good Driver actually somewhat increases your risk that you will kill
yourself and/or someone else with your vehicle. Think about this.
People who race in NASCAR events all think they are good drivers.
And they routinely prove themselves wrong by crashing into each other,
spinning out and delighting onlookers by setting their cars on fire.
When it comes
to your own assessment of your driving abilities, you have set
the bar amazingly low! I will give an example. I have a friend
who considers himself a good driver - an assessment that allows him
to believe that he is entitled to propel his vehicle along at speeds
substantially exceeding the speed limit. He believes this in spite
of the fact that he has on more than one occasion driven directly
into other vehicles and broken his neck! Driving into other vehicles
and breaking your neck is an exceedingly interesting definition of
the phrase 'good driver'.
Oh, you say to
me, I have never done that. When I drive into other vehicles, it
only causes property damage! I am still a good driver. Or, you
say, I don't drive into other vehicles! I only drive into stationary
objects such as light poles and fire hydrants! Or, you say to me,
I do not drive into other objects at all! I only fall asleep occasionally
and skid off the road! I am still a good driver. Or, I am hardly ever
in accidents, the sound of squealing tires around me comes from the
other drivers who have to swerve to avoid me! Or, occasionally rolling
my car on top of me hardly constitutes bad driving! I am good driver!
Or, those people honking at me are assholes! That is why there
is the sound of honking all around me when I drive - because everyone
else is wrong! I am a good driver. Or you say, 'well, I thought
I had enough room to stop!' You didn't! You Are Not a Good
Driver. Or - 'it was the other driver's fault. She should have signaled
where she was going!' Yes, and it might have helped if you had been
actually looking where you were going....
Or you say, proudly,
'I have never been in an accident. 58 years of driving and never been
in an accident.' That's because you drive at 15 mph. Driving at 15
mph and thereby avoiding the possiblity of a collision since even
stationary objects have enough time to jump out of the way does not
make you a good driver. You Are Not a Good Driver.
Now, this little
fact is in many ways irrelevant. We are not here to make you a Good
Driver. It ain't gonna happen, and we're not going to try. We are
only interested in this a little tiny bit because it partly helps
explain why everyone around you seemingly sucks at driving. Partly,
of course, because They Are Not Good Drivers Either. This is
a given. Accept it.
But the other
reason is that when your brain mistakenly thinks you are good at something,
it automatically gets huffy and downgrades the ablities of others
a proportionate level. You don't have to be right for this to happen
and usually you aren't. Being right is not part of the mathematical
equation that governs this feature of brain functioning. Your brain
is simply responding to the Iron Law Of the Median discussed
above. If you are above the median, your brain understands, being
the mathematical genius you didn't realize it was, that someone
else must be equally below the median or there won't be a fucking
median at all and there has to be because all brains know medians
exist. It's simple logic from your brain's point of view.
you think you are, the worse everyone else will seem. Now normally
you do this because a) you are insane; and b) because it makes you
feel good or makes your brain feel good. However, in the case of driving,
this backfires. It just makes driving more stressful than it already
naturally is. It adds an extra step of processing to the overload
your poor brain is already dealing with just because it's driving.
So here's what
you do. Just quit thinking you are a good driver. As soon as
you get in a car with the intention of driving it, drop that thought
from your mind. Drive to your destination. Get out of the car. Resume
thinking you are a good driver. Conduct your business or personal
life at the aforementioned destination. Get back into car with intention
of driving it home. Drop all thoughts of driving superiority, leaving
your mind with empty Zen-like serenity. Drive home. Get out of car.
Pick up mail. Enter house. Resume thinking you are a good driver.
Repeat every day for the rest of your life.
This is a very
sensible plan and it will improve the driving habits of people
in your area by up to 12%! Think of the good you'll do for humanity
this way. Of course 12% is not enough. But every little bit helps.
If you don't believe
me on this one, try driving with your normal attitude of superiority.
Witness what you believe to be driving rudeness or incompetence. Hear
yourself think (or feel) how much better you are than the driver whose
behavior you witnessed. Note the immediate rise in brain pan temperature
as your brain attempts to braise itself in its own juices until it
is thoroughly cooked, seared, and suitable for carving, but not for
conducting the business of your life. Thinking you are superior
causes brain damage!
Note that it is
more than worth it to cause yourself brain damage by believing you
are superior in at least a few aspects of daily living. Brain damage
is fun! I certainly don't want you to have to live without this
highly rewarding form of killing off what would otherwise be functioning
brain cells. You have too many anyway! You don't need them all. But
you need to pick an activity less cliched and dangerous than driving
to believe you are superior at. Consider yourself a superior bat-killer,
bookshelf-builder, adulterous homewrecker, pie-baker, donut eater,
Moog enthusiast, speller of big words, or Jeopardy fan. Not driver.
Thinking you are a good driver is just lame. Get over it. Think
to yourself 'I am a mediocre driver and mediocrity rules the world!
I am king!' Things like that. Mediocrity does rule the world, and
if you stick to it, eventually you will be king.
All right - telling
you not to think of yourself as a good driver has to be the worst
advice in the world ever. Because you're not going to follow it and
you don't want to. Due to Analytical Reason #3 - which also
impacts your driving experiences and goes a long way to explaining
why you are surrounded by assholes on the road.