As you’ve probably already heard, week or so ago the Vatican issued a new 10 commandments for drivers. Now I’m no Catholic, but I was intrigued that something as fundamental as the Ten Commandments needed an amendment. Or a sun porch. Or whatever you call an addition to an ancient holy document.
So I read the new commandments, and my first impression is that, well it’s not really anything new. Maybe a reshuffle of the commandment deck, and some carefully worded common sense thrown in to make it hip. Hmm, sez I, not exactly something momentous enough to merit entry on the eternal blog of the heavens. Something’s gotta be up here. So I decided to check it out myself.
(On a long, parenthetical side note, it’s interesting how priorities change in a few thousand years. Killing has really shot up the chart in modern times, jumping from virtual obscurity in the second stone tablet at #6 to the head of the God’s top ten driving list at #1. I guess you could say that killing is the Elvis Presley of the world of traffic sin. Back in the day it was, “Killing? Hmm, yeah, not good, but not quite as bad as those damn false idols and golden cows. And you gotta respect your folks, that’s pretty important too. We’ll fit in killing right after that.” Now the golden cow is nowhere to be found on list. And I guess you’re allowed to be a total ass to your folks too.)
Anyway, back to figuring out what’s up here. Now I’m not one to wear a large hat or resplendent robes, and I’m not very interested in hearing people confess their sins, but I’d say that I’m just as good as the next guy when it comes to picking up the GodCast, when I want to. (Better still when I’m off my meds and hopped up on caffeine.) I guess that has something to do with my Protestant background. And as everybody knows God speaks in King James‘ English, which was terribly fortunate for the old King and his people, not so lucky for everyone else. Fortunately for you, dear reader, your friend Brian is fluent in several archaic forms of English (Shakespeare, Bible, some Chaucer, etc.). So here, as heard on the GodCast, are the actual new 10 commandments of the road. Direct from God’s streaming MP3 audio to your eyes, minus the politically correct fiddling and platitudes, served up with a steaming side of my plain English interpretation. Enjoy, and behave!
I. Thou shalt not run the red light, nor shall thou hesitate to drive when mine light is the color of honey.
This one is pretty straight forward and should make sense to anyone. If the light is yellow, get your butt through it. If it’s red, stop, it’s not your turn anymore.
II. Thou shalt not change lanes in an intersection.
This one should also make sense to everyone. I can’t imagine there’s a driver’s manual or written test out there that doesn’t explicitly spell out that you need to stay in your damn lane when you go through an intersection.
III. Thou shalt not change lanes lest thou first use thy turn signal.
I can’t express how much not using a turn signal pisses me off (especially when you just cut me off) without swearing for 5 minutes and breaking something. And since I kind of like the things on my desk, I’ll not get into it. What I can say in a civil tone is that this commandment is so easy to follow. It’s so easy and requires so very little effort, that even the fattest American tourists at Disney World can do it without getting winded. (Sweating may occur, that’s hard to predict.) And yet, for some reason I see this commandment broken daily in my adopted home of Atlanta. Every single day. By people in the prime of health.
IV. Thou shalt not change lanes and use thine brakes immediately upon entry into thy brother’s lane.
This is a classic prick move and a very deadly sin. Clearly there wasn’t enough room for you to change lanes, buddy. If you did this and didn’t your turn signal, not only will you burn in eternal hellfire, you’ll be violated in the most unpleasant ways possible by Saddam Hussein. (He needs company since Satan left him.) Oh and it gets better. You know it’s been hot down there, and you know he hasn’t been wearing deodorant. Think about it.
V. Thou shalt not tailgate.
Unless you’re parked at a ballgame with a cooler full of beer and a blazing hibachi, you better not be tailgating. If you keep it up, sooner or later you will eat steering wheel and go directly to hades. And there, you’ll be tailgated by Saddam’s wild and crazy sons, if you know what I mean.
VI. Thou shalt not leave the space of a chariot between thee and the brother thou followest.
I don’t know what the hell the deal is people who come to a stop a full car length (or more) behind the car ahead of them. I’ve been trying to puzzle that out for a while, and what’s clear is that whatever the motivation for this hoggish behavior, it’s pure evil. Especially when this wicked craft is practiced in a very short turn lane. As punishment, you’ll get to rest on the fiery racks of hades, where you’ll be elongated to the size of the extra car lengths you took up in the turning lane.
VII. Thou shalt not drive at or under the speed limit in the lane of thy heavenly father. For yea, have I provided thee and thine ailing chariot a lane to thy right.
Nobody likes to be stuck driving 53 MPH in the fast lane on the highway behind someone oblivious to the traffic building up behind them. Especially when there is an open lane to the right. Not only is it ridiculous, it causes accidents as people take evasive action not to pulverize the low-speed nincompoop. It becomes a cardinal sin when combined with a proud self-righteousness that you are driving the speed limit and everybody else in the entire world should slow down. Listen buddy, kudos for following the exact letter of a pointless law. Jesus may love that about you, but we kinda think he’d still agree that you’re an asshole. Move over or face an eternity on the highway in hell being force-fed bran muffins and turkish coffee while stuck behind a demonic codger driving 25.
VIII. Thou shalt not pass in the lane of the poor and destitute (the slow lane). To do so is truly wicked and is hateful in mine eye.
Unless you’re stuck behind a breaker of the 7th commandment, passing on the right is unacceptable. There’s a reason why they call the left lane the passing lane. I cannot count the times I’ve nearly been killed by some jackass who passes on the right side because he thinks radar detectors won’t catch him driving 90 if he does it in the slow lane. My life is usually at risk because I’m trying to adhering to the 7th commandment by move over to let the ass-clown pass. (I do this even when I’m in the middle lane, ‘cuz I’m a damn saint. ;) )
IX. Thou shalt not assume that thine time is of more value than that of thy road brother.
This commandment covers tremendous ground, and intentionally requires you, as a driver, to pull your head out of your ass and realize everybody else around you also has important places to be and things to do. Sorry, no special consideration because you drive a nice car. Prick moves covered by this commandment include driving up to the front of a line for an on ramp and forcing your way in, as well as, failing to yield right of way because you hate to bring your convertible to a full stop. Feel free to apply this commandment in any situation you find useful in your driving life.
X. Thou shalt not trouble thy brother with thine driving mistakes, nor wallow like the filthy boar in the mistakes of thy brother.
Talk about saving the best for last. This commandment covers scenarios like the asshole that decides he needs to make a left turn even though he’s in the right lane. And this realization comes only inches before the intersection. Instead of driving on and finding a way to turn around and correct his navigational error, he stops, put on his turn signal, and holds up a whole lane of traffic! (Hey, at least the inconsiderate bastard used the turn signal.) It all boils down to consideration of others. Yeah, you messed up, and yes it will take longer to get where you’re going, but deal with it. The people behind you didn’t mess up, and you have no right to waste their time. The deepest and hottest circle of traffic hell is reserved for you if you do. And you’ll be eternally stuck behind a 90-year old codger driving 15 MPH with his turn signal on for all eternity.
But wait, this commandment is a double header. It also covers the sin of rubbernecking. That’s right, from on-high, the big man is saying, “move along, there’s nothing to see here.” And there isn’t. If you want to see crazy car-related carnage, rent a movie. While you’re on the road your main task is to keep from causing crazy car carnage. Follow the commandments of the road!
Smite-ning Clause (Disclaimer)
Brian is neither a prophet nor a deity. Worshiping him, while likely to be fun and oddly fulfilling, will not result in your getting into heaven. (In fact, it may keep you out.) Brian simply does not have that kind of clout with the man upstairs, nor the size of the hat to intimidate anyone into believing he does. (Brian worship may one day get you into a cigar bar, though, even it does wind up putting you on the express train to a very warm climate.)
Brian has added this “Smite-ning” clause to this post in the hope that it will prevent his next cigar from being lit with heavenly lightning. (Though should that happen, it will fulfill his prediction that he’ll go out with in an explosion of color and sound.) As it so happens, there is a lot of lightning this evening. A lot. And Brian lives in a tall building and works next to a window. This could be his last post ever.