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August 25, 2004


Dear Dave,

As an above-average driver, I nevertheless screw up occasionally. I've long thought that we should carry signs that say "SORRY" both frontwards and reversed (to be seen in rear-view mirrors) that we could hold up when we inconvenienced another driver. I bet this would do a lot to combat road rage. Maybe you are the person who can get this movement onto American highways.

Muriel Friedman

The Stealth Bloggerette thinks this is a great idea, except that in Miami, the sign would also have to say "Lo Siento," "Mwen Regrèt," "Mi Sorry," and of course "Tipiyokti."


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Funny... just extending the middle finger can mean Tipiyokti along with so many other things, so maybe there is no need for a sign.

Isn't it a federal offense to open other people's mail? Dave won't be happy with Judi when he gets back. And making fun of his devout readers...shame shame, Judi.

I try and keep my movements private and isolated to the little boys room.

i'm not making fun! i think it's a fine idea. come to think of it, dave might be mad that i posted something that wasn't funny. nah, he's used to that.

The Federal Law regarding email has nothing to do with email. That email is property of Knight Ridder.

So that's where all the knights have gone. You ladies who are waiting for your knight in shining armor: Forget it. They're all gone. And now you know who to blame.

Judi - Maybe the sign should just say OOPS! That's the same in all languages, isn't it?

'Course you know that there would be even more accidents caused by people digging around in the glove compartment looking for their apology signs. "I'm so sorry, officer. Really, see? here's my sign"

I prefer my sorry sign to be like the "you" at the beginning of imprerative sentences. Namely, invisible but understood.

Well, judi, that's why it should be a sign.

BTW: I'm a celebrity now, too: Linda says hi, and while I didn't go out of the restaurant to the car to meet her, I'm sure your sister Donna does, too.


Yes, that's right, folks: I got to meet judi's sister's *friend*! How cool is that? And the hot dog was good too.

you were in a restaurant with linda and you made my sister wait in the CAR? hmmmmmmmmm....

As part of the ongoing entertainment spectacular "More Useless Information That Nobody Has Any Use For," today I have a limerick:

There once was a man named McDog
Whose friends were made up of a frog
No school and no brunch
'Til the end of next month
Why then no updates on his blog?

McDog was a dashing young fellow
He played the trombone and the cello
He shaved all his hair
On a moderate dare
But alas they still think he's yellow!

One day McDog got a letter
From his family's prime tablesetter
I'm sorry, young scribe
But Salvador's died
Tomorrow will surely be better!

Along came a man named D'Artagnan
Whose mind perhaps had been laggin'
To friends it's no wonder
He'd make such a blunder
So that's why his social life's stagnant!

McDog would forgive the old bat
McDog was forgiving like that
There's reason to think
D'Art's randan must stink
What else to expect from a gat?

Gold? Yes, I think so. Gold, silver and bronze all at the same time. I accept PayPal.

I like this idea, Judi, and have no intention of belittling your efforts to put the 'urt' in 'courtesy'.

Question tho, is it permissible to hold up the 'Sorry' sign first and then cut people off? Or better yet, can I just generally affix it to the car and then continue to drive like an a##hole?

This really will make the roads kinder and gentler.

Can we hug now?

I always thought it'd be great if we could all have those scrolling message boards on the back and fronts of our cars that could bring up any number of messages, including "Oh dude, I'm sorry. I so didn't mean to ram into your passenger door!" and other generic apologies.

I have a flip sign book with:
What am I Invisible?
Get Over It
Insert Finger Here
Green Light for GO
Go Faster
Back Off or I Will Downshift
Look Out Below

and things of that nature...

I always wanted KIT,
So he could yell at the other drivers for me.

You've always thought that, Angie?

That must get weird after a while.

"I love you, Angie, and there's nothing I'd like better than to stay in your arms like this forever."

"Oh, Dave. I wish cars came with scrolling message boards so that..."

"Oh for crap's sake, not this again."

Christobol is right of course. The problem is that Muriel may be sorry but most of her fellow drivers:
a. aren't sorry
b. don't give a sh#t
c. aren't even aware they've done anything to be
sorry about and can't imagine what you're
honking about

In California, you can do away with all the languages except "Lo Siento" (Spanish). It's rapidly becoming the official language, anyway.

Everybody's cryin' "sorry"; but they don't know the meaning of the word.

Meaningless apologies to Mose Allison

Maybe Dave's Greek arrow sign can be included in this new idea.

I'm accustomed to Southern California freeways. Most of the sorry jerks that inhabit them might as well have "sorry" permanently tattooed on their foreheads. Or maybe just a permanent "sorry" in great big red reversed letters on the front of the car, ambulance style. If this were made a law, there'd be a lot of sorrymobiles driving around. Well, there already are -- but now they'd just be labelled as such.

Hmmm scrolling signs... then if you get road rage, you can just ram the guy in front of you instead of making the effort of getting out of the car and smacking the other driver up close and personal. But if you do that, then their signs won't work and they'll have to revert to hand-held signs, and you're going to end up with a bunch of laws a mile long for safe sign usage while driving, referendums and petitions to stop/allow sign usage while driving... question is, in the long run is it worth it for the momentary satisfaction of cutting someone off and flipping them "the sign"?

The international gesture for "sorry" is to hold two fingers to your head like a gun, isn't it? "I'm so sorry I could kill myself".

Maybe Dave should try some Florida driving in Athens and see if it works?

In case anyone is thinking of coming to the great Garden State, here are some useful tips on driving in New Jersey

Thanks for the tip Mahatma. I saw many of those helpful hints at work yesterday while driving to & from Atlantic City. Fun! And I made it home unscathed. Amazing!

Florida drivers mercurial
Inspired sweet thoughtful Muriel
Will blinking a sign
Make drivers more kind?
Down in Miami? Like hell it will!


Judi, I thought your original comment was very funny. And true.

And as for reading Dave's mail ... that's why one hires an assistant ... at least in my world. Who wants to open all their own mail?

Can you say "papercuts" ...

I've often wished for a "sorry" sign when I've done something boneheaded on the road -- but I worry that it will infuriate the other driver further ...

I have used the dart idea for years. I always aim for those with "sorry" permanently tatooed on their foreheads.

Of course, I refer to darts for suckers, not sucker darts.

I have one of those cute stickers in my back window that says "My OTHER Car is Tail Gating You!"

The print is kinda small, so the only way people can read it is if I cut them off in traffic and then hit the brakes.

So far it's getting a HUGE reaction.

Has anybody made "TIPIYOKTI" bumper stickers yet? I know I'd buy one.

speaking of bumper stickers ... I enjoy these beauties ...

Oh, evolve!

My kid beat up your Student of the Month

I don't have to be dead to donate my organ

Jesus Loves You ~ Everyone Else Thinks You're a Jerk

Speaking of driving, here are some tips for you city dwellers that are especially handy during construction season (otherwise known as "always"):

When you see a sign indicating your lane is closing in the next couple miles, keep in mind that:

1) This does not actually apply to YOU personally. The highway dept. knows that you're in a bit of a hurry. Everyone else needs to merge immediately, tho.

2)Don't worry, there will ALWAYS be a moron right up at the last couple feet before your lane becomes a bubbling pit of tar filled with flesh-eating baboons who will let you in.

2b) It's nice to give that person a little wave of appreciation, but don't sweat it if you neglect this, as that person has a fetish involving letting people fu#$ them over, and it is heightened when hundreds of others share the experience agaisnt their will.

3) If for some reason a space opens up before the last minute (say, for example, a trucker can't quite execute a full tailgate) and you find yourself merging with 100 ft to spare, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES shall you let some other a##hole in now that you have obeyed the sign. They are all jerks, even the ones driving emergency vehicles with flashing lights. Just stare straight ahead. They do not exist.

Hope this helps.

What a great idea!!!

christobol ... you must live in Boston.

Christobol you are so right! I'll be experiencing that, I'm sure, this weekend when I drive to New York - "LonG Giland"

Christobol: Excellent advice.

In case anyone is thinking of coming to the great Garden State, here are some useful tips on driving in New Jersey

jersey drivers are just plain terrible. they get all confused over here in PA because we make left turns from the left lane. "What no jug-handles?"

Do jug handles have anything to do with ramparts?

Christobol: Did you learn that in France too?

And did anyone else ever notice that when you're driving, all the pedestrians are suicidal jerks, but when you're a pedestrian, all the drivers are homicidal maniacs?

As an aside, or addition, to the rant on lane closure behavior...

For some reason what irritates me the MOST is when the offender puts their signal on after passing 3 miles of traffic and coming to the end of the lane that no fewer than 19 flashing, interactive signs have PROMISED would end.

It's like they're trying to say "Oh gee, this lane seems to be ending and I guess I need to get OVER. I better let these nice folks who have celebrated TWO BIRTHDAYS in this line know that I need to get in."

I'm pretty sure it's permissable to pull the driver from his car and suffocate him/her with their own ass. I'm not saying there is a law on the books (outside of Texas) specifically condoning this, I'm just saying no jury will convict.

* bows down *
Christobol, you must have been reading the law books down in Austin to know that we have a law like that!

And when they're cheerfully using their turn indicator, sometimes they'll also toot their horn to let you know that, dammit, they mean business about merging, through your front bumper if necessary.

Rules for driving in Dallas, Texas:

First you must learn to pronounce the city name. It is DAL-LUS, or DAA-LIS depending on if you live inside or outside LBJ Freeway.

Next, if your Mapsco is more than a few weeks old, throw it out and buy a new one. If in Denton County and your Mapsco is one day old, then it is already obsolete.

Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Dallas has its own version of traffic rules. "Hold on and pray." There is no such thing as a dangerous high-speed chase in Dallas. We all drive like that.

All directions start with, "Get on Beltline," which has no beginning and no end.

The morning rush hour is from 6 to 10 a.m. The evening rush hour is from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning.

If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended, cussed out and possibly shot. When you are the first one on the starting line, count to five when the light turns green before going to avoid crashing with all the drivers running the red light in cross-traffic.

Construction on Central Expressway is a way of life and a permanent form of entertainment. We had had sooo much fun with it, so we have added the George Bush Freeway and the High Five to the mix.

All unexplained sights are explained by the phrase, "Oh, we're in Fort Worth!"

If someone actually has their turn signal on, it is probably a factory defect. Car horns are actually "Road Rage" indicators.

All old ladies with blue hair in Mercedes have the right of way. PERIOD.

Inwood Road, Plano Road, NW Highway, East Grand, Garland Road, Marsh Lane, Josey Lane, 15th Street, Preston Road... All mysteriously change names as you cross intersections (these are only a FEW examples). The perfect example is what is MOSTLY known as Plano Road. On the south end it is known as Lake Highlands Drive, cross Northwest Highway and it becomes Plano Road, go about 8 miles and it is briefly Greenville Ave, Ave K, and Highway 5. It ends in Sherman, TX.

If asking directions in Irving or SE Dallas, you must have knowledge of Spanish. If in central Richardson or on Harry Hines, Mandarin Chinese will be your best bet. If you stop to ask directions on Gaston or Live Oak, you better be armed and speak Ebonics.

A trip across town (east to west) will take a minimum of four hours, although many north/south freeways have unposted minimum speeds of 75. The minimum acceptable speed on the Dallas North Tollway is 85. Anything less is considered downright sissy.

It is possible to be driving WEST in the NORTH-bound lane of EAST NORTHWEST Highway. Don't let this confuse you.

The North Dallas Tollway is our daily version of NASCAR. It also ends in Sherman. LBJ is called "The Death Trap" for two reasons: "death" and "trap."

If it's 100 degrees, Thanksgiving must be next weekend. If it's 10 degrees and sleeting/snowing, the Fort Worth Stock Show is going on. If it's rained six inches in the last hour, and it is spring, the Byron Nelson Golf Classic is in the second round. If it is fall, the Texas State Fair is going on.

If you go to the Fair, pay the $5 to park INSIDE Fair Park. Parking elsewhere could cost up to $2500 for damages, towing fees, parking tickets, etc. If some guy with a flag tries to get you to park in his 'yard', run over him. All amusement parks, stadiums, arenas, race tracks, airports, etc., are conveniently located as far away from EVERYTHING as possible so as to allow for ample parking on grassy areas.

Final warning: DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS .....DRIVERS !!

Mahatma - what I learned in Paris, and other parts of Europe, is that if you are going to walk somewhere, you're probably going to get hit by a car.

Now, this isn't so bad, since Europe has smaller cars, so it's kindof like in those films of the first model-Ts bouncing along the dirt roads in America - when they'd hit a pedestrian and wouldn't even knock the person down - it's just kind of a "Hey WATCH it!" and a couple hand gestures and off you go situation.

In Florence I learned that there are NO rules governing vespas (you can ride on people on the sidewalk and it's just cool). So I rented one of those and it remains my favorite driving experience ever.

Texas Drivers Quiz

Just another Dave - lived in Dallas for many years. You just brought back memories that caused me to punch a co-worker in a nostalgia induced reinactment of road rage. Now I have to buy her lunch.

And I experienced all that Dallas stuff on a motorcycle, which goes to 11. Or something.

Christobol - don't forget to get her some chocolate, enough for each black eye.

No, judi; I was sitting in the restaurant, minding my own business, when the lady (Linda), who was leaving, told me "you're reading a Dave Barry book."

Now, of course, I *knew* that already (GtG, actually), but it was sweet of her to point it out.

It was then that she explained the whole catenation to me... and come to think of it, I seem to remember that she was sitting in the place by herself, so maybe you need to ask *her* why she let your sister sit in the car alone. :-)

Rabble-rouser? Me??

Nice to know the old crowd here doesn't cotton to thread-hijacking, even if you do it as stylishly as me. :-)

I must have caught luck, because when I was in Dallas last month, I was going 80 and was the fastest car on the road, which was pretty scary, because I would have liked to have been going 148, at least, as people where I live tend to pace traffic.

Then again, it may be that I imagined being in Texas altogether. Perhaps I don't even exist right now, as I type this. What is existence? What is reality? What is sane? Can we trust it? How do we know we can trust it? Does it get 20 miles to the gallon? The answer to all these questions is: yes.

>You've always thought that, Angie?

Yes, it gets quite tiresome.

Fictional relative: "I'm so sorry, Angie. Your sister was killed in a really nasty car accident involving one of those things that picks up golf balls at the golf course. Her car looks like swiss cheese."

Me:"Oh man. Too bad she hadn't had one of those scrolling messages saying 'Watch Out.' That would have been great."

(Disclaimer: I have no sister.)

not anymore, anyways

I didn't have time to read all the comments, so if this is redundant, SORRY!"

In the rural South this could increase not decrease road rage, since "sorry" is an adjective applied to unworthy individuals, e. g. "Why don't he quit runnin' around on Doris Jean?" "Oh, he's just sorry." (as in sorry SOB, etc.)_


[tip of hat to soul-mate on matters of selfish traffic habits]

I so much agree! Why, I have even been known to straddle the line between two lanes when the lane we are all in supposed to be in was crawling and selfish jerks were occasionally zooming by in the soon-to-be-closed lane.

Darned if the idiot behind me didn't try to take my spot in the proper lane! We really need to teach the altruistic crowd how to deal with the selfish few.

Can you do a guest lecture on your famous "suffocation" technique?

MOTW: Boy, that test was interesting. Here's something I learned:

4. Persons are exempted from complying with the law if …

You answered: E. No one is exempt from complying with the Texas seat belt law.
The correct answer is: B. They have a note from their doctor.

Wow, I'm getting a doctor's note before I go to Texas this October! I'm gonna have some fun!

I'm afraid the "sorry" sign would soon become like the phrase "excuse me", which depending on the inflection, body language, and the circumstance can mean several things like "Get the hell out of my way, I'm more important than you", or "Hey, pay attention to where I am going", or the polite, "Sorry I stepped on your toe with my 3-inch-thick platform shoes not designed for actual walking".

How about a friendly wave?

kb - I only say "excuse me" in one way, which I learned early in childhood from listening to Steve Martin.

Far as I'm concerned, ain't no other ta say it.

"no other WAY tasay it."

excuse me.

Good ol' Bill Engvall!


I'm in Austin as well - well, near enough to it to be affected by the Ozone Action Days anyway.

Not that this means we should have lunch or become friends or anything.

*cough, cough*
I'm up in D/FW area, actually. We have our own Ozone Action Days. (Which sounds like some kind of rodeo event when I read it now.)

I just referred to Austin because that's where the legislators are ... when they're not hiding in Oklahoma or New Mexico.

Although I'm not at all a violent person, it's become quite obvious the only way to quell road rage is through the complete and total anihalation (-2pts.spelling)of bad drivers, perhaps through some sort of nocturnal in-their-sleep sort of pinata bludgeoning. Or in South Florida, you could just hide the little peg boards that hold the car keys at the retirement home.
P.S. Little schrolly back dash sign-29.95- available now in airline seatback magazines everywhere.

mkj, so funny about the tips! (sorry this is such a delayed reaction.)

particularly #14; i like the concept of high-speed slalom driving...
although i like to call it "high-speed close formation driving".

makes me feel like the thunderbirds or the blue angels...

I live in an undisclosed southern location which rhymes with "Gnashville." If you really want to see Fupid drivers, drive around here in the rain. If I'm about to leave work, and it starts raining, I just wait. Because people lose their Fupid minds every time they have to wrap their one functional brain cell around driving AND dodging deadly moisture projectiles.

Driver: Oh My God! There's water falling out of the sky!!
Passenger: Don't Panic, remember that the brake and accelerator are reversed in the rain.
Driver: It's all coming back to me. *Screws up face in concentration.* Ok, I remember that traffic lights are altered as well. Is it red = go green = stop, or is that during snow and holidays.
Passenger: That's during meteor showers, not rain showers.
Telephone Pole: *CRUNCH*

And then they shut down whatever road these winners were on, and any road in the immediate zip code, for 6 hours, so that 800 members of the Nash... I mean...undisclosed location.. Crack Squad of Tobacco Spitting Inbred Police If You Can Call Them That can show up and turn on all their fupid lights and stand around like they're single handedly stopping a Nuclear Winter while traffic on I-40 backs up to to Canada and we all wave at iolite and furthermore *slap*
Oh, sorry. Road Rage. And the Deadly Moisture Projectiles wbagnfarb. Booger.

Punky, my favorite bumper sticker around here is:

Visualize Using Your Turn Signal

whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Christobool, brilliant as usual, but I find that a lot of the drivers who execute the wait-until-they're-hitting-the-cone-before-merging-into-the-designated-lane maneuver don't even bother to signal. They just go for it and assume some poor schmuch will let them in. Someone always does. Personally, I use my father's method when faced with one of them: "After me, you're next."

"Why, I have even been known to straddle the line between two lanes when the lane we are all in supposed to be in was crawling and selfish jerks were occasionally zooming by in the soon-to-be-closed lane."

Deon, I do that too, but my wife yells at me. She always thinks the other guy will have a gun or something. What a wimp.

Lisa, too funny!

kmc: like this.

"schmuck" not what I wrote

Judi, It is Now Post Time. How about it?

kmc: go to this site for an easy primer on how to hyperlink. (I got it from djtony.)

jeff: domo! (thanks!)

I had a bumper sticker that said:
Keep Honking While I Reload!

I strongly believe that this is the instigator for most gang fights in Miami-Dade County.

Hmmph! Merely above average. I have been known to compare myself to the famed race-car driver Mario Andretti.

(Wait, that's not one of the ones that crashed, is it?)

I live in Federal Duck's southern location as well, for about 2 years now. There must be some sort of local law that says you can do any dumb thing you like while driving, as long as you wave afterwards. Cut across three lanes of traffic to an offramp? Just wave at everyone. Knock an old lady clean out of her walker in a crosswalk? Just wave at her. Pass a flashing red schoolbus at 40 MPH? Just wave at the kids as they run for their lives. Not a finger, mind you, just a friendly little wave that says "Oops, my bad".

*gets out black candles and sends an extremely negative vibration in erik's general direction*

someone please strangle erik

A FREE IPOD!! Where do I sign?
Wanker. I hate you.

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