Saturday, March 21, 2009

GAME OVER for Late Freeway Mergers

Introduction to the Interstate DUH

Road construction season is upon us, and President O's massive public works program is in gear.

That means more orange barrels than ever as we repair and augment the infrastructure of this great nation.

It also means "Lane Closed Ahead" signs on our interstate highways, and it means society's lowest form of usually-sober motorized humanity, the late merger, will soon come flying out of hibernation passing everyone else on the berm.

I'd like to emphasize that not all late mergers are low-lifes. Let's define the variations to avoid misunderstanding, and for the purposes of these definitions let's give all species two miles of lane closure warning so that we can accurately sum them up:

Least dangerous are the innocents, trapped out in the doomed lane by faster traffic in the open lane. They'll fall in line at the first opportunity, God bless 'em.

Really annoying are the clueless "Wow – this lane doesn't have any traffic" people. Some of them will figure everything out after a mile or so. Their through-lane slowdown bungee effect signature won't harm traffic flow much.

But by one-point-five miles and three flashing advisory signs past the first warning in our two-mile example, the worst of the worst jerks will pass through motoring society's sieve of decorum ... and straight into this all-powerful unappointed Car Czar's cross-hairs.

Here the really, really clueless, the recent graduates of Corporate Pinhead I-wanna-move-out-of-my-cubicle Assertiveness Training, the guys who can't get it up anymore and now ram their cars through traffic instead, and the just hopelessly self-centered are all that remain flying by you, me, and thee as we impatiently wait in the giant traffic jam that's taken shape entirely thanks to these living, breathing piles of societal (Microsoft Word's latest Thesaurus does not have an alternate for "poop" – in fact all derogatory words are marked "offensive" with no help whatsoever even for alternates to "idiot," "moron," or "cabbage head" ... so please stand by while my office researches the subject, and thanks a lot, Microsoft, you bunch of ... never mind ... your most unhelpful Thesaurus has no alternates for that word, either).

In the past this great country's motorists have dealt with the problem of brazen late freeway construction zone mergers with fingers, fists, horns, curses, and silly red-faced gap-closing gas-and-brake standoffs.

Under the luckiest circumstances a highway patrolman might be found lying in wait for these traffic-disrupting clowns, or a trucker might pull out and block the cretins, forcing traffic to jam up behind, but at least denying the (thanks again, Microsoft, you ... never mind) the chance to cut-in further up the line.

Under the unluckiest of circumstances previously-innocent motorists knuckle-under to this guy's treatise glorifying late merging and add to the stupidity, bringing our freeways to a standstill (say, Tom, you're a ... never mind [my trusty old Word 6.0 Thesaurus wouldn't be sitting on its hands here] ... despite your extensive studies of the chariot wheel ruts in Pompeii ).

I'm happy to say that my office will be rolling out an extensive late merging deterrent system across this nation's interstate highway system this summer.

Beginning in June, motorists who just "Don't Understand" this whole "Right Lane Closed, 2 Miles" business after 1.5 miles will be swallowed up by a network of ingenious Interstate Don't Understand Holes, which will be placed just beyond state-of-the-art Acme artificial horizons.

These DUHs will efficiently swallow the world's self-important motorists without the pinch-point traffic jams created by last-moment lateral moves. Swallowed cars will travel directly through the earth's super-heated core, becoming molten blobs of steel and spent flesh before exiting into a cooling river running through the earth's surface mantle and tumbling out as finished, one-of-a-kind climb-on play sets for underprivileged Chinese children.*

The U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers is hard at work on these subinterstate tunnels as we speak thanks to funding from the president's progressive public works stimulus package. When this project is complete, Acme Horizon-covered interstate DUH entry points can be created and closed on any roadway in under an hour by any commercial paving contractor, placed at random distances from pre-announced merges of two miles or more where there are no interceding freeway entry points without any fear of the nation's rolling self-interested panic-merging just prior to the DUH ... because these people are really, really just not paying attention. They probably even got lost in that last sentence.

Gas is cheap until further notice. While your Unhumble Car Czar sweats the details on building a better transportation infrastructure to pass on to our children and more play sets for Chinese children, please feel free to move about the country more freely.


*The president, without his knowledge, proposed a kinder, gentler solution to freeway late mergers wherein offenders are simply shuffled into road-side gutters by outsized Acme horizon-disguised bowling alley bumper guards. It's a mixed-up, mixed-metaphor version of the president's favorite White House basement past-time.

"Make nice with the Iranians," I told President O., remembering that he relishes the intellectually-stimulating atmosphere created by dissent within his own administration, even in the case of made-up members. "Make nice with the Ku Klux Klan and even reach out to the cast of High School Musical while you're being Mr. Magnanimous, sir.

"But trust me, Mr. President, this country cannot afford to appease late mergers for another summer. "


I'm not done yet. Next week: The Curious Case of the Escalade Hybrid.

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