M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, June 23, 2003  

It Was a Porsche

It’s been a while since I saw anyone pick up their computer mouse and point it at the monitor like a remote control, but I’m happy to say that there are still plenty of people who phrase their queries to search engines as though they’re talking to the computer on Star Trek.

Also, many of these people appear to be playing some kind of trivia challenge or something, because I’ve gotten a whole Googlewhack of hits today from phrases like "Tom Cruise" car dump into a lake in 'Risky Business"? and car "tom cruise" dump in lake in "risky business" and "risky business" cruise car dump lake, as well as several searches for "risky business" What kind of car did Tom Cruise dump into a lake and “WHAT KIND OF CAR DID TOM CRUISE DUMP INTO THE LAKE IN RISKY BUSINESS?” Because Google is more likely to understand your question if you shout. It’s like foreigners that way.

At first I thought this was just one really, really curious individual desperate to find out just what got parked in Lake Michigan anyway, but the disparity of domains and time zones involved says otherwise. And yet the word “dumped” keeps showing up, indicating that they’re all trying to answer a question from a single source. In any case, they could have saved a lot of keystrokes (and gotten the answer, which my January archives don’t have) by using the phrase "joel goodson" dad's car. I’m sure many people did do just that, and my money’s on them for whatever prize they’re after. If anyone knows where the question comes from in the first place, let me know, okay? I’m not above whoring for more hits from net-unsavvy triviaphiles.

Speaking of cars, something occurred to me the other day. In light of the setup, I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t end badly. I was coming up to the four-way stop sign on my corner, and a kid on a bike was approaching the same intersection on the cross street, which happens to angle steeply downhill. He saw me coming and skidded to a panicked stop. I stopped before the crosswalk, and he’d stopped before the corner, so an accidental collision was out of the question. I waited for him to cross the street in front of my bumper, as he called out “sorry” through my open window. Then we were both on our way.

Now, my question is, why was he sorry? He was at the intersection first. He had the right-of-way, which I gladly yielded. If he’d bounced off my hood, it would have been because I’d run the sign. In other words, it would have been entirely my fault. I felt like chasing the kid down and explaining it to him, and bouncing him off my hood until he got it, but then I had to wonder—would I really be doing him a favor? What if he gets in the habit of checking for stop signs that apply to cross-traffic, and a less scrupulous driver than myself (yes, such an animal may exist) rolls through while he’s trying to cross and gets a grille full of the kid’s spokes? Would my lesson in responsibility be any comfort to a nine-year-old being held together with dental floss and spackling compound in the Fairview-Southdale ICU? I can’t help thinking that such a transaction would put me pretty deeply in the red, karmically speaking.

So I let him ride off thinking he’d dome something wrong. I’m not proud of it. It was just the least bad option, as I saw it.

Which made me think that we need to come up with another less bad option: give kids cars. Think about it; right car vs. wrong kid = smushed kid, but wrong car vs. right kid = smushed kid again. It’s this whole “might makes right” philosophy that gets to me. Put a kid in a car and at least he’ll be safer.

There are still some bugs to be worked out, like, for instance, the threat to public safety that a nation of licensed preteens would represent, and the elevated risk of Chicago’s destruction by flooding as Lake Michigan gets completely filled with Porsches. Maybe kids could drive Nerfmobiles with safety cages or something. It sounds crazy, but back when my own primary mode of transportation had two wheels, nobody ever thought that bicycle helmets would be as ubiquitous as they are now. Things change, you know.

And it’s for the children. Won’t somebody please think of the children?

posted by M. Giant 3:30 PM 0 comments


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