Mar 25, 2010, 4:00 PM EDT
Time for more Jelisahol, because it’s been a tough week, and I know you need it. Today the subject is Tony Kornheiser, bad drivers, and the things they run over. That has almost included our author. You read the book, now see the movie.
By Jelisa Castrodale
By the time my great aunt reached her mid-eighties, she’d become a gout-suffering, cardigan-wearing personification of that bumper sticker that says “If You Don’t Like My Driving, Stay Off The Sidewalk.” If you didn’t want to spend your afternoon pulling a Town Car’s bumper out of the back of your thighs, you probably also needed to avoid your front yard, your back yard and the cart return corral at Food Lion. After realizing that she couldn’t see above her swollen knuckles on the steering wheel, a family intervention was staged; one that ended with her keys in my dad’s pocket and that Lincoln parked in the garage to leak oil and gather dust.
Last week when I heard Tony Kornheiser’s douchetastic radio show, the one where he suggested that drivers should “run down” cyclists on the road, I kind of wished that my dad would swing through D.C. on his drive home, just to swipe Kornheiser’s keys too. On his March 11 broadcast, Kornheiser complained about proposed bike lanes in the D.C. metro area before aiming his low-flying attempts at humor at cyclists with “their stupid hats and their shiny shorts.”
Look, I understand sarcasm and that part of his schtick is to act like he has a Saguaro cactus lodged in his descending colon, but suggesting that drivers “pop [cyclists] just a little bit” (or give them “just a spill, not a fatal spill” as co-host Kevin Stanfield suggested) is stupid, irresponsible and more than a little dangerous.
I’m not much of a cyclist. I do take an occasional Spin class at the Y, pedaling along furiously to a string of Talking Heads songs, but the bike is safely bolted to the floor and the only potential hazards are the stray farts that intermittently escape from the heavy breather beside me. Although I really enjoy the class and own a relatively nice bike, I’m almost afraid to ride on the roads; currently my two biggest fears are eating undercooked shellfish and drivers like Tony Kornheiser.
“I have a large powerful car compared to your stupid little bicycle,” Kornheiser said later in that same broadcast. That’s right. An average car weighs around 2,700 pounds — not counting the additional mass of an anal wart like Mister Kornheiser — and I weigh … um … well, what I weigh is none of your business. The thing is, unless my real dad was one of the Transformers, Motor Vehicle vs. Me is a battle I’m always going to lose.
As a distance runner, I’ve had more than one miserable encounter with cars. Most of it is either innocuously annoying — like people who lob trash into my path, like I’m going to eat it PacMan-style — or shouting lazily insulting comments in between bites of their Fritos Chili Cheese Wraps. Hell, if I had a dollar for every driver who yelled “RUN, FORREST, RUN” during my Sunday morning ten-milers, I could pay to have Lieutenant Dan’s legs reattached.
Just last week, a man with an oversized American flag pasted onto the rear window of his Isuzu Trooper slowed down to bellow “GET ON THE F***ING SIDEWALK!” in my general direction. If he hadn’t been racing a Talladega-caliber qualifying lap past the swingsets and ‘SLOW’ signs, he would’ve noticed that this sleepy residential neighborhood didn’t even have sidewalks. “These Colors Don’t Run,” said the faded sticker on his rusted Japanese car — and from the look of the fleshy, fluid-retaining middle finger he extended toward me, neither did he.
That’s the problem with people like that, whether they’re in my ZIP code or they have an increasingly terrible radio show. If you’re on the outside of a two-ton hunk of metal, you don’t realize how unsettling it when an SUV swerves too close or doesn’t stop quickly enough at a crosswalk or does something else that causes a permanent stain in your sweat-wicking shorts. Perhaps if they put their cars into park and laced a pair of sneakers or clipped into a pair of pedals, it wouldn’t seem like such a good idea to encourage drivers to be more aggressive. Or maybe they should just spend an afternoon riding shotgun with my Aunt Erma.
Jelisa Castrodale is a writer and comedian who has learned a lot about life by making a mess of her own. She chronicles her failures at The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy, covers music for London’s BitchBuzz and twitters while she waits at stoplights. Castrodale was featured in the book Twitter Wit and was named one of Mashable’s 10 Funniest Twitterers.
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