Flavin’s Corner
3-23-01

SUV Nation*
* BS Factor 9 Alert!

They’re everywhere! Sports Utility Vehicles, or SUVs, are squat steel boxes on big wheels, supposedly designed for the rough and wild of a big and formidable country outback, but invariably used by borderline manic soccer-moms to intimidate their competition in suburban and urban traffic. Oh, some have child safety seats and/or large dogs visible inside, however this is a twisted Merlot-soddened ruse to hide the true nature of these Hell-spawned machines! The sick fascination with Simpson’s Ford Bronco continues and our nation, and perhaps the entire world, will soon be infected by the ersatz conception of power as proffered by the SUV manufacturers. We must resist. It may already be too late. I hope not. 

As to when this SUV infestation began, some may point to the 1941 Ford GPW, the "go anywhere reconnaissance vehicle" commissioned for World War II (civilian models began to be sold in 1945 with the Willys CJ2A), though this may now be understood as misinformation. Iraqi defectors have whispered reports of seeing Saddam Hussein riding in an ancient chariot late at night through the streets of  Baghdad, naked and screaming unintelligibly, a look of requited terror in his eyes, staring like Lovecraft’s victim in his short-story, "Dagon," "…into a fathomless chaos of eternal night." Historians believe the chariot to be the legendary Todeskarren or "Cart of Death," as described in Unaussprechlichen Kulten by Von Junzt, which Hammurabi stole from Mari in Syria, after his c.1700 BCE invasion. It is said this "Cart of Death" was a "go anywhere reconnaissance chariot," but its real purpose has yet to be determined.

And, unfortunately, the demonic invasion has not been limited to Old World occurrences. Investigators have revealed that the probable deaths of the Native Americans, Luis and Salvador, in the ill-fated Donner Party, were not due to a desperate attempt to provide dinner, but rather because they’d previously voiced concerns about the wagons that had brought them from Missouri. Survivors reported that the Native Americans believed the wagons to be possessed, made of a dark and evil wood, and blamed the vehicles for all the subsequent disasters and abominations. Whether made of old or new wood, military or civilian steel, it seems shape, design, and abuse are the key factors which unleash the SUV fetish and threatens life on Earth as we know it. We can stop it. We must stop it. To do nothing is to become as snack-treats for the Hungry Ones.

Throughout the late ‘60s and the ‘70s, it was the family stationwagon.  The ‘80s brought the mini-van phenomena (still with us, in part), allowing families and commuters the opportunity to be jammed in wheeled death-traps like unlucky sheep with coldsores on their way to a better place.  It was bad enough Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered, but the Gilligan’s Island behavior of Marcia Clark, Judge Ito, and Mark Furman, was especially ludicrous.  Sure, the “Dream Team” defense attorneys earned their salt, and O.J. remains free to continue to play golf, beat-up blondes, and star in soft-porn movies.  The system, for right or wrong, continues to work.  It started with the Bronco, however.  The long, slow chase.  Watching the television footage effected America.  We were damaged.

It seems the utilitarian Jeep entered contemporary cowboy lore as an all-terrain vehicle capable of chasing after lil’ doggies, often replacing the traditional horse because of its ability to provide country tunes turned up real loud and a safe place for a six-pack of beer.  The John Denver chic started buying Jeeps and SUVs to serve as a clean-lined conventional automobile, and also provide the storage room and traction usually required for going camping in mountainous areas.  At some point (it’s hard to credit O.J. with anything other than being able to run well with a football and getting away with murder), select Californians began to do SUVs.  From Rodeo Drive to off-road.  It could have been something Kato Kaelin mumbled.  And America heard, but didn’t understand. 

They keep coming.  Everyday more and more seize control of our roads.  The Chrysler PT Cruiser with its suggestion of gangster-era design reveals what’s really on the minds of the soccer-moms.  It’s about power.  SUV owners merely pretend to be ready in an instant to go fishing, hiking, camping, or other such outdoor things.  Most go from the garage or driveway to the mall, make a stop for a pizza or fried chicken, and return home as fast and as recklessly as possible.  Tailgating smaller cars, their headlights blinding drivers in front of them, they push their way through traffic because they can.  It’s a fact: size matters.  When an SUV slams into a small car, there are more deaths in the car than in the SUV.  And soccer-moms know it!

A few years ago Chicago was hit with one of its usual heavy snowstorms, but this one had an unexpected impact on SUV owners.  Their arrogance and specification naivete caused them to burn-out hundreds of transmissions as they tried to navigate through the thick snow.  They believed those stupid commercials about SUVs being able to go anywhere!  Ha; fools!  The boon to the transmission-repair shops apparently had a significant impact on the local economy, as mechanics were said to have bought many rounds of drinks in honor of the soccer-moms.

I wouldn’t give a rodent’s posterior about the safety of SUVs, except one of those roll-overs could land on me.  See, the SUVs scare me.  It’s that simple.  We’re taught to be careful around big trucks, those annoying kids in a parent's car or a half-blind senior are standard road-fare and unavoidable, but the reckless aggressiveness of SUV drivers is almost impossible to train against.  Everyday I’m either angered or frightened at some new stunt pulled by an SUV driver in traffic.  Through some suburbs and on the highway, they travel in packs of a half-dozen or so, speeding past small cars who are merely doing the speed-limit, seemingly oblivious to the fact that road-conditions might be treacherous due to rain or snow.  They recognize each other’s power, behave like punks on a playground, and intimidate the drivers of small cars because it’s still illegal in this country to fire a handgun at some soccer-mom who just cut you off in traffic and came scant inches away from causing an accident.  I know; move to a country where it is legal to fire a handgun at a soccer-mom in an SUV!

There’s no easy answer, here.  Better driver-education would be asking too much of busy populations who usually don’t read anything longer than a price-tag.  More police on the road could work, but cops generally leave the soccer-moms alone.  I’m thinking about a personal auto-cam like the cops use to film themselves kicking innocent victims.  Maybe video evidence of reckless driving, court-costs, a few large to cover the cost of my self-medication, and SUV drivers might drive a bit more responsibly.  Right.  Believe that and I’ve got an O.J. autographed box of Kleenex to sell to the highest bidder!

4X4 regards,
Rick

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