So, I’m guessing Pope “Benedict” Ratzinger has never driven in Los Angeles.
As someone who was raised Catholic, I have to say these 10 little “rules” are – much like some of the church’s strongest dogma (birth control is a sin, homosexuality is a sin, ordaining women is wrong, etc.) – pretty far-flung from reality.
1.You shall not kill
2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm
3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events
4. Be charitable and help your neighbour in need, especially victims of accidents
5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin
6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so
7. Support the families of accident victims
8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness
9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party
10. Feel responsible toward others
Okay. Step by step now …
1. is hard to argue with.
2. is like saying “thou shalt not fall off a building if thou playest upon the parapet.” If you drive, you’re using a means of transportation that is fully capable of committing moral harm. You take that responsibility every time you get behind the wheel.
3. A good idea, but not phrased as a commandment. Next?
4. I’m down with this.
5. A rather namby-pamby way of saying “Thou shalt not make snap lane changes at 90 without signals whilst receiving oral pleasure.” Be more precise, your grace.
6. “Don’t let friends drive drunk” is sooo much more eloquent.
7. Huh? With cash? Crutches? Soothing words? This needs a strong rewrite.
8. It’s called Small Claims Court or, in the case of serious hurt, Superior Court. Again – be more precise with wording.
9. I have absolutely no idea what this means to say. Ten demerits for mushy syntax.
10. Ah, guilt. What would fine Catholic dogma be without it? But more importantly, one should BE responsible toward others.
Make no mistake, I have nothing against Catholics, having been birthed, baptised, befriended, set straight, loved (occasionally loathed) and mysteriously forgiven by some of the best of ’em.
But seriously, if the Roman Catholic Church is going to waste our time with material like this, shouldn’t it have hired a decent writer – or at least someone familiar with the realities of a daily commute?
Anyway, here are my 10 commandments for Angeleno drivers, free of religion, dogma and philosophy.
Feel free to mix, match, put them to the torch, nail them to the wall of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels or make a reeeeally long bumper sticker out of ’em:
1. Thou shalt not kill (yep, that’s still a good ‘un.)
2. Thou shalt not drive when thou has had too much to drink, smoke, snort or otherwise imbibe, neither shall thou overestimate thine ability to drive in such a state and continually insist thou art fine particularly when thou knowest thou art full of shit, among other intoxicants.
3. Thou shalt not cut off another driver to make thy exit, nor thy appointment on time, nor thy point.
4. Thou shalt obey stop signs, traffic lights, lane markers and carpool-lane barriers not just because the Lord sayeth so but because traffic school and emergency rooms suck
5. Thou shalt drive at a reasonable speed for conditions – neither 20 in the rain nor 65 in the freezing rain nor 55 in the number 1 lane.
6. Thou shalt maintain thy vehicle so it polluteth not the air behind it with foul brimstone vapors nor the lanes around it with horrible overcranked hiphop from a pathetic sound system too weak-ass for the job.
7. Thou shalt not drive solo five blocks in a giant SUV to buy thy latte whilst yakking to thy silly friends upon thy cellphone and thereby cause injury and damage to passersby when thine immense chrome schnozz impacteth upon them.
8. Thou shalt not street race upon heavily populated thoroughfares.
9. Thou shalt respecteth and honoreth thy arresting officer and thy Chippie lest they write thee up with extra points just because thou wert a smartass.
10. Thou shalt not tailgate. Ever.