Wednesday, November 30, 2011

From the Annals of Stupidity

[Don’t try this at home!]

The time: winter, late 1980s.

The place: an anonymous town in upstate New York.

The actors: me, my friend, my brother, and his friend.

Okay. This is actually pretty witty, I think, if you’re able to cut through all the stupidity.

The four of us were hanging at my parents’ weekend home sans parents. Not much to do at night except drink, so we hopped into two cars and drove a few miles down those winding, wood-lined two lane highways to the “local” bar for a few drinks. Maybe more, not sure, don’t remember, don’t want to. Anyway, I think we all had girlfriends at the time, so we weren’t looking for that. Just to get a might powerful buzz on.

After a little while we decided to head back to the house. And wouldn’t you know it, we decided to race back, of all things. In fact, it was my suggestion. Me, whose top speed was 80 on the I-95 in wide-open North Carolina (and I was still passed by other motorists).

But I had an idea. Me and my friend got to his car first and we were off sliding on the icy slushy roads before my brother and his pal. My brother is a bit of a speed demon (maybe was, I don’t know; haven’t driven with him in a while). Did I mention I had an idea?

We pulled up at an intersection which led to the two-lane highway. Roads in upstate New York are pretty much the most desolate places on earth. Maybe a car would pass by every ten or twenty minutes this neck of the woods. I told my friend to pull the car off the road, just past an outcropping of trees. “But leave your parking lights on,” I advised.

He knew exactly where I was going. My brother would race by and catch the sight – peripherally – of what would appear to him to be a police car monitoring the intersection for … speeders!

Two minutes later he zipped by. The trap was sprung. My buddy immediately pulled out behind him – just parking lights on – and accelerated. “Flash your hi-beams on and off,” I shouted.

Now, if you’ve ever been pulled over (and who hasn’t?) you notice in the rear-view mirror that police cars have alternating high and low beams for each headlight, out of sync. Obviously we couldn’t get the same effect, but I was curious to see if we could get my brother to pull over.

He didn’t.

In fact, he gunned it, his brake lights disappearing to pinpoints in front of us.

Back at the house we all had some laughs. No, he wasn’t fooled. He’s the type of guy that knows every model of car – even when he catches a glimpse of parking lights off the road – and knows every model of police vehicle. But he gave us an A for effort.

Then the drinking really began …

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