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Funny Dave Barry Article
It's an old one, but a good one, with some marginal Audi-ish content.
Hairy green toads from Mars made Dave Barry say:
> Highways' Outer Limits
> by Dave Barry
> January 7, 1996
> from the Boston Sunday Globe
> reprinted without permission
> Recently, the federal government, as part of its ongoing effort to
> become part of the same solar system as the rest of us, decided to
> eliminate the National Pretend Speed Limit. As you are aware, for many
> years, the National Pretend Speed Limit was 55 miles per hour (metric
> equivalent: 378 kilograms per hectare). This limit was established
> during the energy crisis, when America went through a scary gasoline
> shortage caused by the fact that for about six straight months,
> everybody in America spent every waking moment purchasing gasoline.
> Remember? We all basically went insane. The instant the car's fuel
> gauge got down to 15/16 of a tank, we raced to a service station and
> spent a couple of hours waiting in line with hundreds of other
> gasoline-obsessed Americans. It's still a mystery why we did this.
> Maybe some kind of brain-damaging chemical got in our national water
> supply, because around the same time, everybody also got into disco.
> So, anyway, the energy crisis came to the attention of the federal
> government, which, swinging into action as only our federal government
> can, told everybody to get swine-flu shots.
> No, wait, that was an other crisis. What the federal government did
> in this particular crisis was declare, in 1974, a National Pretend
> Speed Limit of 55. This has been strictly observed everywhere except on
> the actual roads, where the *real* speed limit - the one actually
> enforced by the police is a secret, unposted number ranging between 63
> and 78, unless an individual police officer does not care for the way
> you look, in which case the speed limit is zero.
> The result is that, for more than 20 years, virtually everybody in
> the United States has been violating the speed limit except for Ralph
> Nader and elderly people wearing hats. (This system is similar to the
> one used in foreign countries such as Italy, where the government puts
> strict-looking speed limit signs everywhere, but nobody ever sees them
> because light does not travel fast enough to catch the Italian
> So, finally, our government, facing reality, has decided to abolish
> the National Pretend Speed Limit and let individual states decide how
> fast drivers can go. The most interesting response so far has come from
> the extremely rural state of Montana (official motto: "Moo"), which
> announced that there would be *no* speed limit during daylight hours. I
> was frankly amazed when I read this in the newspaper. I mean, I am not
> a legal scholar, but to me, no speed limit means that, theoretically,
> you can go 400 miles per hour, right?
> If that were true, Montana would immediately become an extremely
> popular destination for your average guy driver on vacation with his
> family, because guys like to cover a tremendous amount of ground. A guy
> in vacation-driving mode prefers not to stop the car at all except in
> the case of a bursting appendix, and even then he's likely to say, "Can
> you hold it a little longer? We're only 157 miles from Leech World."
> So, if there really were no speed limit, a vacationing guy with the
> right kind of car - by which I mean the kind of car that has to be
> stopped with a parachute - could cover all of Montana in approximately
> an hour.
> In an effort to check this out, I called Montana and spoke with
> Steve Barry, deputy chief of the Montana Highway Patrol. "Can people
> drive 400 miles per hour up there?" I asked.
> He told me that, in all honesty, the answer was no. He said that
> while there was "no theoretical upper speed limit," there was a
> practical one, determined by police officers in the field, based on
> factors such as traffic density, road conditions, and type of vehicle.
> So I asked him: What if all the conditions were perfect? What would be
> the absolute fastest you could legally go? What is the *real* Montana
> speed limit? Barry answered that, if you pinned him down, his estimate
> would be around 100 miles per hour. "At that point," he said, "the
> majority of the citizens at large would say that's too fast for
> conditions out here."
> So, you vacationing guys are going to have to budget *four* hours
> for Montana. But this is still an improvement, and I'd like to see
> other areas of the country make a similar effort to have realistic
> traffic laws. For example, right now, the legal speed limit in down
> town Manhattan is 30. This is absurd. This is the speed limit that
> Manhattan drivers observe on the *sidewalk*. On the streets of
> Manhattan, the actual observed speed limits are as follows:
> TRAVELING UPTOWN OR DOWNTOWN: 125 miles per hour, unless you have a
> chance to hit a pedestrian, in which case you may go 150.
> TRAVELING ACROSS TOWN: Nobody has ever successfully traveled across
> Manhattan in a motor vehicle.
> I'd also like to see speed limits that take into account what song
> you're listening to on the radio. Ideally, if a police officer pulled
> you over for doing, say, 95 miles per hour in a 75 zone, and you could
> prove to him that you were listening to the Isley Brothers' version of
> "Twist and Shout," he would not only have to let you off, he would also
> be required, by law, to sing along with you. It's something for all of
> us to look forward to as our ever evolving nation heads toward the 21st
> century, traveling *way* too fast for conditions.
Andrew L. Duane (JOT-7) firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Equipment Corporation (603)-881-1294
110 Spit Brook Road
Nashua, NH 03062-2698
Only my cat shares my opinions, and she prefers Tom Lehrer.