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'Gator? I hardly knew her!

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When I was in high school, we had a police officer come in and do a lecture about driving because we were getting close to the age of getting a permit. It was like a sex ed class, a coming of age time at school. Three main events consist of the coming of age events here: sex education, hunter's safety, and the driving lecture. Since this is in a small town, it was given by the same officer who teaches D.A.R.E., the drug prevention program. It's odd growing up with a guy who told you to stay away from pot and alcohol to now tell you that speeding at any time is a traffic offense. I'll admit, when I saw him all I could think of was "pot is bad", though that is not nearly as awkward as learning both hunter's safety and safe sex from your gym teacher.

So here is the office, of course in his uniform as this was...er...official(?) policing business. I noted how humorous it was that the kids seem to be on heightened alert because they think he is in there to do a drug inspection. There I go about the drugs again. He told us the dangers of multitasking while driving (this is right before the texting boom) by playing with our radios or drinking something. Never drink, mess with the radio, talk on a phone, make out, scratch yourself, stretch, yawn, or take off your clothes while driving. Keep that last point in mind. While the talk was informative, it was just a rehash of driver's ed.

After he ended about all the things that could potentially kill us in a fiery car wreck, he made the mistake of asking us if we had any questions about the law or situations they have seen. Immediately a ton of hands went in the air. He certainly has his work cut out for him. The first question, sadly, was not a sign of things to come as it was a fairly smart question with an interesting answer. It went downhill so far after that.

Keep in mind that I live in a fairly small town in Missouri which, sad to say the stereotype is correct, is mostly made up of rednecks or farm people who have driven a truck since the age of 9. Now put these stereotypes in a time machine and make your adult redneck a young teenager. We are talking bad questions that either weren't thought out too well or are meant to be "funny".

Sure, they started off innocent enough, but the relative IQ dropped with "Is it illegal to drive a car without shoes on?". The officer, who I know has seen a lot of things, said it wasn't against the law to drive barefooted, but that it was not a good idea because the foot doesn't provide as good friction on a pedal like a shoe does, and it would be uncomfortable. It was a solid answer for a numskull question. The next was when they were scraping the bottom of the barrel. "Is it illegal to drive naked?". Yes. We were teenagers with real hormones and aside from stumbling across the "secret stash" of stuff in your house, all we could do is think about the joy of riding without restrictive clothes. This is when laughter started in the room and we were given the "evil be silent or suffer with an essay" look from our English teacher.

Thankfully the officer has been policing in our community for a good number of years, so he probably knows our parents and their habits, as well as the overall maturity of our fine townspeople. He said "It is not illegal to drive naked, but if we pull you over and have to give you a sobriety test, realize it will be in public where people will see you." This sent the brilliant minds to thinking of the next insane question as well as a wave of laughter across the room. An essay was guaranteed at this point so we showed no mercy. (And by we I mean them because I was sitting there with my head in arms in pure shame.) Next was "Is it illegal to ride in the back of a truck tied up and naked". What kind of event were these numskulls planning? "Can we hunt in our truck?" Do they mean pedestrian hunting because I want to chip in my response to that question. We had penetrated the bottom of the barrel and have started to dig through concrete bedrock with a toothpick as a chisel.

More questions ensued. Finally, he said he had time for one more question, probably so he could run away and regain his sanity. With several hours of punishment before us, we knew this would be the last chance we got to ask a real life officer of the law a real question about real traffic law. How about turning right on red? What about safe snow driving tactics? No, this question was hopefully going to penetrate into the molten hot core of the hole we have dug. Remember when I talked about sex ed? It would not take a genius to know the next question asked. "Is is against the law to be naked while performing sex in your car?" We had finally reached singularity in the absurdness of our question. Flummoxed by our juvenile inanity, he simply said, "Actually, nearly everything you asked me is illegal. Please don't do any of that. Laws will be passed." Our teacher sheepishly thanked him for putting up with us.

And that is why I'm not a huge fan of hanging out with the general population of the area. You think people mature, and some do, but for the most part there seems to be a drought of reason in these parts and it scares me to death.

Just remind me to talk about the questions that popped up in sex ed. The only thing more disturbing than the pictures were the kids looking at them.

The Allengator

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