Monday, May 23, 2011

Call it...a RoarShock test?

Last night as I was getting on a narrow entrance ramp after work, I was passed by a gargantuan, lifted, customized Hummer; the only things missing were the gun turrets. Actually, "passed" is far too mild a term for what transpired. The driver of the Hummer, concealed behind his not-street-legal blacked-out windows, clearly thought that I and my little Acura were trespassing in a sector of air and asphalt that properly belonged to him, so he asserted his claim. My sole option was to veer off to the right shoulder. ... OK, I suppose it's possible that I could've held my ground and just let him pass over me, but I didn't want to chance it.

A thought occurred.

In this society we have evolved all sorts of complicated and elaborate psychological profiling designed to uncover mental pathology. I propose a much simpler test: Does the person drive a Hummer? Especially the
big, tricked-out one? That's all the evidence I need.

Now, I'm not saying that only people who drive Hummers are unbalanced. We must be mindful here of the old logical fallacy: The fact that psychos drive Hummers doesn't mean that Hummer drivers are the only psychos. Some unbalanced people (notably the ones with limited funds or bad credit) drive other cars. But I think it's safe to regard Hummer ownership as confirming proof of mental/emotional dysfunction. Only a true asshole among assholes would accouter himself with as audacious, unapologetically grandiose a monstrosity.

After all, what does the Hummer do well besides offend sense and sensibility? For starters, it has always ranked among the most poorly made "luxury" vehicles in America, with an appalling number of initial-quality and reliability defects. Gas mileage? The most popular 8-cylinder version musters 14 mpg combined. Its handling characteristics are roughly equivalent to a Winnebago's, with skidpad marks ("lateral acceleration") in the laughable .60 range. (Come to think of it, maybe that's why the guy last night almost careened into me; he couldn't control the damn thing.) And for all its bulk and bravado, the Hummer isn't even that safe, at least not historically.

Oh, and guess who's widely "credited" with buying the very first one in the U.S.? Ah-nold. I rest my case.

In all seriousness, if you drive a Hummer, I'd like to hear from you. Tell me what motivated your purchase. I'd really like to know.

1 comment:

RevRon's Rants said...

Interesting post, Steve, even if it is more representative of your venting that of anything resembling an objective observation. Upon what studies do you base your theory that all Hummer drivers are mentally deficient? I mean, we've seen at least one contributor who damns entire segments of modern society because one person - his ex-wife - allegedly hurt him, and claimed to be a part of the demographic he subsequently demonized. Surely you aren't emulating that person's logic...

See, my son drives a Hummer. I have nbo doubt that the machismo appeal was an important factor to him, but he also enjoys the way the vehicle handles road (and quasi-road) conditions in Alaska, where he lives. He also apparently got a good deal on it. However, I can't bring myself to ascribe his choice of vehicle to some mental disorder, unless being 34 in Alaska somehow represents corroborating proof.

I often poke fun at Hummer drivers. When one operates the vehicle in a particularly obnoxious manner, I generally greet him with a sympathetic, "Sorry about your dick." Even came up with an idea for a perfect Hummer bumper sticker: "Too damn rich to drive a pickup." But for the life of me, I've never seen the need to issue such a broad-stroke pejorative - not even after some jerk almost ran me over. Just a thought.