'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
EVERYONE IS ĎABOVE AVERAGEí DRIVER
A recent survey found that 90 percent of respondents believe they are ďabove averageĒ drivers. This survey must be related to a different poll which found that 87 percent of respondents thought they were ďabove averageĒ in math skills, especially the skills involving statistics, percentages, and the exact meaning of the term ďabove average.Ē
(However, I do not think this survey is related to yet a different poll which found that whenever a survey cites precise percentages, 81.7 percent of the time the pollsters are just making up the numbers. No wait, itís actually 81.75 percent of the time.)
Well, I guess in a country where even the team that goes 0-20 wins a trophy at the post-season league banquet, itís acceptable for nine out of every ten drivers to be above average.
Obviously some folks are deluding themselves regarding their driving skills. I donít know which are worse, the people who think they are above average drivers, but who really are not (Iím using real math here, not self-esteem math), or the ten percent of drivers who know and admit they are below average. That must make for interesting situations. ďYeah, Iím a terrible driver. I admit it. In fact, I just got my license back after all those accidents. Oh, by the way, do you want me to drive your kid to soccer practice?Ē
Either way, if I encounter a delusional driver or a self-admitted lousy driver on the highway, thereís a good chance Iím going to the hospital in a ambulance. (Actually, a 22.835 percent chance, according to a recent survey.)
All this talk of surveys and statistics and driving skills raises a number of questions (the exact number of questions raised, according to a poll: 17.9327). The first question is: Since everyone on the highway these days drives like a maniac, what exactly is the definition of above average? Does it mean the driver is only periodically insane, or only occasionally aggressive bordering on homicidal, or only partially distracted by his or her cell phone, text messages, satellite radio, CD player, and GPS device?
The second question is: Are drivers considered above average if they apply mascara while moving at 70 MPH on Interstate-84 ONLY during the morning commute to work and not while commuting home in the evening? (Iíve seen you twice now, lady, and I must say you scare the heck out of me!)
The third question is: How can insurance companies that specialize in auto coverage possibly stay in business, regardless of how high they raise the premium rates, when everyone on the highway is banging into everyone else? I donít know a single person anymore who has not in recent years either caused, or been the recipient of, at least a fender bender.
And the final question we have room for today (the other 13.9327 questions will have to wait for another day): If the government is about to mandate that new cars must be as small as riding lawnmowers, only with less powerful engines, who is going to be available to drive all the hearses to all the funerals when every single licensed driver is dead?
OK, maybe Iím exaggerating a bit with these questions. (Surveys show that I exaggerate 62.55296 percent of the time.) But since I do a lot of driving for my job, Iíve got a pretty good idea of whatís happening on the highways. And this is what I know for sure: 117.34 percent of all drivers are below average, FAR below average. Except me. My driving skills are almost as good as my math skills.
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