Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Rodney Dangerfield Eat Your Heart Out

I went back to school too!

Traffic school, that is. Yes, thanks to one neglected stop sign, I was endowed with the great privilege to rekindle my old learnin’ days by taking an online traffic re-education course.

Of course, I’m a much better student now. In my youth, I would have slept through traffic school, I would have giggled at myself for typing the word “endowed” in the above paragraph and I wouldn’t have taken near as many notes.

Sure, I took notes. That doesn’t make me some kind of egg-head, does it? No. Besides, each chapter of the course ended in a quiz. And the chapters were fairly long. I was convinced that I would forget at least one crucial piece of information before I got to the chapter-end test. I have the memory of a pair of scissors after all. So I took quite a few notes. No matter that the chapter quizzes consisted of two questions each. (But I was positive that I would forget stuff like the fact that car accidents are the #1 killer of people ages 15-30. By the way, with mortality rates like that, where the hell is the “don’t drive like a drunken wombat” telethon? I could get behind that cause. One damned baby chokes on a plastic toy and we have nationwide panic. A couple teenagers die from tainted beef and we call out the National Guard to protect us from Jack in the Box. But thousands of people die in car crashes and we throw up our hands and say “well, what are you gonna do, huh? Can’t just stop driving like asshats now, can we?”)

Yes, the quizzes were two questions each. But here’s the rub, if you want to pass the quiz you must answer both questions correctly. Otherwise, you have to take the quiz over again with two different questions. And apparently, I’ve become quite the “pleaser” since I left school (when I was in high school, I didn’t care so much about grades or homework. I didn’t care if I got a single homework assignment right. Hell, as long as my homework didn’t spontaneously burst into flames or mow down my fellow classmates with an AK-47 I was happy). I didn’t just want to finish my online traffic course with a passing grade, I wanted to be the best damned student the Los Angeles Metropolitan Court has ever seen!

And I almost was.

I missed 2 questions in the final exam (there were 50 questions here, most of which I had already answered in the quizzes). And one of them was because I was too lazy to read the question properly. The other I just missed. But I don’t remember what the questions were (in case you were wondering).

So I got a 96% on my traffic school final exam. And I have to tell you that I’m a little disappointed. I don’t know why.

Maybe, deep down, a part of me wanted to do so well on the course so that when the Met Courthouse clerk opened my certificate, he would instantly know that they had made a mistake by giving me a ticket in the first place. He would then proceed to march upstairs to the judges chambers and demand that my test be looked at by the highest seated judge in the building. The judge would say something like “I’m sorry, who the hell are you to demand that I look at anything?! You’re just a clerk!”

The clerk would narrow his eyes, and in a dusky voice growl back “You’re sorry alright. You’re low, pal. Real low. You couldn’t get lower if you were sitting on one of those little chairs they have in kindergarten the center of the Earth...while having sex with Paris Hilton.”

The Judge would gasp.

With a flourish of fanfare from unseen trumpeters, the Clerk would whip my test results from behind his back (he had been keeping them there, waiting for a dramatic moment to present them. A moment like this). “You should see this man’s traffic school test. It’s outstanding! Obviously there has been a miscarriage of justice here. No man who scores this highly could possibly have broken any of our EARTHLY traffic laws. A man who scores this highly on anything must have an awareness of the universe seconded only to God. I’ve lost faith in the system, now what are you going to do about it, Judge?!”

And the Judge would just sit there, knowing that he had made a mistake. His entire career had been a mistake. Knowing that it wasn’t justice that drove him, but rather power. He would then realize that his life up until this point had been one great big lie.

And the clerk would quit his job, find a great girlfriend, move into a rent controlled apartment in Santa Monica, the kind you only hear about in tales told by employees at convalescent homes, and he would become the biggest man in Los Angeles. Because…why not? He deserves it. For being such an observant clerk.

Man, that would be cool.

Fun Fact: If you’re traveling on a one-lane mountain road and another car approaches you in the opposite direction, but there’s no room to pass, the car that’s facing downhill must back up until they reach a spot in the road where both cars can safely get around each other.

Why? Because it’s safer to reverse uphill. That’s why.


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