Wouldn’t it be amazing if we came up with a new form of punishment for chronically aggressive drivers which forced them to walk the same way they drive, no matter what the consequences? I’m not talking about speeding. That has its own clear set of rules enforced by speed traps, radar guns, speed limits, etc. We’re all set there. Plus, we can’t expect speed demons to run as fast as their cars hurl them down the road.
I’m talking about all that other selfish, in-your-face, fuck-you-buddy aggression like tail-gating, blowing through stop signs and cutting people off. I’m talking about that childish behavior most people only exhibit when they’re safely wrapped in two tons of automobile. That car provides a lot of protection from retribution. That security blanket creates a lot of bravery these assholes wouldn’t otherwise display. If these drivers enrage some murderous psycho, they can just hide in their car like a turtle in its shell. But…What if that was all stripped away? Imagine their bravery disintegrating once the turtle has no shell, its frail little body is exposed. What effect would this have on the psyche of an aggressive asshole?
I don’t know the best way to prove someone has a chronic issue with aggressive driving of this type. But, let’s just say that an asshole…like that pickup truck-driving skinhead we’ve all met…yeah, him for example…let’s imagine he gets “dinged” by other drivers turning in just enough dashcam video of him cutting people off & flipping them the bird. The case has been made thanks to overwhelming evidence provided by his fellow citizens. He gets a court summons in the mail. The tape is reviewed. Yep, it’s confirmed, you’re a complete and total asshole buddy. The gavel comes down. Guilty. Mr. Wannabe Vin Diesel gets a heavy fine and is sentenced to 6 months of walking the way he drives, no matter what.
If Mr. Faux Vin Diesel refuses, his only alternative is a minimum of 2 year’s hard labor…toiling away at…you guessed it…building roads. Quaint, safe roads with school zones, lots of speed bumps, stop signs, cross walks & flower beds right down the middle. The chain gang is supervised by gold minivan-driving mommies and cautious old ladies. That’s hard time to serve for a guy like him. It’s too humiliating for his fragile ego to withstand. So, Mr. I-wish-I-was-Dominic-Toretto accepts the 6 months of walking the same asshole way he drives. He’s appointed a court supervisor & must also wear a bodycam to ensure he can’t cheat on this program one bit. The sentence begins.
He is now officially enrolled in the Aggression Rehabilitation System Obligatory Listing, or ARSOL. Enrollees will be called ARSOL’s for short. Everyone can quickly grasp what an ARSOL is all about, which helps greatly with building program awareness in the community. His car is affixed with a large sticker displaying a scarlet letter “A” to identify him as an ARSOL. But, when no longer in his car, and he’s walking the streets, there’s nothing to identify him as an ARSOL other than his uniquely bad behavior.
For the next six months, regardless of the risks or consequences, our friend needs to approach a line for movie tickets, the airport ticket counter, the DMV or even the buffet at a wedding…exactly as he did behind the wheel before he got busted. He must slowly cruise along the line like he has no intention of joining, then suddenly jump in when he sees the slightest gap. He then stares firmly off to the side, refusing to make eye contact, arms folded tightly across his chest, clenched jaw belying his casual pretense of “What? I didn’t do anything. Just drivin’ here.” Exactly what you would expect from an ARSOL.
If anyone in line complains in any way (any verbal honk or beep whatsoever) he quickly flips the bird over his shoulder without even looking back. He’s also sure to flex his bird-flipping arm as hard as he can, regardless of whether there’s anything worth flexing or not. If the complaint behind him gets any louder, the flipped bird clearly not having done its job, he gestures a parody of the shadow puppet quacking duck “wa wa wa” to say “whatev…can’t hear your noise. Take it bitch.” He still doesn’t look behind him, just as if he were safely encased in those two tons of steel, rubber & plastic.
Now, if that person behind him barking complaints should happen to be a short-fused mixed martial arts fighter on his first date with a girl he really wants to impress…and he only knows so many ways to impress…then the ARSOL gets a vicious public beating. Small children will casually step over his mangled body when it’s over. Oh well. So be it.
Anyone who regularly insults and further provokes random people is eventually going to detonate a bomb of rage. That rage could be manifested in the form of a dozen high school girls ferociously attacking him from all sides like piranhas…or perhaps one solid, swinging-for-the fences whack to his head from old man’s cane. Danger is all around the ARSOL in many forms and he has no protection. He quickly learns there are brutal consequences for being an ARSOL. As the months of his sentence wear on…with retribution at McDonald’s to CostCo to his busy local bar on a Friday night to the amusement park with his kids…he might be cured of a wide range of ARSOLishness through repeted aversion therapy.
Aside from the threat of constantly being beaten senseless in public for all to see, our friend could face many other tough social repercussions. In his office lobby waiting with coworkers for the elevator…as the doors open to let other people out, and his group begins to shuffle forward…he cuts in front of them so they all need to pull up to a full stop. Our friend jumps on just as the doors close, flipping the bird over his shoulder. Now they all know they work with a complete and total ARSOL, and the word gets around fast. He will be eating lunch alone for the rest of his career. And he can forget about that promotion.
Maybe he pulls that same ARSOL move just before a job interview. And, very soon afterwards, he’s looking across a desk at the cut-off victim, answering that famous interview question; “So, tell me about your greatest weakness.” Gulp. Gotta be honest. How best to answer the question? The ARSOL may have many weaknesses. But, the interviewer just witnessed a big one moments ago. Gotta fess up on that. No choice.
“Okay. My greatest weakness. Right. Well, you see I’ve got this passive-aggressive asshole streak whereby I make myself feel better by depriving others of their peace and space. But, I only do this when cloaked in anonymity and encased in the protective shell of my car. I’m basically a shallow coward who watches way too many action movies…I never really grew up…I’m a real selfish prick when I can get away with it…not exactly the team player you’re looking for…uh, but, crap, uh, then you already knew that…soooo…there’s no sense wasting any more of your time…I’ll be going now…oh, but first…sorry, do you validate parking? I need to escape your garage, get back behind the wheel…and continue my ARSOL rehabilitation. I’ve only been an ARSOL for two months. But, it feels like it’s been forever.”
It has been forever, buddy. It has been. You were an ARSOL long before that sticker was ever put on your car.
As the ARSOL skulks out of the office with his head down…past all the staff workers who now know what he’s all about…because the word has gotten around fast…they’re all mulling over the same thought: The fact that these ARSOL’s didn’t previously walk the way they drive suggests that fear of retribution was the only ingredient missing to cure them of their chronic ARSOLery. They just needed to be ripped out of their shell and exposed to the real fear of physical harm, public shame and loss of opportunity. The effect on these AROL’s is dramatic. Why had we never thought of this before? Thank goodness for the ARSOL program. Thank goodness it is here to stay. But just one question…why is the sentence only six months?