NASTYCAR

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(Note: To save online readers the trouble of posting derisive comments after this column, we have inserted within the column itself the sort of things the hecklers are likely to say. So go ahead and take the day off, you troublemakers, you.)

Since NASCAR is the fastest-growing sport in America and has hundreds of thousands of fans, the day will probably come when I will have to take it seriously. That day has not yet arrived. (When will the day arrive that you can write?)

I have no idea what the NASCAR craze is all about. (That’s because you’re stupid and you can’t write!) These are rednecks who drive cars really fast in a big circle, right? Is that it? Have I missed something? Have I unfairly minimized all that NASCAR entails?

There will be complaints over my calling NASCAR drivers “rednecks,” and someone will point out that many drivers have college degrees and like to cure cancer in their spare time, and therefore cannot be rednecks. You will see that my logic is airtight, however, for I define a redneck as anyone who drives for NASCAR. (How dare you call NASCAR drivers rednecks! Many of them have college degrees, you know.)

I recall attending an auto race when I was young, but I don’t remember anything about it. In fact, I will probably delete this paragraph before the column is published. (Ha ha, you dummy, you said you were going to delete the paragraph, but then you forgot to do it! Doesn’t anybody edit this column?)

The odd thing about my skepticism toward NASCAR is that in actual practice, I am strongly in favor of driving fast. Nearly every day, I wish our freeways were like the autobahn in Germany, where there is no speed limit. (Nearly every day we wish you were IN Germany, so we wouldn’t have to read your stupid column!) Would there be more accidents? Probably. Would I personally be involved in more than one a year? Probably not. So the impact is negligible. (Maybe we’d get lucky and you’d die in the first accident so we wouldn’t have to read your stupid column anymore!)

I also wish all cars were equipped with phones, and that the licence plate number were the phone number. That way, you could call people and say, “Hi, I’m right behind you. I noticed you’re only going 55 and you’re in the fast lane. Is everything all right? Do you need me to summon help?” Old people, it goes without saying, would have 1-800 numbers. (More rudeness from the guy with the stupid column that we have to read!)

But I have drifted far afield of my main point, which is that NASCAR perplexes me. (It perplexes me how someone could write such a terrible column!) Or perhaps I am not so far off the point after all: I enjoy driving fast, and I do it often. Where, then, is the “sport” in watching others do it? I think if a feat can be accomplished by me — the least athletic person in the world — then it is probably not going to be very entertaining to watch, since by definition it is something easy and probably involves sitting down. (It’s true: You write this stupid column, and we have to read it, and it’s not very entertaining to read.)

You know what would make NASCAR more interesting? I mean aside from the obvious solution, which is to have more crashes. (The solution is to have more crashes, but for YOU to be in them!) They should make the driving conditions more like real life. Sure, they’re driving 200 mph, which probably takes concentration. But the track is predictable. Put in some potholes, some construction barriers, some old people driving really slow — no more than 110 mph — in the fast lane. That, my friends, is entertainment. (Maybe, but this column isn’t! Why does the Herald keep printing it? Does anyone even read it?)

This is something I'd wanted to try for quite some time: heckling myself. It is an idea born of real life, where the Web comments people posted had become so ingrained in me that often, as I was writing a column, I was imagining what the responses would be to each individual sentence. It's an irritating distraction; it's rather stifling to the creative process to hear your critics while you're creating.

The reason I chose this column to try it was simple: I didn't have enough NASCAR material to fill a column, nor were any of my observations particularly noteworthy. With the interjections, though, the column was fleshed out and had more substance to it.

You'll notice I did not make fun of the poor spelling and grammar of comment-posters. I had mocked this before -- as recently as in the previous column -- and it did not suit my purposes here to mock it again. I wanted to address a few of the things people say -- notably the perplexing implication that someone is MAKING them read the column twice a week -- and not the way they say them.

I fear the irony of the last line -- "Does anyone even read it?" -- will be lost on some readers. To me, it's a wonderfully stupid question, because the answer is, "Well, yes. You do."

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