Civil Disobedience Lite

I got the new Weaselmobile inspected Friday, and now I’m 100% street legal for the first time in…I don’t know. Twelve years? I’m like, “yeah, go on — pull me over! I’m clean!” My damn papers are never in order. I’d like to say this is a defiant act of civil disobedience. A madcap libertarian thumb in the eye of authority. Truth is, I’m just incredibly lazy and apathetic.

I discovered a secret dangerous for a slacker to know: there’s still a whole lot of play in the steering of this police state…ummm…bus metaphor…thing…of ours. Yes, even in George Bush’s AmeriKKKa, you can still scoff a whole lot of law before they pitch you in Guantanamo. Have you ever driven past a rusty old rattletrap of a hoopty and thought to yourself, “that thing can’t possibly be legal”? You’re right — it probably isn’t.

See, modern America filled with baffled immigrants (legal and otherwise), befuddled old people, rattled addicts, unglued nutballs, muddled drunks and good old-fashioned, home-grown, perfectly natural deeply stupid people. I call these people my posse. A cop looks at us far-goners and what he sees is paperwork and hassle. You wouldn’t believe how often we get a pass.

My life of crime started with the car inspection. I moved here in 1978 from a state that didn’t do car inspections. I never heard of such a thing. When I finally I did hear of such a thing, I called the Department of Transportation.

“Is this an inspection state?” I asked, feeling all good citizen-y about following this up.
“Whu?” said the woman at the Department of Transportation.
“Do you do car inspections in this state?”
“Whu?” said the woman at the Department of Transportation.
“Does this state require cars to undergo an annual safety inspection?”
“Whu?” said the woman at the Department of Transportation.

I hung up. Dammit, I tried. This, my friends, is what Weasel calls a Sign from Above.

After nine years on the lam, I finally got pulled over by a policelady on a Providence sidestreet. She was nice about it, but she started off with totally the wrong question: “Do you know you have no inspection sticker?”

If you are not a GENIUS improvisational liar, there is no good, cop-appeasing answer to this question. Thinking quick, I remembered lessons learned from my friend at the DoT. I said, “oh! Ahhhh…hahaha…mmmm.”

She asked for license and registration. She began to speak very slowly. She said, “do you know what a car inspection is?”

I said, “Ha! Ohhhh…yah. Huh. Yah.” At this point, there is simply no good lie for me and thus she has heard no words of any identifiable language come out of my mouth. She frowns, looks at my license and begins calling me by first name, soothingly. This is probably standard police retard-deflecting procedure. Unfortunately, there was at this time a small but critical typo on my driver’s license. One tiny, insignificant consonant had been switched, transforming my perfectly ordinary given name into a stupid word. Alas, she did not know this and I had forgotten it.

“Now, Stupidword,” she said gently.

Oh, Christ almighty. Caught by surprise, I couldn’t help myself. The MORONLAUGH slipped out. “BAH!!!!” I barked in her face enthusiastically, “no, no, no…hahaha…” Big grin. Hand gestures.

“Now, Stupidword,” she interrupted, patiently, “you take this piece of paper to a gas station, and you say, ‘I want my car inspected,’ and they’ll inspect your car and put a sticker on it saying it’s okay to drive. Do you understand?”

Man, I hope that lady got her Merit Badge in Empathetic Moron-Wrangling. She sure earned it. She didn’t even give me a ticket; just a written warning.

In the 29 years since I phoned Civil Servant Brainiac, I have submitted to inspection six times: thrice automatically after buying new cars and thrice under duress after getting tickets. Inspections are about $25 a year. Tickets are about $50 apiece. I have, therefore, spent $150 in tickets and saved $575 in inspections — not counting what I would’ve had to spend to bring some of my more X-treme shitboxes up to code. Note that the tickets had no effect on my insurance rates, or the math might be very different.

The other tickets were perfunctory and uneventful. Except that last one. Another lady cop pulled me over right in front of my own house. That shouldn’t be allowed, should it? Isn’t that, like, automatic King’s X?

The cats snubbed me for a week.

Now, if our front porch doesn’t run away, and take the back steps with it so I have to sleep on the doormat, I’ll tell you next time how Uncle Wiggily Longears got popped for a car registration seven years out of date and uttered the six words that make any routine traffic stop fun again.


  1. Posted February 3, 2007 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I’ve already caught flak about that impenetrable last paragraph. It was an MST3K gambit: almost no-one will get it, and the few who do will think to themselves, “oh my god, I got that!!” and moronlaugh “BAH!!!” enthusiastically.

    Uncle Wiggily Longears, the nice old gentleman rabbit, was a character created by Howard Garis in a series of bedtimes stories running in the papers from the teens to…something like the fifties. He sets off to seek his fortune and has all kinds of stupid adventures. We had the book collection when I was a kid. Uncle Wiggily almost gets smashed by boulders or eaten by weasels or crushed by the weight of the unbearable ennui of meaningless gray post-modern existence…every damn time. All the episodes end with a cliffhanger, and the final paragraph was always along the lines of “if the icecream cone doesn’t freeze the gonads off the postman making him squeal like a stuck pig, next week I’ll tell you about Uncle Wiggily and the Midget Tranny Hooker.”

    There. And if you don’t know what MST3K is, Google is wasted on the likes of you. Wasted.

  2. Posted February 4, 2007 at 2:08 am | Permalink


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