Saturday, September 3, 2011

Road Rage Refined

The following post is rated "R" for excessive use of unsavory language. Parents are cautioned never to use any of these language examples when they are in the car with their children.

Scott McLatchy--"A Dark Rage" (mp3)

OK, I think I've got it down to a science.

Sure, when that guy cuts in front of you, when that woman is driving way too slow in the fast lane, when some idiot speeds up and rushes toward you because he sees you're trying to make a left hand turn, you lose all rational thought and slip into blind anger. But with a little bit of planning, with some mental training and the pre-planting of a mantra, you can equip yourself with a quite rational, measured response to all of the assholes who don't follow the basic rules of road courtesy.

First of all, and, really, last of all, there's only one rule: You only need one word. I'll admit, I've been kind of a free-styler in the past, just as likely to yell, "Hey, fuckface, way to come into my lane and slow down!" as I am to "Yo, shitbreath, I'm on cruise control, what's your excuse?" or "Really, dickwad, really?" Yeah, my language could really go all over the place. And uncontrolled language can get you in trouble. I'll vouch for that. You need some refinement to get control of the situation.

Want to know my secret? It's "douche." Yep. "Douche" is the magic word. I can't quite remember how or where or when I settled on it, but I've been happy ever since.

Wikipedia reminds us that "[d]ouche usually refers to vaginal irrigation, the rinsing of the vagina," but the Urban Dictionary embellishes that definition: "a word to describe an individual who has shown themself to be very brainless in one way or another, thus comparing them to the cleansing product for vaginas."

I apologize to my sisters who see this word choice as detrimental or demeaning to women. We simply don't have a similar product.

But, at least, everyone can take pleasure in the fact when you unleash "douche" on some hapless fool, you are working the double-entendre, you are tossing out a word has layers of subtlety and meaning. Yes, there is contentment in that knowledge. He or she can't know whether you are referring to an ordinary household product or whether you are calling him or her a knucklehead.

Maybe "douche" is the new "gay"? Generalized, non-specific, insulting, but no longer reflecting its previous meaning.

I mean, if you call someone "dickbreath," depending on persuasions and proclivities, he or she might take offense. Or they may get all embarassed and wonder, 'Did I forget to brush my teeth? How can he know that?' "Asswipe," another favorite of my old self, also is likely to provoke a negative reaction. There's something coarse about it. Yelling "toilet paper" would probably be nicer. I mean, given the basic passive-aggressiveness of road rage anyway, the last thing you want is to say something that's going to amp the other person up so that you have to amp it up even more than their ampage, which they then try to ratchet even higher. And so on.

One time in Camden, Maine, at the junction of the most evil traffic creation anywhere, the Flashing Yellow/Flashing Red Intersection, I encountered a man who, while I had the flashing yellow, pulled out in front of me, which prompted a lengthy honk from me and a subsequent finger-wagging from him, which, in turn, provoked me to yell so that he could read my lips, "I'm not the one who's wrong, you're the one who's fucking wrong!" which inspired him to turn around as soon as possible and chase me, my pregnant wife, and young child all over town in hopes of kicking my ass. Not my best day. I got outraged big time. And when I finally pulled over, when the guy finally caught up with me, I began to put down my window to try to reason with someone who had reversed direction and followed me all over that quaint summer vacation town, my wife told me I was a complete idiot and to get us the hell out of there. I obliged, but she didn't have to get so angry about it.

The beauty of "douche" is that no one can even tell that you're saying it. You might as well be saying "dude" or just about anything else that doesn't require much movement from the lips. You can look at them, you can even smile at them, while saying "douche" and even if they can figure it out, they can't possibly know which definition you are using.

Of course, the other beauty of the word is its flexibility. It can, literally, fill almost any role in the litany of parts of speech:

"Get over, Douche!" (noun)
"Dude, you're really douching me." (verb)
"Buddy, that was a douche move." (adjective)
"Lady, you are driving really douchely." (adverb)

And since road rage is all about feeling superior--

I'm a better driver than you, I never would have done that, I can't believe you thought that was a good idea, Don't you look to see what's going on around you, Who taught you to drive, You drive like a woman/man/child/alien/ethnic slur

--nothing makes you feel superior like getting control of language in the language control game. Someone cut in front of you and you honk and they give you their middle finger? You are simply amused. You are embarassed for his lack of finesse. Because you have spoken a word which simultaneously put him in their place without his even knowing it, passed judgement on him in a way that gave him no way to respond, gained the upper hand with your windows rolled up and your air-conditioning going, while the air still echoes your self-satisfied pronouncements on anyone who doesn't play the driving game the way you want it played and maybe doesn't even know it. Isn't that what it's all about? Hooray.

Except that what I'm proposing here is 1st degree, pre-meditated road rage, isn't it? What a douche.


stowstepp said...

It's a very good word. Leaves me with the satisfaction in the same way "shit" does. Feels right.

Along those lines, a friend years ago told the story of one day while driving around town with her 2 year old in the back seat, the kid blurts out "Pick a lane, bitch!" She knew she couldn't blame her husband for that one.

Bob said...

That is hilarious. My wife was driving the interstate with my younger daughter back when she was two years old, and as they passed a truck, my daughter said, "Is that the fucker, Mommy?"

rodle said...

Just a spelling question. Do you go with "douchely"? I prefer to drop the L and go with "douchey".

And suddenly I'm tempted to work that word into my football team name.

Bob said...

Rodle, I'll concede that "douchey" sounds better than "douchely," and that I'd rather use it, but what we're talking about here is a grammatical issue: if you substitute "douchey" for "douchely," as in the construction, "Lady, you're driving really douchey," you are, in fact, inserting an adjective into an adverbial situation.

I hope you will agree that we must to maintain societal standards like this, or we will see decline of such.

Road Rage Grammarian

stowstepp said...

Bob, I laughed so hard out loud at your reply I scared my 15 yr old sitting in the room.

troutking said...

My Masshole friends in college used to say "wicked douchey" all the time.

Larry David's dad refers to drivers that offend him as "schmohawks."