Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Not to Mention Macho by Eric Beeny

by Eric Beeny

With the energy and economic crises circling like vultures overhead, and our addiction to oil, our thoughts gravitate to wherever the next drop is coming from.

But there seems to be an issue about vehicles themselves we’ve completely ignored during the evolution of these horseless carriages.

That is, if it is really against the law, if the police who enforce the law or the legislators who write the law don’t want people to speed in their cars, wouldn’t it be illegal for car companies to manufacture automobiles capable of reaching even the highest speed limits, let alone speedometers with a top velocity of 180 mph?

It’s virtually impossible to get into a car, look at the speedometer and not think, “Potential.”

Maybe the government just wants our money, and it’s just another conspiracy theory to drop into the sharps container of used needles.

Maybe taxes just aren’t enough sometimes.

And whoever’s lobbying for the car companies, they also contribute to pumping out cars capable of breaking the law.

If we civilians get caught speeding, and get a ticket, we’re buying a lesson on not breaking a law those enforcing it actually want broken (as, after all, the police also have quotas they need to meet).

But speed is also a macho thing.

That, and guns.

NASCAR wouldn’t exist without that Alpha-male imperative to get somewhere faster than everyone else around them.

It’s a heritage passed down from father to son, and that aura of rampant nepotism in NASCAR speaks to the pyro-technician in all of us, hoping for those magnificent 200 mph explosions, praying for them, even, in their NASCAR prayer circles.

But giving us that option on city streets and thruways, with the vague and ominous threat of minor consequence, it’s like God giving us free will to not believe in him, then sending us to hell because we don’t.

It’s like the NRA claiming the Constitution states we should have semi-automatic weapons but, no, we’re not contractually obligated to fire them blindly into a crowd of people eating sugar waffles in a food court at the Walden Galleria mall.

It takes time to get places, with all the constraints we as a society place upon ourselves, and sometimes we just lose track of time.

Speeding is how the average person copes with that loss.

If you’re on your way to work, chances are you’re working to own a car you need to get you to work, to pay the electric bill so your alarm clock will wake you up for work.

Then again, with the energy crisis, if there isn’t any gas left maybe we won’t have to go to work at all, and by that point I sure hope you’ve had time to wait the few days it takes for the background check so you can get that gun to secure the final rations of food you managed to hoard before spending the last of your savings on a gun.

Author bio:

Eric Beeny’s poems and stories have appeared in The 2nd Hand, Abjective, Corduroy Mtn., elimae, Dogmatika, Dogzplot, HazMat Review, Main Street Rag, Quercus Review, Word Riot, and others. He’s a contributing editor for Gold Wake Press. His blog is Dead End on Progressive Ave. at Eric Beeny.

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