Monday, July 16, 2007

Dented Pride

I pride myself on being an observant sort of man. Especially when driving. Probably got it from my Dad. I remember riding to work with him as a boy in his big brown car when I noticed he was driving in excess of the posted speed limit. Like anyone wouldn't, Dad didn't appreciate being chided, especially from a whippersnapper 12 year old, so he calmly eased up on the pedal and said, 'You're an observant sort of boy, that's good son.'

I think about his nuggets of appreciation often, and I remind him of some of them when we get together. Even today, in the interest of keeping my wits about me, I practice being observant, swiveling my noggin around like a bobble-head doll until it drives my wife to comment. 'What....are you looking at,' she'll say, and I happily point out three of four interesting things that we were in the process of passing on the road.

For the record, my accident rate is superb, having only backed into someone’s car on a couple of occasions. Once at the meat market and another time at the bank. Both times, it is my contention that the lady snuck up on me, wheedling up to within inches of my bumper just as I was backing out. I contend further that the lady might have made note of the big white back-up lights that come on whenever anyone is backing up a modern car. Too bad, the insurance companies don't see it this way.

I believe that there is a phenomenon surrounding those of us on the road these days and I aim to be the first to notice it publicly and thereby coin the phrase that it should forever forth be known by. One version of the phenomenon is this; You are driving along minding your business and you come to a stop sign. At the stop sign there is an automobile that has arrived at his or her side of the intersection at nearly the same time as you.
You peer at each other, straining for a second or two to discern the other's intent and then you ease onto the gas.

As you enter the intersection, your counterpart is also entering along with you. Alarmed, you do one of two things- You either hit the brake or you hit the gas pedal, your opponent does the same and somehow, hopefully, you jostle past each other without coming metal to metal. But as you do you notice something about your new pal's car.

He or she has a big, nasty dent in exactly the place where they might have contacted your bumper if you hadn't been so lucky. You marvel at this odd coincidence, and continue on your way, but it registers in your mind. At least it does in mine. I think a happenstance like this deserves a name. I racked myself for catchy phrases and came up with a few.

Evi-dent was my first pick. It's a dent and the poor driving skills of the car's owner is evidenced right there. Not entirely happy with this, I forged on coming up with Intent-a-dent, which is just how it sounds, it’s a dent and the driver’s intent could have been collision, but Crunch Hunch reminds me of some sort of snack food.

No Brake Mistake was a bit clumsy, and Smash Rash sounds too much like a punk band, so I finally settled on Dentifestation, which I think says it all more elegantly. I'm sure other people notice this from time to time, but now that I've pinned a name on it, I'm confident that I'll always be referred to as the guy who coined the term ‘Dentifestations’.