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Keeping It Off the Wall
by Ed Donath

$20 Co-pay Includes OV + Roadrage
5/12/04

[Editor’s Note: The current dearth of Champ Car World Series information and publicity hasn’t prevented Ed Donath from finding other injustices to rant about. Hopefully, when the racing season re-activates, Ed will get back on point. On second thought…]

Athens, NY—I just got back from the doctor’s office.

You might remember me writing about my last visit to the family physician when, as I sat for what seemed to be an hour in the waiting area prior to being ushered into Doc’s examination room only to wait for him yet some more, I picked up a sports magazine containing an interview article that included the mean-spirited pontifications of the inheritor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and one of his undera-Cheeving henchmen.

While those particular comments did not distort the politics of post-split open-wheel racing, I was, nonetheless, aggravated by disparaging remarks they made about perhaps the greatest driver that their one-dimensional series will ever know—Tony Stewart.

Of course, at the precise moment that I finished reading the incendiary remarks, the nurse summoned me for my pre-exam blood pressure check. Puzzled, she quickly went to her back-up sphygmomanometer for a second reading. She must have come to the conclusion that the primary arm squeezer had gone on the fritz because my first readings were so uncharacteristically high.

But today’s office visit had nothing to do with blood pressure issues. This trip was strictly limited to cryogenic surgery for common hand warts.

Do you know why they call it cry-ogenic surgery? Because each time the doctor touches that swab coated with super-frozen liquid nitrogen to a wart it makes you want to start bawling like a baby.

Anyway, recalling how bent out of shape I became the last time I was in that waiting room, I resolved to stick with publications that deal with no issues whatsoever; magazines that are pure fluff from cover-to-cover. I spotted a copy of Automobile in the rack and grabbed it before one of the other men in the office realized that there was at least one alternative to Shape, Glamour, and some medical journals.

Even the reviews in Automobile aren’t what you would call true criticisms of the performance, styling, comfort, and reliability of the new cars that its staff test-drives. The closest that slippery-slick photo book ever gets to controversy is when one of its editors casts political correctness to the wind and goes off over a faux pas like:

“The inn we visited during our weekend tour of Big Sur country in the latest Lexoid-Beemazoid was gauche enough to serve Chardonnay at room temperature during the Friday evening yuppie Car Guys’ cheese tasting party. How are we supposed to rate luxo-sedans after a night like that?”

After reading the entire March 2002 edition of Automobile in less than three minutes (I shoulda quit while I was ahead) I opted for an encore flip-through. As I mindlessly checked the ads I discovered a most offensive advertisement—especially in light of Automobile considering itself a car enthusiasts’ publication—on pages eight and nine:

You can go 130 mph.
You can have your head start.
You can off-road like a crazed woodchuck.
And you’re still guaranteed the pleasure of meeting
Corporal Michael Powell, Maryland State Police.
The law. On the wings of Goodyear.

On the opposite page, appearing very tall despite assuming an at-ease pose was the photo of a mean-looking trooper standing in front of his Goodyear-shod Crown Vickie. Trooper Powell is fully belted and bandoleroed and sports a perfectly pressed dark full dress uniform topped by—what else—a light gray Smokey Bear hat.

What, exactly, do you think Corporal Powell would say after completing an exhausting, adrenalized high-speed chase that has taken him all the way from behind an Interstate overpass abutment to chasing you for perhaps a half-mile until he finally forces you to the side of the road where you surrender, cast down your weapons, and hand over your license?

“Do you know why I stopped you, Edward?”

“Well, Sir, I’d like to believe that it was merely to show me those nifty Eagles on your Crown Vic that were donated to your department by Goodyear so they could get some PR mileage out of their dedicated public service, but I have a sneaking suspicion that there might be another reason.”

“Correct, Edward. If you will turn around and glance at the dashboard of my cruiser you will notice a brand new KA-11 radar gun and its accessory software package—donated to the Maryland State Police by GEICO Insurance Company. That extremely accurate and recently calibrated device registered an unacceptable reading as you passed my checkpoint at Mile Marker #97 back there by the turn-around a few moments ago.”

“Kinda like when the nurse took my blood pressure right after I finished reading Cheever’s slam of the Rushville Rocket,” I mumbled.

“What’s that Edward?”

“Sorry, nothing Sir. I’m just a bit nervous over meeting a big magazine celeb like you.”

“That’s understandable, Edward. By the way, what do you think of this Mont Blanc precision writing instrument that I will be using to fill out your speeding citation? Office Max donated one of these super-pens to each of MSP’s top-50 ticket writers last month.”

“Is there some item that I could offer to donate to the Maryland State Police for some PR consideration?”

“No, Edward. Simply remit $125 with your copy of this citation within 30 days and your name will be added to our ever-growing list of contributors.”

“Something’s not right here,” I thought to myself as Doc peeked into the waiting room to motion me into the exam room for my cryosurgery session.

“My co-pay here is only 20 bucks. Can you imagine how much the pharmaceutical companies donate to keep it that low?”

Copyright © 2004 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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