Thursday, June 04, 2009

Making it mandatory to merge in merge lanes

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Editorial Page

I've got to say, we New Brunswickers are a welcoming lot when it comes to tourists. Even my legendary and self-admitted road rage takes a back seat when I see that the bad driver has out-of-province plates. I'll at least give them the benefit of the doubt when they're doing something like stopping in a merge lane.

Resident New Brunswickers, though, are fair game. If I'm ever elected to public office, I plan on advocating for the permanent installation of snipers at every merge lane in the city. If you slow down unnecessarily, you get a warning shot over the car. Stop, and then all bets are off and you'd better hope the steel plate in your head is bulletproof.

I remember when we were kids and used to cry. My mother would say, "If you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about." This was usually said in frustration after asking for 10 minutes what the problem was and I wasn't able to spit out between sobs that the kid down the street stole one of my dinky cars -- a tragedy of epic proportions when you're only six years old.

Along that same vein of logic, anyone caught stopping in a merge lane will be dealt with severely, i.e. "If you're going to stop, I'll give you a darn good reason to stop!" Bang! Bang!

If for some bizarre reason the authorities don't like my sniper idea, then let me suggest that merge lanes be liberally coated with Teflon or some other slippery substance that prevents people from stopping. "Look, grandpa, the reason why you couldn't stop in the merge lane was because you... weren't... supposed... to. Now, make like a fried egg in a non-stick pan and slide away."

That would solve the problem rather nicely, don't you think? And I suppose it would get me into a lot less trouble than the sniper idea, although you have to admit that armed gunmen at the beginning of every merge lane would make traffic speed up rather nicely.

At the bottom of Shediac Road in Moncton, if you hang a right onto Lewisville Road, there's a merge lane there. This is a drive I take nearly every single day of my life either going to work or running errands on weekends.

The other day, a senior lady (I'm not picking on seniors, but I do find that seniors tend to not understand merge lanes) was stopped dead in her tracks. There was plenty of room and not a lot of traffic. There was no need whatsoever to be completely immobile in the middle of the road waiting. The car behind her stopped. I came up behind that car. I beeped my horn incessantly and eventually we were all forced to drive around her since she refused to move.

As you can probably ascertain by now, the inability of some drivers to properly enter merge lanes is a major annoyance. In fact, I firmly believe that every licensed driver -- regardless of their age -- should be forced to take their driver's exam over every year after the appearance of their first grey hair. In my experience, the more grey hair a person has, the more magically the "Merge" sign turns into a "Stop Here Until You Die" sign.

The exam would not be extensive. It wouldn't add a lot of costs into the system. In fact, it would only take about one minute from start to end. At the office, you would be given a piece of paper with one question on it. "When you enter a merge lane, do you: 1. Slam on the brakes, stop the car, and then wait until Christmas to proceed safely (napping is optional), or; 2. continue driving and signal your intent to turn into the left lane if applicable.

Those who answer correctly, i.e. "2", get their licence back for another year. Those who answer incorrectly, i.e. "1", are sent to an internment camp for an intensive six-month course -- complete with drill sergeants and electric cattle prods -- where they are slowly but surely indoctrinated into the correct way of entering a merge lane.

This may sound like a radical idea, I know. I realize that this idea would be controversial, but as one of the main causes of (my) road rage, I can assure you that it would make the world a much nicer place to live.

Besides, there are already one too many graves in town inscribed with, "Here lies a good man whose only sin was to slam on the brakes while entering a merge lane in front of Brian Cormier."

Laugh not, dear reader. I've done it before and I'll do it again. I know how to make these things look like an accident. I've been brushing up on my crime skills while reading old Scooby-Doo comic books and am pretty sure I've perfected the techniques for covering up my tracks.

Now, as long as some big goofy dog and his pack of friends don't start investigating the crimes, I'll be able to get away with it all.

Speaking of comic books, did you hear the news that the publisher of the Archie series has announced that everyone's favourite teenager will finally choose between Betty and Veronica in the September issue?

Subsequently, the cover art for that issue was released to the media and it showed Archie proposing to Veronica.

Archie fans have been up in arms ever since, with many of them advocating an engagement to the ever-faithful Betty instead of the rich and spoiled Veronica.

Personally, I think the choice is a very easy one.

Archie, my friend, pick whichever one knows what to do when entering a merge lane.

Case closed!


Sarah Butland said...

Brian for Prime Minister!! I'd even vote for you if you weren't Liberal, well, maybe even if you are.

My eyes are tearing up, partly because pregnancy sinuses are brutal but mostly because your article reminds me so much of someone I'm close to. It's so wonderfully written and crazily true, it's no wonder other papers want your brilliance!

Brian Cormier said...

Hehe... thanks, Sarah! And congrats on the baby! :)