Bad Boy!

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by Eric Peters EricPetersAutos.com

Recently by Eric Peters: Breaking Through

When I leave my gym, there’s a red light at the intersection that literally takes five minutes to change. Often, it will skip the green arrow for people waiting to make a left turn from the side street (that’s me). You are supposed to wait for the next cycle. Another five minutes away. I routinely “run” (that is, ignore) this light. With my V1 radar detector on to screen for road tax collectors, I make sure the traffic is clear in either direction and just… go.

I mean, why not?

There is no reason not to – other than deferring to the conditioning that tells you to obey.

If there is clearly no traffic coming, if it is therefore objectively safe to proceed, why just sit there like a well-trained German Shepard? Unless that’s what we’re supposed to be, of course.

Which of course, we are supposed to be – and punished if we’re not.

If a road tax collector happens to see me perform this maneuver, he will “cite” me not for causing any harm but rather for my failure to …. sit there like a well-trained German Shepard. Because I did not obey my master’s voice. It will actually state this explicitly on the form itself and later, in court – though not using the same phraseology. The “defendant” – aka, the German Shepard – will be scolded for having done Thus and So against the strictures of the traffic code. Which is the equivalent, in two-legged terms, of being told bad boy! and swatted across the snout for climbing onto the sofa.

Are you sick of being swatted across the snout by your master?

I am, too.

Which is why I routinely ignore his “voice” – his edicts and commands. His rules and regulations. As much as I can possibly get away with. For two reasons:

First – for the almost erotic satisfaction that comes from getting away with it. It is like successfully kicking a bully in the nuts. It feels good to be bad – when “bad” is nothing more than exercising your own mind’s judgment rather than shutting it off in deference to the judgment (often arbitrary, not infrequently ridiculous) of faceless others who presume they know best, that you are an idiot – and must be treated accordingly. As Seinfeld once put it, Who are these people?

And why must we fear and obey them?

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Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.

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