Things Not Recommended for a Mini-Van

After a week's worth of flight time in the new vehicle, I've compiled a comprehensive list of recommendations for driving a mini-van. I do this because, one, I care. And two, I have lost my sense of dignity. As such, I recommend you heed this advice in earnest.

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE...

1. Take a trip to a remote Mexican village and drive around real slow with the doors open while shouting, "Who wants a ride to opportunity?!" in a bullhorn. The mini-van may have 17 cup-holders but it will not fit the corresponding number of eager, sun-hardened immigrants anxious to mow your lawn. Seriously, though, I felt somewhat bad for driving through the boarder gate at 87 mph while my passengers' limbs were hanging out. I can only imagine the difficulty in pushing a lawnmower around without the use of one or more of your limbs.

2. Pretend to re-enact the German's blitzkrieg tank assault on Poland, but while in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Although professional welfare recipients, plump from years of Snicker-Bar consumption and redneck families dressed in coordinated hunting gear, together, make for a convincing group of terrified civilians running from the terror of the merciless Hun invader, those golf carts driven by the parking lot rent-a-cops are faster than you think. Once 30 or so swarm you, the war's over.

3. While shirt-less, hang out of the sun roof in the middle of the day and rub your nipples in a suggestive fashion as you motor on down the road. Aside from the obvious, it's very hard to drive with your feet, not to mention there's literally no explanation that will persuade cops they shouldn't give you a ticket. (I've got 3 court dates from this stunt alone).

4. Mini-vans make poor substitutes for the Batmobile. You get some really funny looks from fellow commuters as you throw Bat-a-rangs at their windows while you wait for the light to change. At first I thought it was the hooded cowl, cape and tights, but no, it was the mini-van. Even with those cool, automatic sliding doors, the van eventually made me feel self-conscious and I went home.

5. Just because it's a Japanese manufactured vehicle; thus, superior in every way, you shouldn't drive to every Ford, Chevy and Dodge dealership, wait for the salesman to approach so you can scream, "YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF FOR WHAT YOU'RE DOING TO AMERICA!" then drive off to the next car lot to repeat the whole scene all over again. I could only do this about 10 or 12 times as I started to get embarrassed watching from my rear-view mirror as they crumple onto their knees, weeping into their hands. I mean, have a heart already.

6. Wearing your most authentic cowboy outfit complete with hat and fully operational lasso, attend some large public event like a Texans football game or the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show. As all 6 bazillion vehicles attempt to exit the parking lot simultaneously, pop up from the sunroof and start swinging that lasso around in the air while busting out with phrases like, "Yee haw! Yippie Tie Yay!" and "Get along there lil' doggies!" Try to have a long repertoire of cowboy-inspired phrases or the other drivers won't respect you as believable. If you can, get a friend to drive and while you give directions so as to herd the other vehicles in any direction you see fit... oh, and hope that lighting doesn't spook them to stampede.

7. Drive as fast as you can down the freeway until you get pulled over by the police. When they ask you just what in the hell did you think that you were doing, respond indignantly with, "What?! This is the Millennium Falcon, the fastest ship in the galaxy - it did the Kessel Run in 9 parsecs!" When the cop opens his mouth to speak, cue your friend (who should be wearing a wookie costume) in the back seat to appear behind you with a long bellowing roar. Then say, "Your right, Chewy, he does look like a scruffy, nerf herder." If the cop doesn't just walk away, then tell him you're going to file a motion in the Galactic Senate requesting that Jedis be immediately dispatched to police headquarters for "aggressive negotiations."

8. Stand next to your mini-van while at Toy-R-Us. When kids and parents walk by, dramatically flop onto the hood, extending your arms, embarrassing the van in a hug. Using your best, tear-filled voice cry, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for rescuing me from the Decepticons! I love you, Optimus Prime! I want to have your mini-mini-van children!" If in the off-chance anyone joins you in extending their affections to your vehicle, get up in their face and challenge them with, "Hey, freak! This one's mine. Go find love somewhere else, you sicko!"

9. Go to a pubic high school, and drive around the parking lot slowly. When you see a groups of girls hanging out, drive over and in your best "cool-guy" voice ask them if they like ice cream. JEEZ! Kids these days are soooooo immature - haven't they ever heard of a "joke?" Apparently, the SWAT Team hasn't either. Tazers tickle.

And my final and biggest warning of what not to do in a mini-van...

10. Find the nearest public recreational park - one with lots of soccer fields. On game day when every field is packed full of kids and spectators, drive recklessly through the crowd, horn blaring, and dirt flying, until you reach center field at which point, wrench the steering wheel hard right so as to execute the perfect "cookie" with your van. Then, jump out and accusingly yell to the stunned on-lookers, "YOU HYPOCRITES!!! THE TERM 'SOCCER MOM' ISN'T EXCLUSIVE TO WOMEN! GENDER STEREOTYPING IS A HATE CRIME!" Then jump back in the van and drive like hell to the closest Hooters Family Restaurant.

Are these all fun? Yes. Recommended? No.

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