By Bill English
HOW LONG WILL IT BE before one of them goes completely berserk? That haunting thought crossed my mind as a massive black tire rolled up next to me at a stoplight. The wheel was taller than my Toyota and proudly wore the white letters we now associate with a fiery death.
As I sat in the dark shadow of the Explorer, I checked its Firestones for the first hint of shredding.
The people behind the tinted glass stared straight ahead. They knew they were doomed. Ford had screwed them with an SUV that flipped faster than a dollar pancake. On-road, off-road, disaster was all around. Lately you see more and more Explorers by the side of the road with "For Sale" signs plastered all over them. What are these people thinking? I'll pass the death on to some hapless fool who never picks up a paper or watches the evening news?
Best offer takes calamity?
These vehicles should be removed from the road, and Ford and Firestone should pick up the tab. Instead, each is blaming the other, and you've got monthlong waits before you can get replacement tires.
The frustration is building. Any day now it's bound to happen. Most SUV drivers are good people. Rock-solid Americans. But it won't be long before a soccer mom loses it. Perhaps she'll be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic out on 101 when it suddenly dawns on her that Detroit is trying to kill her children. She'll look around her Explorer and see nothing but a hearse. That's when mom will snap. Just like that.
And, brother, you'd better hope you and your loved ones are nowhere in the vicinity when she goes ballistic. A righteous female rage will fill her heart. Why did her husband insist on this piece of crap? They never went off-road. It was all a scam. Now she was a joke, and everybody was staring at her with disdain.
In a brilliant flash of enlightenment she'll know exactly what to do. Slamming it into four-wheel drive, she'll start climbing over the cars in front of her. With the heady glee of the newly insane, she'll crush and mangle everything in her path.
It will be the O. J. run for freedom revisited. Helicopter shots of the soccer mom climbing over traffic will become part of the American consciousness. Once again America will have driven one of its own insane.
Bill English of Kenwood is the author of two books on baseball.
From the October 12-18, 2000 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.