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The drivers in your area are the worst drivers in the world!

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Hi! I live in _____________________ [insert name of miserable god-forsaken place here]. As part of my [miserable god-forsaken life] I have to drive through/to [choose one] ___________________ [insert name of another miserable god-forsaken place here]. Can I just tell you that the drivers in [2nd miserable god-forsaken place] are the worst drivers on the entire planet! They really are. All of us in [god-forsaken place #1] comment on it. What we in [god-forsaken place #1] want to know is why are these assholes from [place #2] such terrrible fucking drivers? Honestly, it's amazing. What accounts for this?

Hello, complaining commuter and welcome May I just say that I 100% agree with you. I have/have not [choose one] been to [whatever miserable places you are talking about] and I can certainly tell you that I have experienced firsthand/heard about the amazingly bad drivers in [whatever damn place we are talking about]. The drivers in [Paris, Boston, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Italy, New York, Texas, your town] are among the worst in the world and simply defy imagination! I am certain that if you moved to [Jupiter], your commuting/driving problems would be solved and you would experience the driving courtesy you expect and so richly deserve.

In the meantime however, we simply want to complain, analyze, categorize, and insult people. Every person of even modest intelligence knows instinctively that the correct ways to deal with the immense aggravation caused in daily life by other drivers consists mainly of complaining and insulting people with the occasional fistfight or exchange of gunfire thrown in to spice things up.

You can do these two things on your own, though, and already are, (and may I just mention as an aside how truly talented you are at both, practice has certainly paid off for you in this regard!) so we are going to concentrate on analyzing and categorizing and commenting, insulting people, and generally wasting time. This is our skill set at and we are making use of it as usual.

Okey doke. There are 5 brief and extremely analytical reasons why the drivers in your area suck so bad. The one you are most interested in is the last one of course because that's just how life is. The things you really want are always off in the distance while the things you don't care that much about are parked on your front lawn and won't leave. But you have a mouse and can click to the end if you want, so no biggie. All right - without further ado, here are the 5 analytical reasons.

Analytical Reason #1: People are Stupid and Insane

Analytical Reason #2: You are Not a Good Driver

Analytical Reason #3: Driving is a Miracle of Technical Achievement and Sheer Exhilaration

Analytical Reason #4: Which Could Very Well Lead To Your Gruesome Death!

Analytical Reason #5: Every Region Favors Its Own Method of Suicide

That was easy. And although it all sounds plausible, and although you already know everything I'm going to say, you still want to read about it anyway, because reading about bad drivers is almost like complaining about them and as we already saw, everyone knows this is the only sensible way to handle their existence. So let's complain away!

Analytical Reason #1: People are Stupid and Insane.

All right, you already know this, but there is simply no fun in knowing it unless we prove it logically. So let's do that.

Step #1: Get a picture in your mind or idea in your head of what you think the median level of intelligence is throughout your town, city, province, state, nation, continent, or planet. Just whatever you think it is.

Step #2: Realize to your absolute horror that fully 50% (50%! one half!) of the people in the area are even stupider than that!

That's what a median is. It's the point at which exactly one half of the people are worse than that at whatever it is. This ironclad statistical rule has a big effect on your driving experience. And it's very difficult for your brain to process.

You see, in most of areas of your life, you are blithely unaware of this rule. The normal human tendency is to self-select the groups you are involved with to more or less match your own egocentric, comfort-loving, familiarity-seeking self. In other words, you attempt to hang out with people that are more or less at your level. Maybe a little bit higher if you are an ambitious social climber, maybe a little less if you are threatened by competition. But pretty much on your level.

Your friends are on your level, your magazines, your TV shows, your websites, your neighbors, your associates, your political party, your whatever the fuck. And since you do your best to hang out with people on your level, you are completely unaware that fully 50% of the people in the world are worse than the median in every single activity human beings engage in, everwhere.

Driving, however, is one area of life where you cannot self-select to match your own level. Almost everyone drives! Furthermore, anyone who is allowed to drive will (and some who aren't will too) and even more shocking - they can drive on the same streets and highways you do! This completely unexpected turn of events leaves your brain filled with shock, outrage, bewilderment, confusion, fear, and anger. You are in no way protected on the nation's highways from that bottom 50%! Horrors!

Think of this! Every time you get in a car and drive somewhere, a staggering 50% of the other people driving are below the median in intelligence. You are subjected to a ruthless cross-section of humanity in a manner you rarely, if ever, have to experience otherwise. Even at work, there is self-selection going on, and although you are aware of some individuals hovering dangerously below the median, still you scooch yourself towards the people on your own level.

This shocking and unprecendented exposure to the bottom 50% occurs in driving situations every single place on the globe. People everywhere are forced to drive with the bottom 50% and therefore people everywhere are convinced they personally must deal with the worst drivers in the world. Since your brain can't comprehend that this bottom 50% of people it never knew existed are everywhere - it naturally thinks that somehow you have accidentally fallen through a wormhole to hell and landed in the one spot in the world where everyone is a bad driver!

And when I say everyone is a bad driver, that's exactly what your brain thinks. It's actually constructed so that it only takes about 15 or 16% or so for your brain to form a stereotype and come to the conclusion that everyone in the group it is observing fits the stereotype. If only 15 or 16% of the people in your area were worse than the median, your brain would still be convinced that 'everyone' who drives in your area sucks. In reality, it's about 3 times that number! This makes your brain want to explode in your head.

This is one of the reasons that driving makes people's heads want to explode. It simply is not physiologically equipped to make sense of what it is actually experiencing. If you pay close attention to yourself when you encounter a driver who is far stupider than the median - you will notice your head trying to explode! If you are not careful, one day it actually will. Exploding head death syndrome caused by exposure to the motor vehicle driving habits of others is not well-documented in the medical literature, but it actually occurs at an alarming rate. It usually goes by prosaic and boring little names like 'high blood pressure', 'massive stroke', 'coronary artery disease', 'brain aneurysm' and so on. But why the hell do you think the blood pressure got so high? Because your head's still trying to explode over bad driving you have witnessed throughout your life.

Add to this the fact that a certain percentage of people driving are actually insane (I'm not sure what percentage but insane people do drive) and it is no wonder you are eventually going to keel over dead from some driving-related variant of the exploding head syndrome.

The only treatment for this feature of the driving experience is to become below the median. If you can get yourself down the bottom third, let's say, your exposure to people well below your personal median will go down dramatically. The worst drivers are the happiest! And ironically, they will live far longer than you, my ranting friend. Which brings us to our next Analytical Reason.

Analytical Reason #2: You Are Not a Good Driver.

Surveys show (conducted for Family Feud I believe) that 98% of people think they are 'good' drivers. Better than the horrifying median we witnessed above. All of these people are wrong! This includes you. You Are Not A Good Driver.

There are only about a dozen or so good drivers in the world and all of them refuse to answer surveys for Family Feud. Furthermore, thinking you are a Good Driver actually somewhat increases your risk that you will kill yourself and/or someone else with your vehicle. Think about this. People who race in NASCAR events all think they are good drivers. And they routinely prove themselves wrong by crashing into each other, spinning out and delighting onlookers by setting their cars on fire.

When it comes to your own assessment of your driving abilities, you have set the bar amazingly low! I will give an example. I have a friend who considers himself a good driver - an assessment that allows him to believe that he is entitled to propel his vehicle along at speeds substantially exceeding the speed limit. He believes this in spite of the fact that he has on more than one occasion driven directly into other vehicles and broken his neck! Driving into other vehicles and breaking your neck is an exceedingly interesting definition of the phrase 'good driver'.

Oh, you say to me, I have never done that. When I drive into other vehicles, it only causes property damage! I am still a good driver. Or, you say, I don't drive into other vehicles! I only drive into stationary objects such as light poles and fire hydrants! Or, you say to me, I do not drive into other objects at all! I only fall asleep occasionally and skid off the road! I am still a good driver. Or, I am hardly ever in accidents, the sound of squealing tires around me comes from the other drivers who have to swerve to avoid me! Or, occasionally rolling my car on top of me hardly constitutes bad driving! I am good driver! Or, those people honking at me are assholes! That is why there is the sound of honking all around me when I drive - because everyone else is wrong! I am a good driver. Or you say, 'well, I thought I had enough room to stop!' You didn't! You Are Not a Good Driver. Or - 'it was the other driver's fault. She should have signaled where she was going!' Yes, and it might have helped if you had been actually looking where you were going....

Or you say, proudly, 'I have never been in an accident. 58 years of driving and never been in an accident.' That's because you drive at 15 mph. Driving at 15 mph and thereby avoiding the possiblity of a collision since even stationary objects have enough time to jump out of the way does not make you a good driver. You Are Not a Good Driver.

Now, this little fact is in many ways irrelevant. We are not here to make you a Good Driver. It ain't gonna happen, and we're not going to try. We are only interested in this a little tiny bit because it partly helps explain why everyone around you seemingly sucks at driving. Partly, of course, because They Are Not Good Drivers Either. This is a given. Accept it.

But the other reason is that when your brain mistakenly thinks you are good at something, it automatically gets huffy and downgrades the ablities of others a proportionate level. You don't have to be right for this to happen and usually you aren't. Being right is not part of the mathematical equation that governs this feature of brain functioning. Your brain is simply responding to the Iron Law Of the Median discussed above. If you are above the median, your brain understands, being the mathematical genius you didn't realize it was, that someone else must be equally below the median or there won't be a fucking median at all and there has to be because all brains know medians exist. It's simple logic from your brain's point of view.

The better you think you are, the worse everyone else will seem. Now normally you do this because a) you are insane; and b) because it makes you feel good or makes your brain feel good. However, in the case of driving, this backfires. It just makes driving more stressful than it already naturally is. It adds an extra step of processing to the overload your poor brain is already dealing with just because it's driving.

So here's what you do. Just quit thinking you are a good driver. As soon as you get in a car with the intention of driving it, drop that thought from your mind. Drive to your destination. Get out of the car. Resume thinking you are a good driver. Conduct your business or personal life at the aforementioned destination. Get back into car with intention of driving it home. Drop all thoughts of driving superiority, leaving your mind with empty Zen-like serenity. Drive home. Get out of car. Pick up mail. Enter house. Resume thinking you are a good driver. Repeat every day for the rest of your life.

This is a very sensible plan and it will improve the driving habits of people in your area by up to 12%! Think of the good you'll do for humanity this way. Of course 12% is not enough. But every little bit helps.

If you don't believe me on this one, try driving with your normal attitude of superiority. Witness what you believe to be driving rudeness or incompetence. Hear yourself think (or feel) how much better you are than the driver whose behavior you witnessed. Note the immediate rise in brain pan temperature as your brain attempts to braise itself in its own juices until it is thoroughly cooked, seared, and suitable for carving, but not for conducting the business of your life. Thinking you are superior causes brain damage!

Note that it is more than worth it to cause yourself brain damage by believing you are superior in at least a few aspects of daily living. Brain damage is fun! I certainly don't want you to have to live without this highly rewarding form of killing off what would otherwise be functioning brain cells. You have too many anyway! You don't need them all. But you need to pick an activity less cliched and dangerous than driving to believe you are superior at. Consider yourself a superior bat-killer, bookshelf-builder, adulterous homewrecker, pie-baker, donut eater, Moog enthusiast, speller of big words, or Jeopardy fan. Not driver. Thinking you are a good driver is just lame. Get over it. Think to yourself 'I am a mediocre driver and mediocrity rules the world! I am king!' Things like that. Mediocrity does rule the world, and if you stick to it, eventually you will be king.

All right - telling you not to think of yourself as a good driver has to be the worst advice in the world ever. Because you're not going to follow it and you don't want to. Due to Analytical Reason #3 - which also impacts your driving experiences and goes a long way to explaining why you are surrounded by assholes on the road.




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