Rant and Rave

Rant and Rave

Final Warning: A Guest Rant by Larry L. Bolt.

With an introduction from Thomas Magliozzi

We put forward the following question: what warning signs do you look for in identifying dangerous, wacko drivers? We got back a boatload of interesting missives as well as phone calls; we were warned to steer clear of everything from blue hair to pimples, cell phones, big car stereos, large ears, big hair--heck, even nuns made the list.

And then we have Larry.

Our pal Larry Bolt is on a little mission of his own: alerting the rest of us to the extreme hazards of being within striking distance of what he has identified--through careful research--to be the ultimate warning signal. We were so impressed with his powers of observation, we thought he merited Guest Rant and Rave status. Job well done, Lar.

Here then, is Larry L. Bolt.


Tom Magliozzi

Messrs. Clique and Claque:

First of all, let me state that I think you'll find the exposé contained herein has yet to be broached. However, I do believe I heard an ever-so-brief mention of the topic during a recent broadcast of Car Talk. Second, you may also consider this a blatant attempt to be nominated for an Academic Nuances as Determined by Yours Truly Award, or the so-called "ANDY" award--the ANDY being both the esteemed Car Talk equivalent to literary prizes, and acknowledgment of that effectual benchmark piece submitted by the real McCoy, or, should I say, the real Andy.


The subject I'm about to reveal to you has nonplused me for years, nay, decades. What, pray tell, is the topic of my upcoming Rant and Rave? Motorist headgear.

Be they berets, cowboy hats, fezzes, fedoras, scarves, turbans, wigs, visors, pith helmets, bowlers, double-brimmed Sherlock styles or just plain caps, decoration donned atop the cranium (not necessarily henceforth referred to as hats) has surreptitiously crept into our national consciousness and become a widespread perturbation in the process.

In my most unscientific but very observant study (tally marks in the half-inch of dust on my dashboard), I readily concluded that nine out of 10 drivers who wear headgear are to be avoided at all costs!

Get away as fast as possible--even if it means changing lanes prior to a red light and being fifth in line instead of second.

This study resulted in the Universal Headgear Protocol:

Identify it--then get away from it!

Hat-wearing motorists do the unexpected; that which, until now, has defied rational explanation. Signaling, for these pathetic excuses for drivers, consists of three basic categories: late, none and continuous.

You're probably thinking, "So what else is new?" Obviously, you have yet to observe the bone-headed antics of these beanie-wearing scofflaws. Why are these chapeau-wearing dunces consistently executing such grievous vehicular maneuvers? Funny you should ask--the reason is succinctly stated in my

Headgear Corollary #1:

The wearing of headgear seriously impairs the faculties of intelligence, due to severely compromised perfusion of the brain. A simultaneous reduction in peripheral vision only serves to complicate matters.

Hmmm. Let us now turn our attention to the phenomenon of the "I thought we were on the Autobahn" contingent--that frustrating fraternity of fuzz busters who make it oh, so difficult to overtake. You guessed it: nine out of 10 have customized their cerebella--and they don't even see each other!

The gawker? More than one hat in that car.

The speeder? Yup--90 percent incidence of hat wearing.

The left-lane lover? Probably sells 'em.

It doesn't stop there. Is the noggin null, but a bonnet lies in the back seat? Watch out. The skull scarce but a 10-gallon in the pickup ceiling rack? Whoa, Nelly! A silver-haired senior sans her silk hat that's resting on the speaker shelf? Steer clear. Consider yourselves forewarned: even the merest hint of a hat is an indicator of being navigationally challenged.

Now, if all this weren't enough to scare the bejesus out of any mild-mannered motorist, consider the effect of multiple headdress wearers in the same vehicle! I have had the singular misfortune of witnessing just such a conglomeration. It's not a pretty picture. I consider it a minor miracle that I escaped with my life and my car intact.

In closing, from this point forward, I would venture that to wear anything on your head while operating a motor vehicle will surely mark you as a danger to society, and in the spirit of George Orwell, may the hat police Sikh you out.


Larry L. Bolt
Not A Hat Wearer
Ft. Collins, CO

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