!!!Things That REALLY Piss Me Off
WELCOME TO THE 'GARDEN' AND 'EMPIRE' STATES'  
(Where inconsiderate and rude are joined together in an eternal bond)
As much as I want to jump right into and all over this one, I just can’t move on without first commenting on the above subtitle. I mean, really….from what twisted and deformed hat did New Jersey pull its nickname? I guess I’m oaky with New York being the “Empire State”, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean, because there’s really no harm in it. But New Jersey as the “Garden State”? Who’s kidding who? Or maybe the guy (or gal) who selected that name never bothered traveling to New Jersey. In any event, calling New Jersey the “Garden” State is like calling “Mississippi the Education State” or the slogan “Come ski and toboggan in Jamaica”. New Jersey may be a lot of things, but a garden definitely isn’t one of them. Talk about a real misnomer! Instead of “Garden”, maybe they originally meant another G word, “Garbage”, but something got lost in the translation. But to be honest, northern Jersey, where the adjacent Pennsylvania influence has seeped in (pardon the sewage analogy!), is actually pretty nice, but the further east and south you go, the worse it gets. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to what a trained scientist, an objective professional who was my college geology professor once observed, and this is an actual quote. “If they had to give the world an enema, they’d stick the tube in New Jersey.” You can’t say it any better than that. So bend over New Jersey!

According to Wikipedia (and I ask you, is there a better or more accurate source of information?) New York got the nickname of the “Empire State” because “….of its wealth and resources”. Not exactly definitive, but that’s all I was able to find. But even if it was a dumb name that just kind of materialized out of nowhere, once the Empire State Building was built and given its name there was no going back, and New York will forever be known as the “Empire State” which just about everyone equates with the Empire State Building. Unlike New Jersey’s nickname, I think I can live with the name “Empire State” because it doesn’t seem to go against any known facts or violate any laws of science as does the tag “Garden” state when used to describe New Jersey. That’s like saying Lenin was soft on communism! I mean, really….what were they thinking and who are they trying to kid?

So with that off my chest, let’s get to the meat of this chapter which is New Jersey and New York drivers. Just to be clear, I don’t mean to infer that they’re bad drivers….I want to leave no doubt about it. They are horrendous drivers, and what makes them so bad is their unsurpassed rudeness on the road and total lack of consideration for other drivers. They drive like their car is the only one on the road, and your job is to stay out of their way. To make my point another way, how many of you reading this book have ever found buried treasure worth more than a million dollars? Answer: Very, and I mean very, few. Right? Okay…now how many of you have ever been cut off by a New Jersey or New York driver? Whoa! Hold on! Take it easy! Don’t all jump up at the same time or the floor might collapse. The answer to this one is simple. If you have a driver’s license and drive, of course you’ve been cut off, not just by a driver from one of those two states, but in all likelihood you’ve been cut off by drivers from both states and probably on multiple occasions. It’s a bit like randomly picking someone from rural Kentucky and asking them if they ever had a really badly decayed tooth fall out on its own. Hell, yes!

I was wondering, do you think it’s just coincidence that two of the four states in the nation that begin their name with the word “New” are located right next to each other. And what do you think about the fact that they have the same accent and the same rude and moronic approach to driving which simply put is, “Do unto others before they do it to you!” But there is one very specific thing that separates New Jersey and New York drivers from drivers in the other forty eight states. It’s also something which, if acted upon, could save both states huge sums of money in the construction of their highways.

Have you ever noticed (sure you have!) that drivers from Pennsylvania’s two adjoining “New” states always drive in the left lane….not just some of the time or even a lot of the time, but always! When was the last time you saw a New York or New Jersey driver in the right lane other than when they exiting the highway, being pulled over by a cop or having a stroke?  We both know the answer to that one….NEVER! In fact, that kind of sighting is even rarer than seeing the Pope bowling!

So here’s my money saving suggestion. When building their highways, New York and New Jersey should only build the left lanes. Yeah…you heard me right. Why build any right lanes because no one from New York or New Jersey is ever going to use them! Right? I mean when’s the last time you passed a car from either of those two states when you didn’t have to pass them on the right? I used to think that maybe both states had a law on the books which required drivers to keep left no matter what. I’ve since learned that it’s not a law but rather just a point of pride, and New York and New Jersey drivers think of it sort of like a game of “King of the Mountain”. You want the left lane? Huh? You really want it? Okay, come and take it big boy! I’ve actually heard people from both of these states say, of course speaking on the condition of anonymity, that when they took their drivers’ test they had to sign a secret pledge that under no circumstances would they ever relinquish the left lane to anyone. And then on top of that they had to cross their heart and hope to die. Well, I can tell you this. I’m with them on the last part….the part about them dying!

While I’m on the subject, I’d like to offer automakers a few suggestions that will help lower prices for all cars sold in New York and New Jersey. (Have you noticed that I’m always looking for ways to help my neighbors in Empire and Garden states?) If these two states are going to build future roads with only left hand lanes, we might as well get rid of the left side view mirror. I mean, if they’re going to stay in that lane for all of eternity, the left side mirror is about as useful as an apron on a pig….right? But let’s take it a step further. Drivers from New York and New Jersey never use their mirrors to see if the way is clear to move right to the exit. They just veer right without looking, and they depend on other drivers to be quick enough to brake or get out of their way. So if this is the case, why not also do away with the rear view mirror and the right side mirror. If you add all of this up, it’s a hell of a lot of money I just saved them. Most side mirrors have interior electric adjustment controls as well as electric defrosters, and more and more cars are also being sold with auto dimming side mirrors. If you add all of this convenience (useless to New York and New Jersey drivers) up, it probably costs somewhere around $600 a mirror which comes out to $1,200 for the pair. Then throw in another $400 or so for the electronic rear view mirror and you’ve got a total of around $1,600. That’s a lot of money, and…you’re welcome New York and New Jersey. Just doing my civic duty and helping out where I can!

I’m sure some of you think I may have been a bit tough on two of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states, but someone had to do it. And to reinforce my position I’ll offer as further proof of their rudeness New Jersey’s self-appointed ambassador of good will, Governor Chris Christie who seems to take great pride in getting in peoples’ faces and belittling them. Now there’s a man who is always up to the challenge of being rude. First of all, what’s with the double use of the name “Chris” as in Chris or Christie? Didn’t his parents ever hear of other exotic first names like Bob, or John or perhaps even Alice or Debbie? What goes through the heads of parents when they do things like that? Evidently not much except for the odd rush of air. Why not just call the kid “Asshole” and be done with it? In fact, if you ask me, Asshole Christie would sound a whole lot better (and definitely more original and descriptive) than Chris Christie! It’s no different than had my parent’s last name been Lewis and they named me Lewis. Louis Lewis? Seriously? There ought to be a law about that one!

But to be fair, there is one saving grace for New Jersey which is its long and distinguished history of so called “New Jersey Diners” which are a classification of eateries found almost exclusively in the Garden State. (It’s even difficult for me to type that!) For those of you who may not be familiar with Jersey diners, they’re usually owned and run by Greek families who take great pride in offering their customers good food in an almost unlimited variety and in spotless facilities. Not a bad combination. Another trademark of Jersey diners is that they always have more than their fair share of mirrors. (No, I can’t explain it. Maybe they all have a common cousin in the glass and mirror business.) A Jersey diner will always have an oversized menu with many laminated pages on which are full color pictures of the diner’s culinary offerings. The menus are the size of large phone books because just about any dish ever consumed by man or beast is included between its covers. That’s not an exaggeration either. I don’t know why they even bother with menus because there’s nothing you can dream up to order that they don’t have. For example, if you were to say, “I’d like some pickled penguin liver sautéed with variegated purple Mongolian squash,” the likely response would probably be, “Humboldt, Royal or Emperor Penguin? We have all three, and they’re fresh today!”

One of the best known features of Jersey diners is the baked goods which is either baked on the premises or brought in daily from local bakeries. Either way, the baked goods is typically of enormous size, great taste and always displayed in showcases near the main entrance, often in vertical glass showcases with rotating carousels. Even better, Jersey diners are always open 24-7 including Christmas, Yom Kippur and even on Ramadan and Kwanzaa, the last three of which are really big Greek holidays!

Now that’s what you call really getting off on a tangent! Anyway, next time you’re in New Jersey or New York be sure to stay in the left hand lane or they’ll spot you immediately, kind of like Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz checking into a motel together. Ouch! That’s a picture that can really give you a headache! 

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