Note: This was
written over a decade ago but certainly holds true today.
Stupid People Statements.
by Don Prieto
While strolling through the pits
at the recent Winternationals at Pomona, I was T-shirt watching.
I came upon a puzzling couple wearing almost identical Haynes.
His shirt was emblazoned with the word "STUPID." Her
shirt carried the words IM WITH STUPID. It
struck me as funny at first but then after a brief moment of
reflection it was clear that these folks were indulging in Truth
in Advertising in its most basic form. Perhaps they were
making a statement. If so what was the message? Was it being
cynical? Cute? Did she buy the shirts and convince him to wear
one so she could put him down by wearing the other? Did he buy
the shirts and convince her to wear hers out of some sort
of warped sense of togetherness? On reflection, I think they
were trying to be funny but they were clearly---STUPID.
Speaking of stupid AND the drag
races, have you ever watched drag racing on television?
Dont you just love it when
the announcer sticks the microphone in the face of the winning
driver as he pulls off his helmet and balaclava. The subsequent
replies are a true exposure of the intelligence quotient of most
Announcer: That was a great
run, you just ran 4.82 and 310. with the engine on fire, oil
going everywhere, the chutes failed to open--but you got it stopped
in time. I can see right through the engine where the crankshaft
used to be, do you think you will be ready for the next round?
Racer: Well, Mervyn, he
says kinda out of breath. Ya know, The Billy Beer, Bobs
Big Boy, Tommys Topless Special really delivered and my
crew deserves all the credit. I just give it the gas, ya know,
stand on the loud pedal. Everything else ya know, just happens.
Well have her ready for next round all we have to do is
replace the engine, the clutch, the back half of the chassis
and well be right there in line and hopefully, ya know, go all
the way to the top.
Announcer: Good Luck. Back
to you in the tower.
The announcer should be wearing
a T-shirts that says I ASK STUPID QUESTIONS. The
driver should be wearing one that says I DO DUMB PLUGS
AND GIVE STUPID ANSWERS.
Think about it. Every time, well
almost every time, the driver has to spell out a litany of sponsors
names before answering the question which takes up most of the
time allotted for the brief interview, and then he says something
inane about his crew. The same crew, by the way, that just prepared
the engine that blew most of its innards all over the race track
and brought this glib pedal pusher to within an inch of the guard
rail. But, he adds, well will be back next round to do
it again. Puzzling, very Puzzling.
Lets go back over the foregoing,
piece by piece and discuss its effect on the television viewer.
First of all most people who watch racing on the tube are very
familiar with the form of racing that they are watching. They
know full well that vehicle A is sponsored by Substance B, C,
D, and Establishment E and the viewer is either turned off by
this blatant plug or he is embarrassed for the driver who is
required to recite this nonsense each and every time he sees
a camera or a microphone. Im sure the sponsors like the
mention when its part of an impression count
but if they thought that it was boring or turning off the viewers,
they would remedy it, pronto.
Secondly, the accolades to the crew should be kept till
the race is entirely over and nothing STUPID can happen the following
round. Think about the pressure the driver is under when he ran
great in round one, giving his crew the build up after the round,
only to have the chute fall out, or the fuel leak all over the
starting line the next round because some dummy pulled the pin
out or didnt tighten the fuel fitting. STUPID eh?
Thirdly, and most annoying, is the race drivers use of the term
ya know. Anyone that watches stick and ball sports
on TV knows that It is clearly part of the lexicon and used by
every below -average -intelligence athlete, whether he makes
ten dollars or ten million. If I was running a race team, I would
insist that the driver have a canned speech that
he could draw on and improvise to fit the situation and if he
used THAT term, Id fine him heavily.
Maybe make him wear a T-shirt that says: I use the term
Ya Know to show the world.
I know its tough to come up with something terrific every
time, but you would think that if a guy is smart enough to run
300, he could prepare himself a little better. So, anyway, as
Im walking away thinking about how really dumb some people
can be, when one of the guys in the crowd asks me:
Hows the magazine
The February /March Issue of Drag Racing & Hi Performance
Illustrated, the one with the photo of the Budweiser King-Quaker
State-Hooters-Mac Tools dragster on the front cover and the Budweiser
beer ad on the back cover, is doing very well but I have to give
credit to my editor, my ad salesman, and the entire staff and,
ya know, all the fans who buy the book for making it a success
Wheres my T-shirt?