Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review August 7, 2000 / 6 Menachem-Av, 5760

Michelle Malkin

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Emily Dickinson's lesson for rude drivers -- ONE OF THE PERKS of being a work-at-home mom is not having to drive to the office. The only keys I need are attached to a keyboard. The only gas I worry about is my baby's.

So it is with detached bemusement – and sadness -- that I read in the newspapers about mad-as-hell motorists who race across the nation's highways and byways. Here in the Beltway, these self-important menaces on wheels won't even stop for death. A recent Washington Post story described how area commuters are directing their rage at funeral processions.

"Once, motorists would pull aside and permit funerals to pass," the article said. "Now, drivers regularly cut them off at intersections rather than allow them to continue through red lights and weave in and out of processions instead of pausing, say funeral directors and police. Although motorists once got out of their cars as a solemn gesture of respect, funerals are now often accompanied by honking, cursing and gestures of a most vile kind."

Funeral directors told the Post reporter that this disturbing trend has surged over the last decade in larger metropolitan areas, despite the use of hearses, headlights, and placards to signal drivers to slow down. One pastor who moved from Nashville to a D.C. suburb of Virginia recounted a frightening near-accident during his first funeral procession in the region. "There's a lack of civility, and people are selfish and determined to have their way when they want it," the Rev. Mike Tune said.

Police escorts are routinely ignored – and often become targets of impatient drivers. Officer Mike Nicholson, of the Fairfax, Va. motorcycle squad, told the Post: "This is a busy town, and people are on their own agenda. People are always in a hurry and just can't stand to wait for two minutes."

Hurry, hurry, hurry. Is the next appointment, or deadline, or board meeting, or cocktail party so utterly important that you'd mow down mourners to get there? There's more than a mere lack of civility at work among the movers and shakers who push others aside to live life in the shoulder lane. The problem is a lack of humility.

You are not indispensable. Your time is a gift, not an entitlement. Get over yourselves. Your next frenzied road trip could be your last, and the world will still spin without you.

In one of her most famous poems, Emily Dickinson gives a rear-view mirror lesson that rude road-ragers should take to heart: Slow down. This life is a pit stop on a much longer journey. Dickinson's narrator in "Because I Could Not Stop For Death" speaks from centuries beyond the grave and looks back peacefully at the stages of her life: Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me

The Carriage held but just Ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove
He knew no haste
And I had put away

My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility

We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess -- in the Ring
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain
We passed the Setting Sun

Or rather - He passed Us
The Dews drew quivering and chill
For only Gossamer, my Gown
My Tippet - only Tulle

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground
The Roof was scarcely visible
The Cornice - in the Ground

Since then - 'tis Centuries - and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity.

I realize nobody has time to read poetry anymore, much less savor it. So here's the drive-by message for all you red-faced, foul-mouthed, fast-food-chomping, cell-phone-wielding, lane-weaving commuters out there: Learn to sit back and enjoy the ride here on Earth before death's carriage takes you away. There are no U-turns on time's eternal path.

JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.


08/03/00: Leave the slogans behind
07/31/00: Hey, GM: Build cars, not quotas
07/28/00: Stop milking The Juice
07/24/00: Silencing Jeff Jacoby
07/21/00: Score another one for TV execs who want to keep us brain-dead
07/17/00: Can somebody say McStupid?
07/12/00: Beware of Ugly Building Syndrome
07/10/00: The miracle of a lead pencil
07/07/00: Partying on the people’s dime
06/29/00: When "Indians" exploit their own
06/23/00: Kids in a public school daze
06/21/00: Fed up with Fannie and Freddie
06/19/00: D.C.'s gag order for Christians
06/16/00: Dads, daughters, and PETA's spoilsports
06/13/00: Tune out Eminem's pitiful "poetry"
06/07/00: "Pained" Dem leader Torricelli deserves to feel some; Why hasn't he?
06/05/00: Tom Green's hidden health-care lesson
06/01/00: Farming out the pork
05/30/00: The perils of medical quackery
05/26/00: Awarding medals by race is a disgrace
05/22/00: Have Simon & Schuster execs lost their minds!?
05/17/00: Sports plebes vs. plutocrats
05/15/00: Whitewashing Red China's record
05/12/00: Our mothers' hands
05/08/00: Focus on the real Waco
05/05/00: An Internet victim's sad story
05/03/00: Phony pooh-bahs of journalism
05/01/00: Zoo tragedy triggers dumb reaction
04/24/00: Ecoterrorists on the loose
04/19/00: Beware of Elian's psychobabblers
04/17/00: The truth about Erin Brockovich
04/13/00: In defense of an armed citizenry
04/10/00: Playing hardball with taxpayers
04/06/00: Read W.'s lips: More new spending
04/04/00: The liberal media-in-training
03/31/00: Sticking it to the children
03/28/00: Declaring war on HOV lanes
03/22/00: Clinton and the Echo Boomers
03/17/00: Is Bush a Liddy Dole Republican?
03/13/00: Katie and the politics of disease
03/10/00: Maria H, Granny D, and the media Z's
03/07/00: Bubba Van Winkle wakes up
03/03/00: Double standard for day traders?
02/28/00: Sluts and nuts --- and our daughters
02/24/00: Zoning out religious freedom
02/15/00: The Baby Brain Boondoggle
02/10/00: Buddhist temple untouchables
02/08/00: CDC: Caught Devouring Cash
02/04/00: Hillary's poisoned poster child
02/01/00: Corporate welfare on ice
01/28/00: The silly sound of silence
01/26/00: The Old Media meltdown
01/20/00: The pied pipers of KidCare
01/18/00: Our imperious judiciary
01/14/00: Tune out Columbine chorus
01/12/00: Dying to be an American
01/10/00: Time for smokers' revolt?
12/30/99: Reading, writing, PlayStation?
12/27/99: Fight money-grubbing mallrats
12/23/99: Christmas for Cornilous Pixley
12/20/99: Who will help the Hmong?
12/16/99: Shame on corn-fed politicians
12/13/99: EPA vs. the American Dream
12/09/99: Look behind the Pokemon curtain
12/06/99: Amateur hour in Seattle
11/30/99: Stop the Ritalin racketeers
11/23/99: Welfare for a sports fatcat
11/19/99: Jeb Bush's political ploy of the week
11/16/99: Ben & Jerry serve up junk science
11/12/99: A monumental waste of our veterans' resources
11/10/99: Tax-and-spend schizophrenia
11/05/99: Spooky Guy Haunts the Capital
11/02/99: Mourning the loss of the last Liberty Tree
10/27/99: AOL goes AWOL on parents
10/22/99: The persecution of Harry Potter
10/20/99: Don't doctor the law
10/14/99: The trouble with kids today
10/12/99: Pro-animal, pro-abortion, anti-speech?
10/07/99: Beltway press corps needs more skunks
09/30/99: ESPN overlooks athlete of faith, grace, and guts
09/27/99: Personal freedom going up in smoke
09/15/99: Farewell, "Miss" America
09/10/99: Will George W. work for a color-blind America?
09/03/99: Feminization of gun debate drowns out sober analysis
08/27/99: America is abundant land of equal-opportunity insult
08/10/99: Protect the next generation from diversity do-goodism
08/04/99: Sweepstakes vs. state lottery: double standards on gambling
07/21/99: "True-life tales from the Thin Red Line" (or "Honor those who sacrificed their lives for peace")
07/21/99: Reading, 'Riting, and Raunchiness?
07/14/99: Journalists' group-think is not unity
06/30/99: July Fourth programming for the Springer generation
06/25/99: Speechless in Seattle
06/15/99: Making a biblical argument against federal death taxes

© 2000, Creators Syndicate