Vol. 12, No. 3,009 - The American Reporter - October 19, 2006

Make My Day

by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
Syracuse, Indiana

Printable version of this story

SYRACUSE, Ind. - I've become quite the aficionado of GPS (Global Positioning System) devices over the past year or so. I used to look down my nose at GPS users, because I thought they were incapable of reading a real map. That all changed when I used a GPS on several long car trips.

If you've never tried GPS, you should. They beat street maps any day, because you can drive and use the thing at the same time, and folding it is a snap. And they announce your next turn well in advance ("right turn in 500 yards ... right turn in 200 yards ..."). They don't give you weird directions that only locals understand ("go past where the O'Shaughnessy brothers knocked over Mrs. Murphy's cow"). And they will recalculate your route if you miss a turn or go the wrong direction.

In fact, that's the coolest things about a GPS. If you miss a turn, it will - in a very calm and relaxing voice - say, "Off route. Recalculating." And then it tells you the new route you should take.

Of course, this gets a little annoying if you already know where you're going, but you don't want to take the route the GPS tells you. Then it just gets monotonous.

That's the big problem with GPS receivers. They have no personality or flair. No funny voices or hilarious sound effects. So I'm making a recommendation to all GPS manufacturers to start including different personalities into their devices. Put the fun back into electronic navigation.

For example, there's the Passive-Aggressive personality. Say you missed your turn for the third time in a row. The P-A GPS would shout "What the heck are you doing?! You missed your stupid turn again! My mother was right about you! Pull over and ask for directions!" until you got to your destination.

Or you could even get celebrity personalities, like:

  • Former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight: "You call that a left turn?! That was crap! If you don't get your head out of your butt, I'm going to get someone else to drive this car and you'll ride with the soccer moms!"
  • President George W. Bush: "I know more of you wanted to turn left back there, but I think it's within the car's best interest to turn right instead, so I'm doing what I want."
  • Folk-rock singer Bob Dylan: "How many roads must a man drive down, before you can - that was your turn back there."
  • NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon: "Turn left. Turn left again. Go straight for 1.5 miles. Now turn left, and left again. Now pull in here for some gas."
  • "Shock jock" Howard Stern: "Hey, let's get that chick in the next car to take her top off."
  • Televangelist and 700 Club founder Pat Robertson: "That other driver thinks we're going to run him off the road? Fine, let's give him what he wants and run him off the road. No, wait, I didn't really say that. The radio took what I said out of context and misinterpreted it."
  • Humor columnist Dave Barry: "You have three choices, you can turn left in 300 yards, buy one of my books, or pick your nose and flick the booger onto your GPS. Personally, I think 'Boogers on My GPS' would be a great name for a rock band."
  • Television reality show 'COPS': "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to take a left turn in 300 yards. Sir? Sir, you have to take a - Sir! Take a left turn, sir. Sir, take a - he's turning right. Let's go, let's go! All units, we've got a right turner here. All units converge on this location!"
  • NFL Announcer John Madden: "You'll want to take a left turn up here in 399 yards. Say, that reminds me of the 2003 Green Bay Packers - Oakland Raiders game, when Brett Favre threw for 399 yards and 4 touchdowns. That Brett Favre sure is a joy to watch - hey, that was your turn - I mean, here's a guy who nearly retired at the end of 2004 and - oops, where are we?"
  • Famed late gonzo journalist and whacked-out drug addict Hunter S. Thompson: Turn left in 300 yards and merge into the - Aagh! Bats! Bats! Get 'em off me!

Okay, on second thought, this is all a bad idea. Instead I'll just have the soothing sounds of my wife's voice telling me where to turn or that I'm driving too fast. Oh wait, I already have that.

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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