My friend Raphael told me to write a new blog post and, per his suggestion, it will be about road rage. I have a lot to say on the subject, let's get into it.
There are two sides to this. Sometimes you are the victim of road rage, other times you are the perpetrator. Depending on the circumstances, there are completely different ways of going about it.
In this essay I am going to explain certain factors such as Tailgate Etiquette. I will introduce to you the concept of the Dikembe Finger Wag. I will teach you that, when receiving the road rage of another driver, it is best to approach the situation like a troll. I will expand on that a little later.
The primary phenomena this essay will focus on is Tailgating. The reason being: it is the most common form of road rage. Buckle up (pun) for this informative piece.
As the Perpatrator
You are late to work and you just might make it if you drive recklessly. That means speeding, running through red lights, rolling stops, the works. You may think to yourself that there is only one obstacle: the police. True, the cops are certainly an obstacle in this case, but they aren't the only obstacle. You are forgetting about boomers and also trolls, which I will get into shortly.
I have no shame on the road and I am a gigantic hypocrite. In other words, I think tailgating is a terrible thing. If I am in the car with someone and they are tailgating, I get uncomfortable. If someone tailgates me....oh boy (you'll see). And yet, if I find myself in the situation above, I will tailgate the funk outta some muhs, feel me?
But we always need to remember: tailgating is not about getting there faster.
Tailgating is about sending a message.
Tailgating is about making your presence felt.
With that being said, let's go over the do's and don'ts of tailgating. What is acceptable? What makes you a douche?
I assume all of you know, but for those who don't, tailgating is when you're driving behind someone and you are entirely too close.
They say to leave one car distance between you and the car ahead of you per 10 mph. So if you are going 40, there should be 4 car distances between you and the car in front of you.
However, if you are driving behind someone and they are going 10 mph under the speed limit, or potentially even more, they finna get tailgated. Especially if I am the one behind them. Even if I'm not in a rush to be anywhere. If I am in a rush, there may be mere inches between our bumpers.
Is it dangerous? Yes. Is it justified? I would argue that it is. However, there is a situation in which it is very not justified which I'll explain shortly.
Look man, tailgating can be effective but it needs to be done right.
But if the person in front of you is super old then don't bother. This is the only time where tailgating is a complete waste. You are behind an 85 year old woman? Ok, she hasn't looked in the rear-view mirror in 12 years. She has no idea you are there.
The old are not going to speed up. Flash the brights at them? They see flashing lights all the time, they don't know what's real and what's fake. Honk? They don't hear you.
Bottom line, if you are behind a very old person it's a wrap. You're gonna be late, accept it.
The silver lining is that they are predictable. There will be no wild movements. No sudden turns or swerving. Everything will be done very slowly, but very deliberately.
Unlike the Old, the Pussy is going to be a bit easier to deal with but you must proceed with caution.
The Pussy, and please excuse my language but this is technical terminology so I don't know what to tell you. You can skip this paragraph if you want, otherwise just be glad I am using this word rather than that other word that I could've used which starts with an F and ends with a T.
The Pussy presents his or her own challenges to the driver behind, but these challenges are not insurmountable. This person will drive 25 in a 35, but not because they are old. Rather, they will do this because they think they are being safe. They fail to realize that not adhering to the speed limit is not safe, whether you are going 10 mph over or 10 mph under.
This is especially true on the highway. The Pussy may find itself in the left lane of the highway doing 45 mph. This is very dangerous! How did they get all the way to the left lane? They probably have no idea. The Pussy is very erratic and a nervous driver.
On regular, one lane roads in town, you will want to slowly approach from behind. Don't close the distance too fast, you don't want to spook the Pussy. That can lead to a dangerous situation. You want to ease in there. Once you are in established tailgate position, maintain a fair distance. Don't get right up on the bumper, like I said, the Pussy acts erratically. Make your presence felt, but don't scare them.
Now look, once you have established this position it brings us to our next major point. This deals with when it is not cool to tailgate someone.
Let's take this for example. There is someone going 22 mph in a 35. They are causing a backup of cars. Let's just call that first car the Problem (could be Old, Pussy, Troll, whatever).
The person immediately behind the Problem, that person is Lead Tailgater.
As Lead Tailgater, it is your job to tailgate on behalf of all the frustrated drivers behind you. You are the one behind the Problem. You are the one who needs to send a message to the Problem. You are the only hope for the pack.
So the Lead Tailgater is the most justified tailgater. By tailgating, they are doing the right thing. They are engaging in social justice.
Now, what does this mean for the cars behind the Lead Tailgater?
They Should Not Tailgate.
If you are tailgating the lead tailgater, then you are an asshole. That person is doing their job. They are trying to hold you down; trying to drive humanity forward. And you dare tailgate this hero? Pull over, bucko.
As the Victim
As mentioned earlier, I am someone who tailgates. Not very often, and I try to only engage in the behavior when it is somewhat justified.
However, as I also mentioned earlier, I am a huge hypocrite. And I absolutely despise being tailgated.
In the past, if I was the victim of a tailgater, I would get angry. It led to some of my peak road rage moments.
I realized, though, that there must be a better way. If I'm getting angry, then they have beaten me, no matter what I do.
I decided to take a similar approach to the approach I took on Twitter, long ago (before The Banning). In my early days of trolling, or what I thought of as trolling, I would try to get people angry on the Internet. But I would always end up getting angry myself.
This was when I realized my primary theory behind trolling: If you are having fun, then you are trolling. If you are angry, it's not trolling.
This new philosophy allowed for two things:
1. I reached new heights as a Twitter and Instagram troll
2. I had fun while I did it, rather than invoking stress
With all of the success I was having on Twitter as a Reformed Troll, I decided to take this behavior from the Internet into the real world.
This is what leads me to the third kind of driver; the kind of driver that I am (at least when I am the victim of a tailgater).
We talked about the Old, we examined the Pussy, now it's time to move onto the last type of person you may find yourself tailgating, and by far the worst.
*Disclaimer: I always drive 5-10 mph over the speed limit. I say this because, by doing that, you are always the asshole if you are tailgating me.*
I'm in the car. Driving 45 in a 35. I look in the rearview. It's you. In a Jeep Wrangler (perhaps a BMW 3 Series or any kind of pickup truck). You are quickly approaching. A tailgating is inevitable.
You might think you are intimidating me. You might think I am going to preemptively increase my speed. Think again. You do not scare me.
I see you in my rearview. You think I am filled with fear? Ha! That's rich! Quite the opposite. I am very excited. I actually want you to tailgate me. I am very spiteful in my vehicle. Outside in the real world I am a very different person, but in that Mazda 3 I am your worst nightmare.
15 Second Rule
So it's going down. You made your way up to me and you are now tailgating me. It's not too severe, but it's happening. I am aware of your presence.
What you do not know, is that you have just begun a timer.
I am going to give you 15 seconds to cease and desist.
If you fail to do this, if you continue to ride my ass after 15 seconds, the trolling begins.
5 Per 10
The 15 seconds has expired and yet there you are, right there. I look in my rearview, it's almost as though you are sitting in my back seat.
It is at this point that I am going to begin gradually reducing my speed. Always by increments of 5 miles per hour.
If we started at 45 mph, and you elapsed the 15 second grace period, we are now going 40 mph.
At this point, I hope you will get the point. You see, you are tailgating me to send a message. You're message is, "Go faster!"
Well, by reducing my speed, I am sending an even stronger message. My message is, "I have the power in this scenario. Eat dicks."
Hopefully my messaged is received, and you will back off. I'm not asking for much, let's say maybe one or two car lengths. But you need to show me some respect.
If you fail to do so, I am going to continue reducing my speed by 5 mph every 10 seconds.
So, let's recap. I was going 45 in a 35. Apparently that wasn't fast enough for you. You needed me to go faster. So you decided to get dangerously close to my vehicle. Well, now we are going 25 mph. Are you happy? You brought this on yourself. I have no sympathy, no remorse. I want you to suffer.
The Dikembe Finger Wag
Dikembe Mutombo was a center in the NBA for 18 seasons. At 7 feet 2 inches, he was a force underneath the rim. Being so tall, he blocked a lot of shots.
Dikembe had a signature celebration that he would do after a block where he would wag his finger. You can watch this video if you don't know what I mean. It will be important for you to know.
Now, as the title of that video suggests, Dikembe inspired a generation of athletes with his finger wag. But it wasn't just athletes. He also inspired Road Trolls like myself.
You see, if I follow my 5 per 10 rule, and we are now down to 25 or 30 mph, I know for a fact that you are mad. You might be livid. You are probably yelling profanities at me in your car. You might have even pulled closer to my vehicle! Nearly touching bumpers!
While that is going on, I am in my car legitimately enjoying myself. I am exercising my power over you and you are completely helpless! Most of all, I am staying true to the nature of trolling by having fun.
But what does a troll do when they have angered their prey? Well, to each his own. But I'll tell you what I usually do, I usually double down.
I suppose, in this case, doubling down would be slowing down even more. And sure, I'll still be doing a bit of that. What I'm referring to is doubling down on bothering you.
I am going to raise my fist like a black panther, until it is around the level of my ear. It will be positioned between the two head cushions of the front seat.
Once my fist is in position, I am going to slowly and dramatically raise my index finger.
Once my index finger has been raised, and it is in position where the person behind me is definitely going to see it, I wag the fuck out of that thing.
Nothing brings me more enjoyment than having a really great stand up comedy set.
But Dikembe Finger Wagging someone who is tailgating me is in second place, and it's close!
Here's the thing, once I start wagging my finger, something becomes very clear to the person behind me.
As I mentioned, they are probably already mad at me. They are probably wondering, "what the fuck is this idiot doing?"
But the second I start wagging my finger...you now know for a fact that it is deliberate. In other words, I'm not just some dummy who doesn't know how to drive, I'm fucking with you! Hahaha! And you can't do anything about it! Yayyyyy!
Sorry for all the bold and the exclamation points but this shit really gets me going man.
People get more mad on the Internet than they do in real life. But people get more mad in the car than they do on the Internet.
That's why Car Trolling is the future and why you should get into it too. Because the best troll is when you create the biggest discrepancy.
This is just to show you my moves in action.
A few months ago, at night, a BMW 3 series FLEW up from behind me and gets right up to my bumper.
I was doing 5 over the speed limit, as usual, and this dude pulls all the way up to inches away from my bumper putting each of us in danger. If I just tapped the brakes he would've hit me. But I didn't do that, I'm a troll not a crazy person.
Now, I know I have rules, but rules get broken sometimes. This guy got so absurdly close to me that I waived the 15 second grace period and got straight to the 5 per 10.
In response, this man starts doing what I call "sharking" where someone swerves to the left and the right behind you, in a serpentine pattern as though they are evading enemy fire.
Now, as soon as he starts doing that, I know what time it is: it's Dikembe Finger Wagging time.
But Dave! Wait a second! You said it was nighttime! How would he be able to see your finger wag?
Well, like any good troll, I adapt.
I turned on the interior light in the front of my car. He could see into the cabin of my vehicle very easily.
I raised my index finger slowly but deliberately and put it into position, and then I waaaagggedddd that sucker like nobodies business.
And it has never been so effective! Because as soon as I start doing that he starts FLASHING HIS BRIGHTS AT ME and LAYING ON HIS HORN.
So there he is, behind me, inches from my bumper, swerving left to right, flashing his brights repeatedly, laying on his horn, and probably screaming the most horrible things about me that anyone has ever said.
Meanwhile, I'm in my car laughing hysterically.
I love it.
If there is one takeaway from this article for you, I hope that you start to Dikembe Finger Wag in your life.
It has been such a blessing to mine.
Being tailgated used to piss me off so much. Now it excites me!
Also, just make sure you engage in tailgate etiquette when it's time for you to tailgate.
And, most importantly, if you stumble upon a Road Troll in your tailgating adventures, you gotta back off or things are just gonna get worse for you.
Thank you for reading, love you <3