In an ongoing effort to become a kinder, gentler church, the Vatican has recently turned its attentions away from such hot button issues such as abortion and birth control and turned it towards the small activities that affect our daily lives. The church recently released the “Ten Commandments of Driving,” a list of rules and regulations that good Catholics should follow.
Some think that creating such as list is kind of insulting, given how many more important theological concerns there are in the world, such as transubstantiation or whether having a reserve bid on eBay on a piece of marble toast with the image of the Virgin Mary on it is a form of usury or not. I would think they would want to concentrate more on such things like “The Ten Commandments of Not Having Sexual Intercourse With Altar Boys,” but Martin Luther kind of severed any pull I might have with the Catholic Church about five hundred years ago.
The concept of a German Pope telling us to keep ‘em on the ten and two is mildly amusing in and of itself. One can only assume that Ratzinger, at some point since his installation to the papacy, has taken the Popemobile out of the garage and took a spin around the autobahn, where traffic laws are merely suggestions and speed limits morally relative. And he even sits enclosed in Italy, where, if the motion picture industry is anything to be believed, all Italian citizens are legally bound to travel from city to city in Fiats and Ferraris, all roads are by law 90 degree turns around perpetually escalating mountings, and driver’s ed courses routinely teach young Italians how to drive with a glass of Pinot Grigio in one hand and a girl around another.
I’ve read the New Ten Commandments, and they’re actually pretty boring. Mostly it appears to be the “forgive the one who double parks” variety, which is actually kind of a shame. If I were to have directed all of the energy I’ve devoted in my lifetime to what I would do to the vehicles of double parkers, I would have invented cold fusion and been married by now.
As usual, the document itself lends to that special brand of confusing legalese that only the Catholics can produce en masse. You’d think they’d learn, after that whole “No, you can’t eat meat on Fridays oh wait yes you can” debacle from the past nine centuries. Though in this case there are a few easy translations. “Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination” pretty much means “Cancel Pimp My Ride, for the love of all that is holy, which is us.” “Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events” means “Stay off the cell phone, jackass.” “On the road, protect the more vulnerable party” I assume alludes to Geos and Fiestas. And “Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so” means take the keys from the drunken uncles. And (hey, this is the Catholic church we’re talking about) women and possibly homosexuals.
Still, it’s a little disappointing. Most of it is about forgiveness and caution, and that’s just not what everyone was looking for. The real Ten Commandments were about murder, adultery, and jealousy. The new commandants are about yielding and avoiding rubbernecking. What a ripoff, I say! I have my own personal Ten Commandments, which I’m certain you had no idea were coming:
I. Thou Shall Give A Courtesy Wave. We’re Not Barbarians Here, Now, Are We?
II. Thou Shalt Not Procure One Of Those Disgusting Novelty Set Of Testicles That You Hang On Your Trailer Hitch, Because That’s Just Plain Wrong. I Mean, C’mon, Is This The Third Grade? Was The Store Out Of Those Stickers With A Knockoff Calvin Pissing On A Competing Automobile Manufacturer Logo?
III. Thou Shalt Not Secure A Bumper Sticker Onto The Back Of Your Vehicle Whose Writing Is Too Small To Read Without Squinting Then When You Get Close Enough To Read It It Really Wasn’t All That Funny Or Interesting.
IV. Thou Shall Realize That When A Sign Says “Right Lane Ends,” For Instance, This Means “Right Lane Ends,” and not “Speed Up In The Right Lane, Then Expect Everyone To Bend Over Backwards Letting You Merge Because You Decided To Ignore The Sign Unlike Everyone Else.” Pecker.
V. Thou Shalt Not Park In The Fire Lane And Walk Into The Store For Twenty Minutes. At Least Have Someone Sit In The Passenger Side For Appearance’s Sake So You Don’t Come Off As A Complete Prick.
VI. Thou Shalt, Upon Hearing The Song “Since You’ve Been Gone” By Rainbow on the Radio, Be Morally Obligated To Drive As Fast As Your Vehicle Will Go And Sing It At The Top Of Your Lungs.
VII. Thou Shalt Not Have More Than One Beanie Baby In The Back Seat Window. And Even Then.
VIII. Thou Shall Pull Over And Let Real People Drive When You Get Scared Of Going Over 10 Miles Per Hour Once You See The First Drop Of Rain.
IX. Thou Shall, Upon Hitting A Deer, Stop, Get Out Of The Car, Heave The Carcass Of The Deer Triumphantly High Above Your Head, And Destroy all Parts Of The Deer In A Violent And Bloody Ritual In Front Of All The Other Deer So Maybe They’ll Finally Get The Message That Perhaps Jumping in Front Of Underinsured Cars Is Not The Wisest Of Career Moves.
X. Thou Shall, Upon Hearing Someone Brag About Their Hemi, Be Morally Obligated To Murder That Individual On The Spot, So That Future Generations May Still Taste Hope.
I’m not so sure if the Vatican will agree. But if a German can become Pope, anything’s possible.