Stupid People Statements

By: Don Prieto

Note: This was written over a decade ago but certainly holds true today.

The Wavemaker

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 “I’M 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?

Don’t 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 drivers.

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, Bob’s Big Boy, Tommy’s 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. We’ll 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, we’ll will be back next round to do it again. Puzzling, very Puzzling.

Let’s 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. I’m sure the sponsors like the mention when it’s 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 didn’t 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, I’d fine him heavily.

Maybe make him wear a T-shirt that says: “I use the term Ya Know” to show the world.

I know it’s 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 I’m walking away thinking about how really dumb some people can be, when one of the guys in the crowd asks me:

“How’s the magazine doing?”

I reply:

“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’

Where’s my T-shirt?


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