The Great Van Menace

Feb 19, 2016 View Comments by

They’re out “there,” oh yes they are!

Roaming the great gray asphalt jungle, just waiting to pounce on us, drive us into the toolies, cut us off, and fill our rear view mirror with their hideous plastic toothless sneers, all the while hiding their true intentions behind a dull gray metal-flake paint job!

vanThey? Why, the minivans of course! Paranoid, you say, no, not me—they really are there, just waiting. Look, on your left—no, your right! They’re all around us!

Ok, I admit it, I despise minivans, but for a very good and logical reason. They truly seem to be driven by some of the most distracted and disconnected humanoids on this (or any) planet. A teenager in his first car texting his buds, gulping his smoothie while channel surfing, is more in tune with the road than any of these “Vanners.” In the “old days,” before the dawn of the Vannosaurus Rex, there were people-carriers called … station wagons. You remember them, right? They were basically cars with a boxy glass enclosed section added to the back. At a stop sign, on your scoot, you could either see through the glass box or over the long hood in front. The point is: you could see!

Then along comes this rolling shoebox called a minivan. You sure as heck can’t see through it, and can’t see over the hood because there is no hood! Instead there’s this brick wall that blocks your view of oncoming traffic, making it necessary to pull so far into the intersection to see around it that you become the “hood ornament” of an oncoming … what else … minivan. Besides blocking our vision at stop signs, they are a pain in the tail light to pass.

Added to their “bulk” are what I call their “genetic flaws.” After many years of life-threatening observation, I have come to the conclusion (scientific, of course) that Vanners can be divided into several very distinct groups:

First, there are the “Soccer Moms.” Their van is filled with about 30 screaming, complaining preteens. Mom, besides trying (in vain) to quiet the mob, is also texting dad to start supper at 5 p.m. Her attention is not on the road or on your motorcycle trying to pass her. Any guess who loses this one? There is, however, one tip-off that just might save your skin; it’s a surefire way to spot these Mother Vans. As you approach from the rear, take notice of the rear tailgate window. Are there any little white stick-figure stickers, or assorted white stick pets, in the lower corner? This is a Mother Van, and should be avoided at any cost. In fact, pull over for a cup of coffee and wait until she has reached her destination.

No less dangerous is the “Gelded Dad Van.” This juggernaut is being “aimed,” not driven, by a married guy who had to give up his motorcycle and/or Corvette because he now has—what else—a little white stick-figure family. Problem is, he didn’t want to give it up, so he is bound and determined to show you that he can drive that freakin’ van just like he did his ‘vette/motorcycle. This I call “The Road Racer Complex.” Stay out of his way, as he will blow you off the road. And he may hate you for having that motorcycle and all the freedom that comes with it, so … beware. Oh, and the best way to spot this guy? The fake wood sides.

Wayne Peterson
I can not guarantee that if you follow all my thoughtful suggestions you won’t be violated by these Vanners, but at least now you know for a fact that … they are out to get you! Really.

Ride safe.


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Tags: Categories: Wayne's World

About the author

A Wisconsin farm boy, I learned how to ride a cow, before a horse and way before a motorcycle. I first started riding on my 16th birthday and I took my first real ride at my party: I pulled a wheelie and dug a trench in the lawn, which sent the bike in one direction and me in another. I was irrevocably hooked!