Letter to the Editor: No replay for Jimmy the teenage driver

Photo by Gobovoi iStock / Getty Images Plus; St. George News

OPINION — It started with that ’39 Ford coupe I bought for thirty-five bucks at a junkyard down on Alameda Street in L.A. This thing was a wreck! The mill was shot and just about everything was rusted out. It had orange crates for seats, no tires, no hood or deck lid – and I had no money. My tool box consisted of a beat-up bumper jack, three rusty wrenches – all the same size – and a screwdriver. Besides, I was only 15. Who did I think I was kidding?

1939 Ford Undated | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, public domain, St. George News

Then, about a year later I decided the ’39 wasn’t going anywhere except back to the bone yard, so I sold it for the price of the tow. By that time I’d saved a little cash, passed the license test (after a couple of false starts) and got myself a “real” car – well, at least one that ran. My new ride was a ’47 Ford. It was called a “Two Door Sedan” which meant she had only two doors but a big back seat. Never mind the back seat – that’s another story.

Certain modifications were mandatory in those days so – instead of food – my next two paychecks went for a set of throaty Advance duals and some long shackles Roy and I installed using the aforementioned bumper jack – a really dumb and potentially fatal thing to do. And, oh yeah, we hung a metal plaque on the rear bumper. It said “Drag Lynx.” That was the clever name we made up for our popular car club which had a worldwide membership of two.

The other plaque was on Roy’s badass ‘41 Buick four-door rag-top. Stock as the day she came off the line, this beast could blow away anything on wheels in the 11 Western states – we swore there was something supernatural about that heap. On this particular Saturday night though, we were cruising Olympic Boulevard in my Ford.

Roy had been after me for weeks to let him drive my car.

“OK, Roy, no monkey business,” I said, warning him as he slid behind the wheel, “or I break your legs!”

We’d been best friends since we were 8 so that was just talk. Besides, he was like 3 inches taller than me. But, I knew Roy better than anybody and he was one unpredictable cat.

1947 Ford Business Coupe, undated | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, public domain, St. George News

Things were OK until we stopped for the light at Crenshaw. A chopped and channeled deuce coupe – later made legend by the Beach Boys – rumbled up alongside and gunned it a couple times. I watched Roy’s eyes glaze over.

They gave each other the nod and before I could yell, “NOOOOO!” he popped the clutch and we jumped off the line. He wound her tight as she’d go in low then slammed into second and demolished my cluster gear. As we clanked to a stop, I watched the ’32 chirp through the gears and disappear. Good thing we weren’t “goin’ for the slips.”

Roy just sat there with his head hanging. He felt as bad as I did – maybe worse – so I did what he’d have done if things were turned around. I poked him in the ribs and said, “Forget it, pal, let’s go get a burger.” He looked up and grinned. “OK, buddy, I’m buyin’.” Now all we had to do was find a way to get there.

We didn’t know any better so we spent the next couple of years looking for creative ways to get killed on the streets of L.A. Then Roy and I got our wake-up call. One night our friend Jimmy wiped out in a street race, killing himself and two others – one was his girlfriend, the other his kid brother. It hit us like a ton of bricks.

There are no instant replays in this deadly game. This is life and death.

So, what will it take to wake up the drivers here?

Last year we set a record for crashes in this town and will likely do it again this year. Did you see that headline a couple of days ago? “St. George police respond to 8 separate crashes at the same time.

What’s the matter with us? Driving around here is like Pamplona on high octane – mindless cattle racing to get out front and getting nowhere.

Hey! Where is it written you have to be the first and the fastest? What’s the point? That extra minute or two it takes won’t kill you, but the way you’re driving will. Ask Jimmy.

Wake up boys and girls – you’re not 16 anymore.

Written by BOB SEARS, St. George

Letters to the Editor are not the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

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  • Proud Rebel November 11, 2017 at 9:35 am

    As I see it, our problem here is a lack of paying attention to our driving. And kids are certainly not the only ones who have this problem. One of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen was a few years ago out on SR 9 in Hurricane. One very fat man, on one very small scooter. (Think two cheeks and two wheels going down the street.) He was over in the left lane, and was all over the road, riding about 25 in what was a 45 zone. When I got up beside him, he was texting. On a motor scooter. And this sure wasn’t a kid.
    In fact, just from personal observation some of our best drivers are young people. And some of our worst are seniors, just like I am. Even though it would affect both my wife and I, I’d like to see yearly road tests for seniors to keep their licenses.

  • tcrider November 11, 2017 at 9:55 am

    I only been here a few years and do not know why Saint George is the home
    of the absolute worse drivers in this country.
    I just returned from my second trip this fall from very busy congested traffic,
    first trip was Seattle for seven days and second was around Denver, driving
    in both these places was a treat compared to Saint George and
    Washington city, I do not know why very few people use blinkers around here
    and every time I drive here I also witness people running stop signs, red lights
    and tailgating.
    And then you throw in some super stupid city planning like the in and out
    burger has access onto telegraph that backs people up to the walmart entry
    because some moron is trying to direct traffic by stopping other cars on Telegraph.
    If I was a police officer for the areas I would probably be very unmotivated because
    of the really stupid city planning.
    How are the law enforcement suppose to do their jobs when these idiot city planners
    are trying to put a water park in one of the most busiest parts of the Saint George.
    One thing I know for sure is, if I were a law enforcement officer, I would anticipate
    what in the hell do you expect me to do? The city leadership along with the planners
    have their own agenda and will ignore safety problems that are right in front of their

  • NotSoFast November 11, 2017 at 10:33 am

    A good letter to the editor my man. Brought back memories.
    As far as Proud Rebel’s comments are concern? Bitching all the time and thinking your still in your prime? I recommend you stay in your driveway and pretend your still a teen. And if your out and about, don’t forget to use your GPS thingy to find your way back home.

    • Proud Rebel November 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      Geeze, you read a lot of stuff into a post that isn’t even close to what the post says. You wouldn’t be slightly uhemm overweight would you, and ride a small scooter?

  • DB November 11, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Having lived here for nine years, it seems like the average speed has risen quite a bit, especially in areas where younger folks live. Personally, I don’t see a big lack of turn signal use here. I lived in TX for 25 years. Blinkers aren’t installed in cars there, or so it seemed.

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