My buddy Rob wrote a piece about “Southern Injuries,” which, not surprisingly, deals with injuries that, to a greater or lesser extent, are unique to the South. That got me to thinking about some of the maladies that we suffer in the Garden State.
Pothole-algia: This condition arises as a result of having one of the millions of post-winter potholes swallow the front wheel of one’s car. Pothole-algia comes in two distinct phases. The first phase is consists of the pain that shoots from asshole to neck when one’s tire goes into a pothole with the diameter of a garbage can lid and the depth of an Arctic crevasse. The second phase is characterized by the pain one experiences upon learning that it will be necessary to replace the tire, rim and front end of your car.
Toll-terror: This is a specific form of panic attack that occurs when one is trying to navigate from three fast-moving lanes into one of eight or more toll booths, depending on whether it is an EZ Pass lane, a Token or Exact Change, or a Cash-Receipt Lane, and one is victimized by an out-of-state driver who is, understandably confused by it all and who invariably cuts across eight lanes like some kind of kamikaze.
Post-Toll Despair: This condition is marked by the hopelessness one feels when emerging from one of the eight or more toll lanes and all eight lanes have to immediately squeeze into three lanes. The sense of despair is most serious when you paid the toll in the left-most lane and, after having paid the toll, you must somehow cross a veritable sea of cars to get to the right lane in order to immediately exit the highway. For out-of-state drivers, this can be most terrifying and can result in night sweats and/or self-destructive thoughts.
Black Ice Helplessness: This is the complete loss of control accompanied by fear of impending death that you experience when you realize that you have hit a patch of black ice (very slick and not very visible) while going down a hill and at the bottom of the hill is a busy, truck-filled, cross street. The condition has been known to result in an involuntary discharge of the bowels as the essentially free ranging vehicle slowly spins its way toward the killer cross street.
Windshield Wiper Hypervision: This condition occurs when one is driving on a multi-lane highway in a snow/sleet/ice storm and the windshield wipers only clear away a small portion of the windshield (usually about an inch wide), leaving the rest of the windshield opaque with snow/sleet/ice. Not only does it strain the eyes almost to the point of ocular explosion, but it also causes severe orthopedic problems. This is so, because the “clear” portion of the windshield is never at eye level and, therefore, requires rather dramatic contortions by the driver. Finally, because Windshield Wiper Hypervision is often accompanied by a rear window and rearview mirrors that are covered with snow/sleet/ice, changing lanes to ultimately pull off the highway is impossible for all but the most daring and/or religiously plugged in.
Circlecide: This is the realization of the possibility of sudden death or serious injury that exists each time one prepares to navigate one of New Jersey’s many traffic circles, which were most certainly designed by one of Satan’s Lieutenants. The possibility of death increases geometrically with every out-of-state driver who enters the circle.