April 5, 2000

Raging On Through History


By Roy Rivenburg

The Latest Rage: Road rage is spreading in bizarre ways. First came air rage, in which unruly passengers began punching flight attendants, then golf rage (no joke), in which impatient players started racing their little carts around the course and rearranging each other's teeth with 9-irons.

Now, Off-Kilter has experienced the world's first case of time-machine rage. Our time-traveling journalist was recently cruising through the Pleistocene era when another time voyager suddenly ran him off the space-time continuum and into a ditch.

Police are still hunting for the perpetrator's vehicle, which is believed to be a DeLorean driven by someone named Biff.

Anyway, the incident got us wondering whether other road rage mutations might develop in the near future. So we sent our correspondent to the year 2003, where he discovered several new rage trends:

--Canal rage. In Venice, Italy, gondoliers begin shooting each other after one too many renditions of "O Sole Mio."
-- Hot-air balloon rage. Lead-footed balloonists tailgate slower balloons.
-- Space rage. Russian cosmonauts ram a NASA space shuttle after the Americans cut into their orbit and toss a lighted cigarette out the window.

Off-Kilter has also learned that road rage isn't a modern phenomenon. Archaeologists sifting through historical manuscripts have found descriptions of rickshaw rage, ox-driven cart rage, unicycle rage (usually involving circus clowns) and, in ancient Persia, flying carpet rage, which later inspired the 1960s Steppenwolf song "Magic Carpet Rage."

Sign of the Times: Spotted along a highway in Northern California: a homeless man reclining in a heap of green plastic bags with a cardboard sign that said, "If you lived here, you'd be home by now."

Alarming Trends Bureau:No wonder some people are scared to leave the house. The world is an increasingly dangerous place. For example:

-- A Japanese company has begun manufacturing chocolates in the shape of sumo wrestlers.
-- A Pennsylvania company has created the world's first beer-flavored ice cream, called Vanilla Cream Stout, which contains swirls of frozen ale and chocolate-covered pretzels.
-- MSNBC reports that Ricki Lake is one of the top contenders to replace Kathie Lee Gifford on "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee."

Belated News Bureau: April 3 was the first National Workplace Napping Day. Sorry for not mentioning this in advance. Guess we were dozing on that one.

Quote of the Week: From Chicago columnist Zay N. Smith, commenting on an unknown Republican businessman whose "longshot" strategy to unseat Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts including releasing an 11-page dossier on himself that discussed allegations of sexual misconduct, drunk driving, plagiarism and several failed attempts to pass the bar exam: "What longshot? He sounds like all the Kennedys rolled into one."

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Inflatable Grandkids -- They're Great for Lonely Oldsters!" (Weekly World News) According to the tabloid, this is the latest product from the inventor of edible neckties.

Unpaid Informants: Allison Joyce, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wireless Flash News Service, Chicago Sun-Times.

Copyright © 2000 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by Creators Syndicate