No YOU Shut Up And Drive
Janis Hirsch illustration

Your Pre-Drive Safety Briefing

By Janis Hirsch

Don’t be an idiot

You know how airlines do that mandatory safety briefing spiel about what to do in the event of a water landing, even when you’re flying from Los Angeles to Tucson?

And how about that part of the spiel when they tell you that when they announce “Take your seats and fasten your seatbelt” and then the pictogram dings showing a person not seated with a red line through it AND then another pictogram of a fastened seatbelt is illuminated directly over your seat, you’re supposed to take your seat and fasten your seat belt?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about passenger safety but would it be so hard to ask for a show of hands, “How many of you are flying for the first time? How many of you suffer amnesia?” Because if no hands are raised, couldn’t the Flight Attendant just say: “Don’t be an idiot” and let it go at that?

I guess we should be thankful that the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t regulate the auto industry…

Safety Briefing Announcement

Setting: Interior, 2010 Toyota Prius – Morning

Janis opens her car door and sits on her sunglasses, curses, pulls them out from under her ample behind and puts them on even though they’re now as crooked as a seesaw.

She opens one of 1,000 tote bags she keeps in her car and places it on the passenger seat. Unfortunately, she places it on the EDGE of her passenger seat causing it to fall upside down onto her filthy floor mats.

She retrieves the tote’s contents including her make-up; a variety of fruit to keep her from fainting from hunger during her 20-minute drive; the CD case from Bette Midler’s new album which, alas, contains the CD of The Three Tenors Christmas Concert, Vienna 1999; and two novels she hopes to finish at red lights even though she’s only on page 19 of one and page 47 of the other.

She presses the ignition button and looks to the screen on her Media Control console so she can back out of her driveway. But instead of seeing her crazy neighbor power-walking backwards down her street in full bee-keeper garb, the image of a woman who could’ve been Miss South Carolina in 1982 appears:


Before you drive the car you’ve driven without incident every day for 5 years, there are a few things we want you to know so that you’ll have a safe trip to the grocery store.

First, to securely fasten your seatbelt, pull it tightly so that it either cuts off all circulation to your breasts or garottes you.

Look down to locate your brake and gas pedal. If you can’t see them, they’re either under your feet or you’re sitting in that old Amazon box you keep in your garage just in case you need it.

That round thing in front of you is your steering wheel. Driver’s Ed recommends you holding your hands at 10 and 2 but if you’ve never seen an analog clock, you’re shit out of luck.

Adjust your rear view mirror so you can see properly behind you. To adjust your mirror, move it around until you can see properly behind you… or whether you inadvertently applied lip gloss under your eye because it’s in a similar pot to your concealer.

For maximum safety, please put all your electronics in hands-free mode except if you want to text “wassup, bee-atch?” to your niece so she’ll think you’re the cool aunt.

Should you need any help en route, do not hesitate to ask Siri or any of your onboard guidance systems, all of whom will be happy to misdirect you or misunderstand you, causing the veins in your neck to visibly throb.

One last bit of safety briefing housekeeping: Those of you in cars that cost under $100,000, there are restrooms at Starbucks if the only alternative is wetting yourself. For those in luxury gas guzzlers, there are valet parkers who, for a crisp fifty-dollar bill will allow you to use the restrooms at various hotels and high-end restaurants. But seriously, if you’re willing to pay $50 to go to the bathroom, perhaps you should consider a catheter.

Now that you’ve been sufficiently annoyed and are in mid-stage Road Rage, enjoy your drive.

Share This:

Leave a Comment