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The Bad Driver's Handbook: Hundreds of Simple Maneuvers to Frustrate, Annoy, and Endanger Those Around You, by Zack Arnstein and Larry Arnstein


The Bad Driver's Handbook


Driving is a serious topic, which makes it the perfect subject for a book like this. It really does help to laugh at something that too often only raises your blood pressure or makes you use language you don't like to admit you know. In this hilarious parody of a how-to manual, Zack and Larry Arnstein cover every driving situation that has ever caused damage or even just annoyance. From driver's ed to car alarms and tailgating to drunk driving, it's all here, every kind of bad driving situation and opportunity for making things worse that you can think of and, impossible as it may seem, even more.

The chapter on visiting the DMV takes readers on a page-turning detour that does a remarkably accurate -- but fortunately much funnier -- job of simulating what it's like to get sent from window to window on a quest to transfer car ownership. Other sections include take-offs on multiple choice driving tests that capture their frustrating trickiness and annoying ambiguities perfectly. Chapters with intriguing names like "Intimidating Pedestrians" cover topics as diverse as taxi drivers, bumper stickers, back seat driving, car maintenance, and "Teaching Your Teen to Drive." A chapter on sex includes a great list of questions men and women can use to find out whether a potential partner will be compatible. For women, "Will he ask directions?" For men, "Is she willing to have sex with you?"

In addition to the text, line drawings cover such topics as terrifying left turns, scenes from the history of bad driving (all the way back to ancient Egypt!) and "The Bad Driver's Pyramid," a take-off on the FDA's old "food pyramid." "Recommended daily allowances" include sparing use of property damage but quite a generous number of incidents of "intersection blocking, double parking, and reckless lane-changing." At last, guidelines that real people can actually follow!

While The Bad Driver's Handbook makes a perfect anonymous gift for someone whose driving terrifies you, make sure you read the book before passing it on. Most of us spend a major part of our lives dealing with traffic, cars, and driving, but we don't spend nearly enough time laughing about them.

Megan Edwards
10/23/05

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