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Legal Blog Watch Undercover: Texas Traffic School -- Part 2

Traffic School Welcome back, readers. I know it's been a rough 48 hours, and you all have been pulling your hair out and rocking back and forth with anticipation waiting for the next installment of this hardcore investigative piece. For those of you who need a refresher on what the hell I'm talking about, go back and read Part 1. 'Cause I'm about ready to pick up right where I left off.

Our instructor told us that we would be watching about an hour and a half of videos. I, foolishly, thought said videos would be projected on the large white screen behind the stage. I was wrong. After going around the room, saying our names and what had brought us there that morning, we watched an introductory video on the "procedure" for conducting the class and going about getting our tickets dismissed. Conveniently displayed on the instructor's 15-inch laptop.

I could see and hear the video well enough to understand its hilarity. It consisted of a gentleman who sounded precisely like Yosemite Sam, and who could not say the word "particularly" without sounding supremely drunk, telling us -- while speaking incredibly slowly -- what the purpose of the defensive driving class was ("To reduce human suffering"; seriously, that's what he said) and making not-so-veiled threats that we would be sent to prison for 10 years on charges of tampering with a government document if we altered our certificates once received. We were also told that, if we ratted on our instructor for cutting corners and not giving us the full six hours of class, we could get a reward of $500. Sweeeet!

According to my super-accurate reporter's notes, it was around this time that my "clearly emotionally disturbed 20-year-old pathological liar" classmate -- as described in Part 1 -- informed us that he was the fifth-best video gamer in Texas, and 189th in the world. This after telling a clearly fabricated, yet utterly pointless story about how he and his neighbor had been opening and reading each other's mail for a period of several weeks without realizing it. It was more bizarre and idiotic than I can possibly express, so let's move on.

This is also about the time I realized that the "Comedy" and "Defensive Driving" aspects of the class were entirely separate. More on that later. We then settled in for the longest video of the day. "The Ultimate Driving Challenge," hosted by Craig T. Nelson and Paula Zahn. Yes, that's right, we were shown a vintage 1993 video, with cameos by Hollywood's hottest stars like Tim Allen and Annie Potts, and 1985 Indy 500 winner Danny Sullivan.

Until I watched this video, I never knew how much I missed the Chevy Lumina. It was informative, though, to hear about the "pending legislation" that will require airbags be installed in all vehicles by 1999. And the producers made great use of the "miracle of computer animation" [read: tan squares for buildings, green rectangles for cars] to demonstrate some of the more salient lessons. The best part is, the video seems to have been edited for viewers in Bush Country (aka Texas): Despite what IMDb says, I have no recollection of seeing Bill Clinton as "Himself," so I assume he ended up on the cutting-room floor. Or perhaps I fell asleep.

Know what I think, readers? I think I'm gonna make you wait until Monday for the conclusion of this series. Why? Because this post is long enough as it is, and also, because I have that power.

Posted by Eric Lipman on June 3, 2010 at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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