A Clover Encounter!

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Yesterday, I encountered a Clover on the way home.

I was driving on a backcountry road I often take because it’s scenic and lightly used; you usually have the road to yourself. Rounding a corner, I found myself behind a car that was crawling. Literally. It was barely moving at all. I doubt it was going even 5 MPH. I assumed the driver was occupied with something or looking for a driveway or some such and since there was plenty of room to do so, I just went around him and continued on  my way.

This triggered an eruption of flak comparable to Bismarck defending itself against the Swordfish torpedo aircraft  sent from Ark Royal to slow her up before she could make it back to Brest and the safety of Luftwaffe air cover.

Furious flashing of lights accompanied by a laying on of the horn without interruption as the Clover suddenly began to move a lot faster than 5 MPH – as he (she?) tried mightily to catch up with me.

But unlike the poor Bismarck – crippled by a one-in-a-million torpedo hit to its rudders that jammed them to port, forcing the German battleship to cruise in circles and enabling the British to close the distance and send her to the bottom of the Atlantic – I easily put more and more distance between myself and the Clover, until I could no longer see the headlight flashes or hear the horn.

The Clover probably – hopefully – had an aneurism by the side of the road.

It baffles me.

If I’d laid on my horn when I rolled up behind the Clover… if I had flashed my lights furiously, made obscene gestures and so on…  I might understand. But I did nothing discourteous or dangerous.

I wasn’t even “speeding.”

The posted speed limit on this road is 35 MPH. The Clover was doing less than 5  . . . and so was I, having had to nearly stop on account of him. The road was clearly clear; it was safe to pass – there was not even a double yellow line to make passing “illegal” – and so I did pass. Why not? Who could object?

A Clover could.

From the Clover’s point of view, the Clover was first. He owned the road – or at least had dibs on being the lead car. My sin was failing to realize this and to defer to him. I should have patiently waited behind the Clover until he was ready to proceed. By passing him, I trampled on his sense of entitlement.

Which prompted his enraged but feeble flak.

It is fascinating, from a psychological point-of-view. A mentally normal person would not have given a moment’s thought – much less been roused to anger – by someone passing them when they were almost stopped dead in the road. The road is after all for moving vehicles, not parked ones.

A mentally normal person would have waved me by – and I would have returned the courtesy by waving back.

But for Clovers, it is a kind of ape-like turf war. They take it as a personal affront when another driver drives faster – or drives around them. They will claim their outrage is based on saaaaaaaaaaaaafety but this is an obvious lie. In the case of this Clover, he was almost parked in the travel lane in the wake of a curve. A less alert driver might have rammed right into him rather than merely passed by him.

But – somehow – my safely and courteously passing the nearly motionless Clover, leaving him free to text or look for whatever he was looking for – “triggered” him to apoplectic rage.

Which made me smile for the rest of the day!

Here’s the audio from today’s chat with Bill Meyer at KMED radio in Oregon; we talked about the proletarianization of transportation, my book, Automotive Atrocities – and various other things.

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. The worst clover move for me is when people refuse to use the interstate acceleration ramps to, you know, accelerate. The ramp I use coming home from work goes onto a 70-mph interstate with LOTS of semis. So some idiot (usually a female one, I’m sorry to say) feels like it’s a mortal sin to goose her SUV over 50 mph on the nice, smooth, banked ramp designed to go 0-70 in about 1/8 mile.
    Then the cloverette and the hapless folks stuck behind her are forced to merge at 50 mph with semis going over 60 and cars going around 80. It’s a two-lane interstate at that spot, so the trucks usually cannot get over to accommodate people … we have to merge. The other day, I was No. 2 behind the idiot. I found a hole between two semis, adjusted my speed and got in with no problem. Dumbass was still going 50, half on the gravel shoulder that’s about to narrow for a bridge and therefore, about to be creamed by the trailer of semi in front of me, so I had to slow down to let her in. I looked in the rearview and it was nothing but truck … probably a foot from my bumper. In hindsight, I should’ve let her wreck, but I don’t see how I could’ve not been involved in the mess if she had. At least I would have had the opportunity to snatch her out of her SUV by the headhair and give her a shake or two.

    • Hi Amy,

      The problem you describe is ubiquitous and caused by the “defensive driving” folderol – which teaches that acceleration is inherently aggressive; that slow is always saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe. It’s dangerous nonsense, of course. But generations of people have been reared on this – and it’s why (along with brutal enforcement) most people are such terrible – but saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe (or so they think) drivers.

      • So eric, amy, etc. What’s the correct procedure to follow to avoid these imbeciles? I can usually determine that there’s an idiot clover in front of me in time to give them plenty of room to screw themselves into a mess without involving me at all. If you leave a nice buffer zone between you and the clover, you can then accelerate like normal people onto the freeway without an incident. I’ve also noticed that when approaching clovers sitting still on the freeway, you can usually zip by them so fast they don’t have time to get pissed before you’re long gone.

        How many times have you noticed some driver speed up and start pacing you while you’re on the freeway? If you’re paying close attention, you can actually see this begin to happen as the distance between you and them closes. This is your sign to stomp on it, and break whatever psychological chain has taken over their OCD.

        Some times they’ll move over into the fast lane to block traffic that is going too fast for their liking. Getting up on their bumper only solidifies their conviction to block traffic indefinitely. Hang back and let someone else get into their shit for a while, and cause an accident or some other sort of scene which you can then cruise around as they battle it out for control of their stretch of freeway.

        • We were tailgating someone in the left lane trying to get her to move her butt and the beyotch actually sprayed her wiper fluid, which blew back and hit us, all the time glaring in the rearview mirror at my friend. Ha. We were in a 20 year old dirty pickup, so a little wiper fluid is nothing.
          I do try to predict the speed on the onramp and avoid women in SUVs (a good idea at all times), hang back and then punch it when it’s my turn. It doesn’t always work as it’s a pretty busy area. I generally get stuck in the back of a conga line of retards meandering up the ramp like we’re in a school zone. The other bad thing is if the interstate isn’t too busy, the semis get over to let us on, but then they get trapped in the left lane and it takes 10 miles to get everyone sorted out.
          Solution? I don’t have one. All I can do is try to tamp down my anger and control my own actions.

          • Amy, I feel your anger….and do my best….not to. I was cruising along on I 20 early one morning in my speed limited Peterbilt(goddammit)doing 70mph. This young fatty in a Nissan Armada was in the onramp out in front of me but she wouldn’t step on it.

            I had a fuel hauler and a bull hauler that had just stepped out….way back behind me(a very safe move on their parts)and I was contemplating if I moved out for her if I wouldn’t make them have to brake. Aw shit said me to myself, it ain’t worth it when there’s at least two loaded trucks doing minimum 5 mph faster than me(dangerous bs, that limited speed less than the speed limit)so I just plugged along. This was a long onramp and she had plenty room to get into it and simply get into the lane and pull away if she wanted to……but she didn’t….and it soon became clear why, because she thought I should pull over into the hammer lane and let her take whatever amount of time she wanted to get to a speed above mine. John Boy and Billly had an esp. entertaining thing going so I just kept on keeping on. She had to visibly slow and let me by…..eventually and it made her most mad. Then she did what she should have done to avoid this situation, only not to the extent she was now doing it…..and blasted by me doing about 80. Good for her I’m thinking. But being the slug she was, she turned around and oblivious of the road, looked straight back at me and flipped me the bird, hard on the go pedal. John Boy and Billy already had me laughing so I smiled and laughed and returned the gesture. I thought she was gonna blow so she kept on nailing it and looking backward at me. That’s always a good thing on the interstate. She had no idea, even after pulling into the passing lane there were two truck hauling ass and about to pass me.

            I’m thinking what an idiot she was when she suddenly slammed on the braake and took the next exit. Yep, she’d spent less than a mile on I 20 and had all this bs going on. I was going to honk going by her but I never went by her since she was so mad she kept it nailed on the service road right down to the overpass she had to use to go south.

            I swear, you can’t make this shit up….or if you can, you need to change professions. I have a pretty good imagination but the general public seems to have me one-upped all the time.

            Well, it was fairly hilarious how more bent she got when I returned her hand sign. I’m guessing she was going to work or just had to show up somewhere…..maybe to get more of that white powder she surely didn’t need. Sure glad I didn’t work with her in any way. My ears were burning…..ha ha ha ha ha ha……

          • Hi Amy!

            It warms my heart to wake up to a woman posting anti-Clover things! The Motor Gods smile upon you!

            My policy with Clovers is to always get the drop on them. They are slow-witted creatures, usually – and so long as you take care to not give them advance indication of your intentions, you can generally get past/around them before their Clover brains register the affront – and by that time, you’re already gone and can enjoy watching them come unglued in the rearview!

          • So true Amy! I used to be one of those guys who was always weaving in and out of traffic looking for the pole position at the next light. There I was pissed off at the next guy doing the same thing, not being able to see that I was the biggest part of the problem. I was finally able to take a powder and discovered that I didn’t have to rush around to get where I was going. Half the time I’d end up at the front without ever trying.

            When drivers calm down, they are more likely to NOT be involved in an altercation or an accident. When people learn to relax and accept the situation for what it is, the chances of it escalating into some idiotic scene are significantly reduced.

            If that’s not an option then having a crotch rocket or a really fast car works pretty well. The clovers will try to run a bike off the road, but they’re just too slow for even the cheapest rice rockets.

            • Shnarcle, you say “When drivers calm down, they are more likely to NOT be involved in an altercation or an accident. When people learn to relax and accept the situation for what it is, the chances of it escalating into some idiotic scene are significantly reduced.”

              Spoken like an experienced trucker.

              • Yes. I have learned to stay calm when driving, even though I’ve got a rattlesnake temper in other areas of my life. Behind the wheel is no place to lose your shit. I’ve been a passenger when someone does this and it’s terrifying. I guess I just instinctively knew this at age 16.
                Staying calm and analytical has saved me from numerous accidents. A clear thinking person can assess the situation, calculate the distances, find your escape/swerve route, etc. A furious person just sees the red cloud and wants to destroy.
                I would love to have that big bumper the cop cars have though …the one they use to spin people off the road. Remaining calm and focused, I would happily PIT the 50 mph clover right out of the fast lane.

                • Hi Amy,
                  Yeah, there have been times when I would have put a bumper like that to good use. I once got behind 2 clovers driving 40 mph side by side in a 55 mph zone for about 5 miles until we lost a lane. I was driving a Cavalier Z-24 back then, but if I would have had a heavier vehicle such as a pick up truck with a bull bumper, one of those clovers would have had to speed up or would have been pushed into the median. What they were doing was planned and intentional.

                • Hi Amy,

                  Your posts are a tonic! Got any friends? Where do I find a woman who reasons like you do? Your husband is a lucky guy!

                  I don’t get mad (usually) when I encounter a Clover on the road. I don’t give them the opportunity to annoy me. Now, I happen to live in a relatively depopulated area, so Clovers are fewer and farther and there is almost always room/opportunity to execute the necessary maneuver. I left the DC area precisely because the Clovers had become insufferably ubiquitous.

                  • Morning eric, I rarely come across a clover in the sense they are being a PITA on purpose. For the most part the slow traffic I come across are old and probably can’t see and don’t even know you’re there. You can’t fix that….unfortunately.

                    When somebody is slowing traffic in my neck of the woods you can make a bet it will be a female and it would pay off 90% of the time and some are not necessarily old but Hispanic and that’s a phenomena I’ve lived with my whole life.

                    Driving into the heart of Mexico I was dreading the never-ending stream of drivers plugging along at 20 mph causing all sorts of moving roadblocks. Damned if that was Not the case. People hauled ass in Mexico…..well above their stupid speed limits which are often 80…..kilometers per hour. I was out in the middle of nowhere doing a big over 90mph and see a vehicle coming up on me fast. This was to be repeated several times. If my pickup had had 3.73 gears instead of 4.10’s I’d have been running faster.

                    Everything I learned in Mexico about real Mexicans perplexed me even more why the local sorts drive so shitily. They’re not making any friends with that sorry driving and esp. now that almost every paved road is 75mph. There are times I just want to ease along but I don’t if there’s a lot of traffic and when someone comes up fast behind me and I am driving 60 or so, I give a signal, pull onto the shoulder and touch my brake hard enough to activate the brake lights so they don’t have to slow down. If I’m in that mood….to drive slow and rubberneck, I use dirt roads where there’s more to see anyway.

          • Amy, I don’t know how many times, I’ve thought that exact same thing. My dream is to drive an old truck with guard rail for bumpers. My idea of utopia is to outlaw automobile insurance and let everyone fend for themselves. Those clovers would take one look at my ride and run themselves off the road.

            Here’s another fun fact. All those clovers have to shop, and every once in a while, you might just happen to see one walk into a grocery store, and there is no insurance for shopping cart collisions. How many times have you been cruising down an aisle only to have some dipshit clover blocking traffic just like they do on the freeway???

            What are you waiting for??? Smash that tard’s cart out of the way and send them into the canned tuna fish.

            Clovers are particularly fond of those fancy left wing stores like Whole foods, etc. When they cop an attitude just turn that cart on its heels like a raging bull, take aim and charge.

            Of course, it won’t be long before everyone will be doing this and we’ll all have to start carrying cart insurance. Take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity while you still can.

            • Morning, Schnarkle!

              My beef with mandatory insurance is that it compels me to pay for damages I haven’t caused. I have no problem with – indeed, I strongly support – the use of force, if necessary, to compel people who’ve caused harm to make it right. Even to the extent of compelling them to indentures of whatever duration necessary to compensate for the harms they’ve caused.

              But harming people who’ve not caused anyone any harm because they might is despicable.

              • I used to think the same thing eric, but lately I’m not so sure anymore. When I was a kid we used to go to the fairgrounds for the state fair, and the rides were rickety and rusting to hell. They also had signs right before you got on stating: “Ride at your own risk”. I rode the ferris wheel one time, and that was enough for me. There are numerous videos on YouTube of people flying off of these death traps. I don’t know why we couldn’t do the same thing with the freeways, or any public roadway. Maybe just line the roads with those garbage cans full of water, and install guard rail on the side of your ride for added protection, and let everyone have at it. The way I see it, it would be more like the wild west where everyone can see how protected the other guy is and that those with the most protection and especially those with the least to lose are not to be messed with. Clovers wouldn’t dare get in the way of a 3/4 ton rust bucket with guard rails and some offensive weaponry e.g. fire thrower, spring loaded bumper /cattle guard for ejecting anything in front of them from the freeway, etc.

                You are now entering a federally defunded, deregulated, freeway. Insurance is no longer required. Repairs are no longer required. You are required to clear wrecks from blocked lanes if you wish to continue. Enter at your own risk.

        • Hi Schnarkle,

          My policy is to strike before the Clover has a chance to realize what you’re about to do. Use power and timing to pass/evade/get by the Clover before it can grok your intentions and attempt countermeasures. I do this all the time and almost every time I do it, Great Success. Clovers are not only slow, they are slow-witted. It is easy to get the drop on them. They have terrible perceptions of space/distance and cannot themselves imagine what someone with even moderate skills can do with even an average car. I use this to my advantage.

    • The lack of acceleration is my biggest peeve. Most people I am on the road with have no trouble driving faster than I do, they just take -forever- and half to do it. In the process signal timings are missed, merges become needlessly dangerous and difficult, and much more. Slotherating I figure is mostly the product of the automatic transmission. To even do it to the degree some do requires that I slip the clutch. The MT just won’t allow such poor driving.

  2. Yeah, I passed one of those yesterday. Out for a Sunday drive after church, perhaps… doing maybe 20 in a 55. I passed, in the clear with no oncoming traffic, and the guy went apeshit. Red faced, screaming, banging on his dash and gesticulating wildly… I made a turn and took a different route home, as I didn’t feel like explaining to the nice officers why I had to do what I might have had to do if he was to corner me somewhere, with my family in the car.

    • Hi Velojym,

      I encounter one like this almost every week, it seems. It’s not just that they are slow/inept drivers. They become enraged when someone attempts to avoid/get around their inept selves.

  3. Oddly enough many states have actual statutes on the books (and often ignored) about driving too slow. Usually it is about 15 mph under the posted speed limit. I once got pulled over for passing someone who was breaking that law!

    If clovers love law the way described, how can they possibly ignore those laws?

  4. Eric, At first I thought there must be something in the drinking water where you live (and maybe there is.) Here in Az, our driver demographics include plenty of geriatrics. Some of them drive pretty slow, though not as slow as you described. But we very rarely see the irrationally belligerent behavior your clover exhibited….no matter what the age bracket.

    On second thought, there’s probably a better explanation for the relatively polite and more prudent behavior in our state………That would be the absence of draconian anti gun laws. Citizens here don’t need no special permit to conceal carry…on their person or in their cars.

    An Armed Society is a (somewhat more) Polite Society.

  5. At 62 I dont see as well as 20 years ago,night vision not as good.While it doesnt bother me on freeways,on the mountain twistys Im not the man I was.So Im PROUD to get the hell out of the way when I see lights gaining on me,first turnout Im there.And I get polite honks and little light flashes.Why? Because its just common courtesy and it goes both ways.
    Im in no hurry any more,I accept others might not have that luxury,or they just want to ‘speed’. Whatever,Im not going to hold up traffic to make a point,or cause an accident by someone doing an unsafe pass…thats just stupid.
    SHARE the road,not own it,what a concept!

  6. Clover sighting last weekend. (Among many, but this guy/gal was a perfect 10 clove!)

    Car swaying/drifting from fog line to centerline, below posted speed, followed by erratic speeds. (Faster)

    Car goes to fog line, then jeers left to a coming left turn lane. Too comical, but then I realized their speed was too fast to stop at red left turn light. Sure nuff, car stops 2/3’s across the crosswalk.

    Best part now, my spouse can identfy clovers in the wild w/o a guide book.

    • Speaking of all these clovers, what’s STILL w these ‘baby on board’ effing car decals etc? We supposed to drive off the road to accommodate them or what? Gheez!

        • Morning eric. I noticed the “handicapped” tags and signs are to be watched closely and from a great distance of possible. It’s especially important when you’re a pedestrian in a parking lot. I’m glad they have the tags and review mirror signs. It gives me a “leg up” so to speak.

          The wife is legally crippled so when shopping I drop her off as close to the door as possible which normally means she can step out onto a sidewalk and not even touch the driving lane. I then proceed to the furthest reaches of the lot and park, hopefully where no one will park beside me…..but I can guarantee, if they do, it’s always on the passenger side where the double doors are on the X cab.

          A couple weeks ago I was in Wally and parked like that to find upon return a Buick crossover thing close to the passenger side. Shit, I’m thinking, how and why do they do it. I wrote a note to put on the windshield and just as I stepped close I saw a woman who works there, obviously on her day off, walking toward me with a Wally employee pushing her cart. I turned back to my pickup which I had already backed halfway across the driving lane and finished loading. I’m sure she didn’t notice I’d had to back up. This isn’t the first time I’ve had that happen and no doubt it won’t be the last. I didn’t go all the way out to the edge like I normally do so I just blamed myself for trying to get out of walking another 100′.

  7. A few days ago I was tooling along the interstate when I came up behind a guy doing 65 in the left lane where the posted “limit” was 80. He just stayed there when I got behind him. So I accelerated fast around him in the right lane, where I do not like to pass. Then I quickly thought, it would be good to get that joker out of the left lane. So I got in the left lane after reaching a good distance ahead of him, at least 8 car lengths, and just let off the gas, letting my car decelerate gradually. He finally moved to the right to pass me, at which point I just spooled up the engine again and left him behind. Just to teach him about which lane to be in, I then got into the right lane when I was well ahead, and kept my speed up. I think that is a proper way to flush a slow guy out of the left lane and teach him which lane to use.

    • Jim, I’ve done the exact same maneuver before too! Also, I once had a guy tail less than 1ft behind me in the left lane as I was quickly passing other vehicles in the right lane. It was a 70mph and I was doing 85ish. To teach him a lesson (because tapping my brakes didn’t work) I matched speed with a semi I was passing for about 5 minutes and then let the jerk by. It probably wasn’t considerate of me to all of the drivers behind him, but I was laughing my head off nonetheless.

  8. Eric, I just had an identical clover experience on a country road near my home last week. I had my wife and kids with me and as we came around the corner on this 45mph country Rd, with no lane lines at all, the clover was going 10 mph. I hit the brakes and waited patiently behind him as we passed 4 homes thinking that maybe he was looking to turn into one of them. When it became obvious that we were going nowhere fast I signaled and began to pass him, we were the only two cars in the road, only to have the clover try to accelerate and cut me off while honking and giving my family the finger. After safely completing my pass, no thanks to the clover, we continued on home and saw him in my rearview eventually stop honking and return to crawling down the road. That kind of clover behavior just boggles my mind, because for as much as the extol saaaaaafety, that kind of clover driving is extremely unsafe.

  9. I blame this behavior entirely on government and its stupid, destructive rules, which we have hammered into us from the time we’re old enough to pay attention to what Dad is doing in the car. Humans have an uncanny ability to cooperate peacefully when left alone. The clover in question honestly believes that driving is a zero-sum race, where your gain comes only at his expense.

    • Hi Roland,

      Yup – well-said. It baffles me. When someone passes me… who cares? Why would I get mad about it? I may be a hairless ape, but I am not a poo-flinging ape!

      • eric, same thing for me. I could care less what speed(ok, I nearly ran over a car doing 30 mph on I-20 when the traffic was doing 80….and saw a guy in a new Chevy pickup pulling a car trailer with another new pickup who nearly lost it whipping around her since he never considered anyone going that slow)anyone travels….with that exception which is mighty dangerous. If somebody passes me at 100 mph I am impressed they’re able to avoid all the highway men looking for victims. I flat don’t get it when somebody speeds up to block me or the ones who go around me and slow down. This is a very good reason for truckers to have dash cams. Just ask a trucker and he’ll probably tell you of days when he’s had a dozen cars do the dash and brake on him. Sometimes it’s like there’s a large contingent of people with a death wish.

      • On surface streets the majority of the times someone passes me they will be slowing me down shortly thereafter. Also when I am bicycling people pass in dangerous and pointless manners. Just last night I am approaching a red signal and am on a 35mph street with homes and a park. So what happens? Someone once again accelerates to 50mph to pass me and then stop at the red signal. I pulled along side, stopped, and made my right on red turn.

        Pass me courteously and I never see you again? Fine by me.

  10. Hi Eric,

    Your Clover encounter reminded me of a similar experience that my sister and her husband had with a slow driver. A driver pulled out in front of them and then drove roughly 20 mph in a 35 mph zone. My brother in law followed for a block or so and, when it was clear the driver wasn’t going to speed up, BIL signaled and then moved around the slower driver. Problem solved.

    A few moments later, they noticed a vehicle slowly coming alongside them and both of them looked over to see a very elderly man with his middle finger extended towards them, shaking like a leaf. When their initial disbelief wore off, they were laughing so hard, that they could barely keep driving.

    Thanks for all you do.

  11. This is going to become a bigger issue as the population ages. You didn’t say, but I’ll bet Clover wasn’t in his 20s, right? Clover probably grew up during prime wartime, either WW2 or Korea, and was fed a constant diet of statist claptrap about law and order being the only thing holding back chaos. By crossing the double-yellow, you’re no different than draft dogging hippies or illegal aliens. How dare you! Wise Uncle put that line on the road for a reason, and you just ignore it.

    My aunt has lived longer than anyone in my dad’s family has ever lived. Dad is a close second. Aunt and uncle have given up driving and recently moved into a very nice assisted living facility. People go to her now. Mom wants to sell the house and move into something manageable, but dad is hell bent on staying in the house. Of course he still drives and constantly complains about all the other drivers, especially big trucks. If I’m in a vehicle with them, I’m driving or I’m not going. A friend recently had a stroke and really wants to get back behind the wheel. He can’t really understand road signs, so that’s off the table, but he absolutely hates living in the assisted living home and really wants to get back to his house out in the woods. But that’s just not going to happen.

    As I watch people around me age, I wonder if Hunter S Thompson had the right idea. Then again, if you just take life as it comes and treat change as an experience (like my aunt and uncle), maybe that’s better. For sure rearing up and resisting personal life changes (like my father) is probably the wrong answer.

    • You say, “treat change as an experience”, as regards to getting older and I would like to agree. However, what I see (I’ll play amateur psychoanalyst here…) is that hanging on to “things” such as your living quarters, activities you do, etc., is all about hanging on to youth and vitality. In your mind, you will remain youthful should you remain in your house, continue to drive a car, etc. One thing that I see is that, as a man, you (to mean your ego…) want to have an ever-expanding sphere of influence. I think for most guys that means having a nice house, material things, and wealth. We spend our whole lives trying to growth these types of things. When having to reduce these things (and thereby your “footprint” on the world) is akin to giving up your youth or manhood. Hopefully, me having recognized this, I will be able to deal with it like you have said in your post.

      • To be fair, dad’s spent three quarters of his life in that house, so I get it. He’s been driving longer than that. His world is his routine, and changing that is his biggest fear. That and the big pile ‘o stuff he’s accumulated for no reason other than for accumulation.

        Like you, I intend to remember his experience and do my best to avoid repeating it.

        • When my father-in-law died the “800-got junk” people took 2 dumpster loads of stuff from his basement and garage; my sister and I filled a dumpster with similar stuff a couple years after that when my dad died. I think people of that generation who grew up during the Depression and WWII have a particularly hard time letting go of stuff since they faced scarcity in their formative years. In any case I decided I don’t really want my kids having to fill up a dumpster with my stuff (see George Carlin’s rant on “stuff”) after I check out so I’ve been gradually getting rid of my junk to the point I can actually walk around the basement without banging my shins on something ?.
          Still got a ways to go but it took me 44 years in this house to accumulate it so it’s still a work in progress.

          • Mike, I had a similar idea cross my mind a few years ago. I didn’t want anyone rummaging through my junk so I started going through it myself. I found the best way to deal with it is to prioritize what’s most important all the way down to garbage. After taking the garbage to the dump, I have a garage/yard sale, and end up giving as much of it away as I can. The rest goes to the thrift store. What’s left is the stuff I actually use regularly. I also noticed that if I need something that I gave away, there us a momentary feeling of regret that almost immediately dissipates. When you don’t have a bunch of junk, it’s easier to find what you do have.

            • So true shnarkle, so much time I’ve spent digging through piles of junk to find a particular part it would’ve been way faster (and less frustrating) to just scoot down to the local hardware store and buy what I needed.

          • The Carlin bit on stuff is front and center, as is the show American Pickers, when I see that there’s a buildup of stuff in the garage. I’ve done several purges and trips to the dump/recycler since buying a home. Every time it gets a little easier to do.

            As I age I realize the only thing worth collecting is experience and memory. Stuff doesn’t make you rich, especially if you never sell it.

            • The problem I have is that after I throw something out I eventually need it. I also tend to need things stores don’t stock or when the stores are closed.

              I’ve even saved stuff other people threw out and then used it to fix something for them.

        • RK, I see some of this as your problem. Why should he want to change what he’s always done? I understand it.

          Recently I was leaving the Texas Workforce Commission building when my phone rang. I was moving so I just hit the headset and answered. This woman says she’s from Indeed.com or some such entity and had some trucking jobs I might be interested in. Just a phone call that might be beneficial to me and her both so I was nice and helped her help me. She wanted to confirm I was a legal citizen to which she took a “yes” as good as gold. Of course once with your SSN and what not it would be easy to confirm or deny. Then she asked what year I graduated from high school or got my GED. I said “1968” and the cellphone went to that sound when you ‘ve been disconnected. I wasn’t all that amused but managed a laugh to myself.

          About Wed or so of this week I get another call from a man, the same sort of thing, he thinks he can hook me up with a job and I suspect what’s coming. Yep, it was the same line about being a legal citizen and then what year did I graduate high school. I said loudly, nineteen sixty eight and there was that immediate disconnect sound. I had it on speakerphone so the wife got to hear it too. I just broke out laugh and said “Naw, there’s no such thing as age discrimination”.

          But there really is and insurance companies are in the fore with policies that keep anyone over 65 from driving a truck and many other jobs.

          They don’t take into account individuality nor anything else. Hell, I run 10 miles a day, benchpress 300 lbs. in reps of 30 and swim across the bay and back every day. Since I’m in west Texas the swimming across the bay thing might ring false. Ok, so it’s all bullshit. But I can climb over a load, load up equipment you have to operate under it’s own power, sling chains and straps and know a million ways to skin a cat the other guys never heard of. Put a truck owner in the cab with me and the first thing he’ll notice is I treat it like it’s my own. I do something not often seen anymore, I change gears with no scratch and “roll” into the throttle instead of using that go pedal as a on/off switch. I’m just like I always have been, easy on equipment.

          Insurance companies don’t have a clue about this sort of thing. Probably I’m ready to fall down and not get up in their mind.
          MIB, stuff is good. I’ve been cleaning in the barn and have come across some great finds. Every time I go to the store room, or for at least a while, I come across more mags. Hell, I’m swimming in mags now, most that I can still use and some more obscure. I came across(and then misplaced)a couple bandoliers to hold 40 rounds of stripper clips per pocket with half a dozen or more pockets…and they’ll actually hold twice that much. I used to double load two of them, crossed and tear across the county with those and a belt bandolier for handgun rounds plus the handgun and long gun(AR)with two back to back 40 round mags…..loaded. Probably I can no longer do that or at least not for nearly s long but the longer I do it and the more I carry the longer I’ll be able.

          Oh, I have to draw myself up short now and then and remember it’s not all muscle anymore….and that gets easier to do when ankles and legs and tendons and shoulder and elbow joints remind you of limits. But it still doesn’t mean I don’t want to truck.

          • Boyfriend suggested I start putting my first and middle initial + last name on my resume on those job sites, I get a lot more recruiter hits now that they don’t realize I’m actually a very experienced chick in IT and they’re always taken back when we first connect on the phone.

            With all of your work experience I really don’t see how inquiring about your graduation year is even relevant or legally acceptable. My mom had a few part time jobs and regular school volunteer work like administrative support shit and didn’t get her GED until she was like..over 50. What if you fucked with them and took the GED test in the near future to say you received it recently? Or would that look worse. Not sure what the truck driver requirements are…or if you’re allowed to get your GED if you already have a diploma.

          • Experience can’t be quantified on a spreadsheet. And with the wholesale changes we continue to see in the workplace, adapting to change gets a premium. No, it’s not ageism per say, but it seems the perception is that old workers are set in their ways and can’t be trained on the electronic systems.

            To which I shout “balderdash!” Most of us have been dealing with computers since the early 1980s. Many helped build these systems and suffered thought the horrible first generation systems. The stuff we have today has problems, but there’s only so many ways to fill out a form, and we’ve been though them all. If anything we might grouse about how the old command line and text based systems were a little faster for data entry, but so what? Who wants to work faster anyway? (one thing I’ve embraced from the millennials is that fast isn’t necessarily in their vocabulary)

          • Phone co-op had a big contractor laying fiber optic across our place about a week ago. I stayed out there with them all day to make sure my water and electric lines didn’t get ripped up and to generally help out and visit. Near the end of the day, the foreman offered me a job! I don’t think he realized how old I am and I told him I couldn’t work 70 hours a week. But I watched carefully and jumped in and lent a hand wherever I could see it might be helpful when none of his guys were right there. Apparently, most guys have to be TOLD what to do and then told over and over and over.

            • A few months back we were adding on to a location and it needed about 5′ in depth by another 50′. They watered it heavily and this was just ripped and pushed up limestone so it was a mess. I was trying to get some close to the edge but where I was headed hadn’t really been rolled and packed properly so about 4′ from the edge it sorta gave way and sucked the trailer in. No way I was getting out in that soft and slush crap so I didn’t spin the tractor down trying and got the blade man back there. He’s a young guy and luckily, it’s a big machine. There was a single 3/8″ chain on site, not nearly the size to pull that truck out with a single length. I had the blade man back up real close, took the tow eye out of the truck and used that pocket to run my chain through after I had removed the clevis I then put back on. I got the rippers real close and started threading the chain around the stock the rippers were mounted on. Another guy my age got down there and started helping me but he didn’t understand it either. I ended up with 4 chains between the rippers and trucks since it was all sliding to put equal tension on the 4 runs. I then had the blade operator lift the rippers as high as they’d go and then pull up slowly so each length had equal strain making sure they’d all slip together. Everybody there was shaking their heads and the guy that helped me said “I don’t know what you’re doing” and the blade man said “I don’t have a clue what you’re doing”. I asked him if he knew why a block and tackle would lift so much weight with obviously too small rope and he shook his head no.

              Once it was all pulled up tight I told him to power it up and go at it easy and lay into it more till we moved. With the old truck doing everything it could and the blade spinning tires and hunkering down, it came out and once we’d made a foot I knew we had it. We got up on the hard stuff and I broke it all down and replace the tow eye and went for another load.

              The point being, I hadn’t just awakened that morning and gone to work, I took a lifetime of doing that with me. There isn’t any substitute for experience. It was a shame there weren’t any good oilfield hands there to appreciate it although one guy did say “I don’t know how you did that”. Not an hour later another truck got stuck the same way. I got on the location just in time to see them pickup up the two halves of that chain and the truck driver getting out. I unloaded and met the big loader coming down the road to get that truck out. They watched everything I did and didn’t learn a shittin thing. I hung my head, I hung my head.

              • They have been government schooled and probably grew up in an urban environment 8Southman. We both grew up in rural areas. I learned some things working for farmers, and part of my Army training as a tank mechanic included vehicle recovery operations. We learned about the use of snatch blocks, cables, and chains. We also had to upright an overturned 53 ton tank with an M-88A1 tracked recovery vehicle using its overhead boom and the winch. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M88_Recovery_Vehicle

                • They grew up rural…..sorta….but not farm boys. They had never had to use what was on hand, just call for a dozer or crane. It’s the NEW oilfield.

              • You’re not alone in the head hanging eight, it’s painful out there. Try to explain stuff to people on the job and ya quickly realize it’s pointless, they don’t wanna learn it, just want someone to clean up their mess for ’em.

  12. Americans used to believe in freedom.

    Now Americans would need to be mentally ill to think tyranny won’t get worse.

    Who would have thought in 1980 that the USA would soon have curfews, gun bans, NSA wiretapping, checkpoints, forfeiture, the end to the right to silence, free speech bans, torture, kill lists, no fly lists, searches without warrants, private prisons, mandatory minimums, 3 strikes laws, DNA databases, CISPA, SOPA, NDAA, IMBRA, FBAR, FATCA, TSA groping, secret FISA courts, and Jade Helm?

    During the Wild West in the US, everyone could carry guns, businesses were not licensed, no one had Social Security numbers, there were no sales, income, or property taxes, and drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling, and prostitution were legal.

    There was little government, yet people lived and had freedom.


    The government today is regulating every area of everyone’s life.

    The government wants to tell us what to do, what to think, where to live, how to live, what to wear, and what to eat. Saying you live in a free country with a straight face is difficult when everything is illegal.

    How can anyone take the moral high ground on anything when we are all criminals?

    In the US, your body is not your body, your property is not your property, and your kid is not your kid.

    Government is not the solution to problems. Government IS the problem.

    Alcohol prohibition failed. The Soviet Union failed.


    Anyone who supports the police state is just a tool for the elites.

    Too bad Americans are surrendering liberty so easily.

    Why did the USA fight for freedom against the British, Hitler, and Saddam if America just ended up as a police state? All those American soldiers died in vain.

    The elites are trying to weaken and divide Americans by race, gender, handicap, penalizing hard work, encouraging welfare use, and pushing immorality while using fear, terrorism, drugs, false flags, discrimination, hate speech, Russian propaganda, and fake news laws, and wars on cash to make Americans give up their free speech rights, religious freedom, guns, right to silence, privacy, property, right to trials, freedom from torture, and the freedom from extrajudicial assassination.

    Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    Wake up.


    Pass the word.

    • The sad thing is that there’s a significant portion of the population that honestly believes the current administration is the equivalent of Hitler. I can almost understand why gays might believe that, given some of legal issues brought about by aids in the 1980s, but to imply that there’s a final solution in play is absurd. If history tells us anything it is that the purges come from the left, not the right. And remember the conservative Democrats only went Republican because of Nixon’s “southern strategy,” and LBJ’s great society program.

      It will be interesting to see what happens the day after this election. Will the media continue their “Trump==Hitler” policy? If the Democrats pick up a few seats will things go back to normal? The No Agenda show podcast posits that the entire Trump thing is just to shore up the Democrat party and get the house of representatives under the Dems. It sure seems like it to me. But then again, they also figure it’s all about the CIA trying to manipulate the population too.

    • Libertarian, all very true, except the part about passing it around. It’s been around a few dozen times, and the vast majority of sheeple in the US are quite content with their enslavement to the oligarchs. Whining about it is NOT going to change their minds.

      Let’s just take a look at you for example. You’re awake. You know the truth, and yet what good does it do to tell someone else if you’re not doing anything, but complaining about it? Now that we’re all up to speed, do you really think writing to your congressman or leading a revolt is going to fix these problems? History indicates that it will not do any good.

      Who were the smart ones in Nazi Germany? Who were the smart ones in Zimbabwe? Were the smart ones they who complied by getting onto those trains to concentration camps? They all had their papers in order. Do you have your papers in order? Waking up to the reality is useless if one doesn’t take action. If your actions are no different than those who are asleep, then what does it matter if you’re awake? Those who are asleep are far better off in that they don’t know what’s going to happen. They’re blissfully oblivious and are much more likely to enjoy their lives right to the end.

      • A fair number of Jews left Germany when they saw what was happening. One of whom was this smart guy named Einstein.

        I have to wonder if the people fleeing north Africa and the Middle East for Europe will contribute to society the way Dr. Einstein did? They certainly are the smart ones as long as the EU forces them on member countries (along with stipends, homes and chocolate chip cookies).

    • Libertarian, I can answer your question. In the 1980s, the people who thought we would have gun bans, curfews, etc. were the people who thought we’d loose the cold war because, at that time, only full communism was capable of denying so many natural rights. Makes me wonder if we really won after all???

  13. Speaking of clovers, one left a cowardly butthurt little note on my windshield at Walmart the other weekend, I didn’t realize it until getting into my car and looking ahead only to see “you should be more careful” in shaky old man font looking back at me, didn’t read past that just crumpled it up, tossed it out…piece of crap clovers leaving litter around.. Unbeknownst to the fogie (because they didn’t want to have a chat like adults) it is exactly because of clovers like those that I am the most careful; He shouldn’t have been blocking the left lane and then impeding the right following a light that’s known to cause congestion ahead in the quarter mile before the shopping center–And hilariously enough there was no aggression involved, nothing escalated, I wasn’t tailgating, there was traffic and he was just being a discourteous nazi tool.

    Eric, can we design a clear decal with an EPautos link and/or QR code to the What’s A Clover page to stick above my windshield wipers, I’ll gladly pay monies for a nice one.

    • Hi Moose,

      Clovers are shocked – shocked! – by black swans like us who do not hew to the script. It makes them very, very upset!

      Ping me via email about the clear deal – I love the idea but have no clue how to go about it. Can you help?

  14. Hi Eric, Did he see you before you passed him? Perhaps you scared him, which would be his problem, not yours, since he should expect other cars to arrive. Once, I was leaving a business with an empty semi trailer. I had to make a right turn out of a narrow driveway onto a 2 lane highway with shoulders. I saw a mini-truck approaching, but he was easily far enough away that I had plenty of time to swing the tractor wide into his lane briefly until the trailer cleared the drive. Only the nose crossed the yellow line and I was fully back into my lane in about 3 seconds. From quite a good distance away, the driver locked his brakes up and his truck went a little sideways before he let off of his brakes. He had enough time to speed back up, crank down his window, stick his arm up into the air, and flip me the bird. The happened in eastern Oklahoma mountains, and the guy looked like Jesse Duke on the Dukes of Hazard TV show. Too bad I didn’t have the same horn as the General Lee had.

  15. There are statutes in the vehicle code of virtually every State that expressly forbid intentionally using one’s vehicle to obstruct other traffic. This also includes interfering with ingress and egress of highway ramps. These people become control freaks on the road because they have no control over anything else, including themselves. It isn’t even a case of them trying to be vigilantes, it’s mostly their own impotence and the ability to threaten strangers with their automobile. As crimes of passion increase, so will the attempts by the “Authorities” to control peoples emotions rather than their actions, or is that not becoming all too obvious?

  16. What were you driving during this Eric? I frequently run into distracted drivers in the fast lane and then move over to the right lane to pass. Once they see me next to them they sometimes will take off and then slowly i catch up again as they get distracted again. I like to go 75-80 in a 55 highway that is really more like a 70-80 highway. I’m driving a 05″ odyssey most of the time too. When i had my wrx i’d easily just go 100 to pass these clovers then slow down to 80.

      • Maybe he was upset you were breaking the unwritten rule of driving that hybrid like a little old lady.

        Though one of my little old lady neighbors (RIP) drove a Hummer 2. I kid you not, she LOVED that truck, she was a bad ass!

        • I get this shit all the time in a truck. Move out to go around and they’ll speed up or if you get past them, pull out, speed up(had this happen thousands of times) pull over right in front of you and then slow down.

          There’s no understanding it. I had a woman with an small SUV full of kids do this 3 times to me one day. I was operating with the cruise and my truck was speed limited to 70 so she was free to go at least 5 mph than me. The 3rd time she went around me she had to slam on the brakes for her exit and I damn near hit her. Insanity abounds out there. She may have missed her dose of Zoloft that day or simply needed a higher dose.

          I’ve even had people let me get almost around them on 2 lanes and then speed up and pace me so I couldn’t get back into the lane and had it continue to the point I was scared someone was going to come over the hill and we’d have a wreck. I simply turn on the signal and slowly move back into the lane. Amazingly, every time that’s happened they’ve managed to hit their brakes and not get pushed off the road. It’s about a crazy a thing as somebody could do, get in a pissing contest with 80,000+ lbs. of big rig.

          • Years ago I was driving a company truck with a governor. Some clown had been blocking me for over 50 miles. I forget where this was. It was either New Mexico, or Arizona. There’s this place going south where it starts a rapid descent, a few truck turn outs for lost brakes, and as we started down this awesome hill, I saw my chance to be rid of this clown forever. I tossed it into Georgia overdrive and half a mile later my grill was blocking his entire rear window right before I flew by him in the opposing shoulder. I was apexing the turns just to keep it upright. By the time I got to the bottom he was nowhere in sight.

            I did the same thing in California a few years later but wasn’t so lucky. I had to slam on the brakes a couple of times and just after I got onto the freeway, someone honked their horn to let me know my brakes were on fire. Actually I was pretty fortunate; they weren’t my brakes.

            • I’ve had Georgia OD almost be my end and it’s somebody whose jerked your chain for 50 miles that makes you desperate enough to use it….and it’s almost never a good idea unless you can see no oncoming traffic for a good ways the the hill isn’t very long.

              I had used up my brakes on the downhill run from Frederiscksburg Tx. to Comfort. I had regained very little braking by the time I got to I 10 so I just whistled underneath and did everything I could to stop almost in Comfort. Brake smoke enveloped the rig so I tore off again to get more cooling(my truck), found a wide place and did a u turn and tore back to I 10 trying to cool the brakes.

              I’d been half asleep or may nine tenths when I realized I had fucked up. Had to use it to keep from blowing my new engine and went from barditch to barditch before finally getting some not so curvy road.

              My heart was still pounding when I got to San Antone. It would have been Miller time if it hadn’t been 2 am. Stopped for fuel and do a walk around. I was still vibrating.

              I quit trucking for a long time(about 1980) during that 55mph bs. It was killing me financially and costing a great deal of fuel more than when the speed limit was 70.

  17. I would have assumed they were having a heart attack or stroke and were honking and flashing to get my attention to stop and help. I mean, driving that slow indicates a medical issue, right? (Yes, I would have discreetly unholstered before approaching, just in case their issue was mental rather than medical.)


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