This is the piece of equipment inside an automobile, usually attached to the windshield, which allows women to look at themselves as they drive. They do this in order to make sure that no hair has come out of place and that no makeup has dissolved prematurely or become unaligned. As you pull up behind a good-looking woman, take a look at where her rear view mirror is pointed. Is it pointed at you, so that she can see who is behind her? I'm betting it is not. I'm betting that it is pointed directly at her face.

But enough of the misogynistic ramblings of an old guy who's been on the highways of America more than most. I could get into the issue of trying to teach a woman how to use the side view mirrors on a car, but I'll drop it now and try to stick 2 facts.

It is generally accepted that even though Ray Harroun might not have invented the concept, he was the first to use the rear view mirror in a competitive automobile race, and thus threw the idea on the table for automobile manufacturers back in 1911. Ray was the winner of the Indianapolis 500 that year, in his Marmon Wasp. (Isn't that a great name for a car? "I'll be by and pick you up around 8:00 in my Wasp, baby.")

1911 was also the first year for the electric self-starter which replaced that cumbersome hand crank you've seen in so many old silent movies. Many a sight gag was killed immediately when the hand crank fell out of fashion, not to mention lots of jobs in the hand crank industry. This was also around the same time that electric headlights were becoming de rigueur.

Anyway, old Ray won a whopping $10,000 that year and he is often credited with the "invention" of the rear view mirror. He readily acknowledged that he had by no means invented the concept; that he'd seen the contraption on horse-drawn taxis in Chicago and just adapted it to his racecar. Ray was born in 1879 in Pennsylvania and died in 1968. His average speed during that race back in 1911 was right around 75 MPH. Not one driver died in a fiery crash and the event was not televised. Can you believe that NASCAR is the most-viewed sport on TV these days in America? I'm not proud of every member of the Republican party, in case you wondered.

I've been rear-ended more than once in my life. (Settle down, Randofu. I'm speaking of driving cars!) Thus, I spend about as much time looking at where I've been as where I'm going when I drive. I remember the old days when American cars had rear view mirrors which wore out before their time. If you didn't replace them with a new one, you had a limp member hanging from the socket. It was almost impossible to find any adhesive or tactile substance which would hold that broken mirror in place. Somewhere around the early 1980s, the Japanese found a way to build a rear view mirror which actually lasted as long as the car probably would.

There is no other feeling quite like being stuck in traffic, at the ass end of a long line, going nowhere, and looking into your rear view mirror to see a woman putting on makeup in hers, barreling down on you at around 45 MPH. All you can do is hang on and think about how many times you want to spend visiting the Physical Therapist in order to validate that extravagant claim you're going to file.

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