Willie Nelson's heartfelt croonings aside, being on the road can be pretty damn boring. Seasoned road trippers often pass the time and miles playing car games. Some people look for license plates from particular states or play some other variant of I spy. Interstate intellectuals play word games like Ghost or Anagrams. I mock stuff.
Provided you have a mathematically significant amount of wit, an equally appreciable mean streak, and at least one other passenger with a similar set of virtues, the open road should provide ample mocking fodder. The world is fantastically full of stupidity, and a lot of it naturally gravitates to the highways. Sound depressing? It's not -- it's hours of wholesomely pretentious entertainment just waiting to happen.
Don't believe me? How about an example: Of the many mock-worthy things one can see on the road (poorly worded signs, hitchhikers who seem to be intentionally dressing the part of the nomadic axe-wielding maniac, absurd roadside attractions so wholly un-roadside-attractive that their very existence provides infinitely more fun than actually stopping to see them ever could, New Jersey), my personal favorite has to be RVs.
What's so mockery-deserving about RVs? Well, if you really have to ask, then mocking probably isn't the game for you, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're just giving me a hard time. Fine. Be that way.
RVs are chock-full of potential mockage; from their peculiar odors (thanks, chemical toilet!), to their stereotypical old geezer inhabitants, to the absurd wind-swept pastel paint jobs they all seem to have. But really, I don't derive much pleasure from poking fun at these attributes, popular targets though they are. If you want to spend your golden years in a big, rickety aluminum box, cruising slowly from landmark to quaint little town to landmark, then more power to you! The young people may laugh at you from their small, crushable sports cars, with their loud obnoxious music and their wild unkempt hair, but I say let them laugh! They may be hipper in form, but with your mighty road-fortress, you've found the value of function.
No, it is not the concept of the RV that I choose to spend my travel time mocking; it's the hilariously inappropriate -- or often just plain nonsensical -- names that their makers choose to christen them with. Among the best I've spotted are:
Prowler. This seems to be one of the most popular models on the road. (That, or there's one guy with a Prowler who consistently drives everywhere I do.) The name would seem to suggest that the driver (or possibly the RV itself) is some sort of predatory creature, silently stalking its way along the world's highways and byways, until it comes upon weak or exposed prey, and... pounce! Perhaps this explains all those cattle mutilations.
Raider. What, is it full of Vikings?
Bandit. Right... is anyone sensing a theme here? Why are RV manufacturers promoting an image of renegades and thieves? Why are nice elderly couples so quick to buy into this image? Are retired, RV-driving rogues behind the disappearances of every valuable item I've ever "lost"?
Intruder. I kid you not. I followed an Intruder into downtown Port Townsend just last week. What's next, the Violator? The Pillager? The Deflowerer? Honestly.
Dynasty. "See this fine burgundy interior, my eldest son? Some day, all this -- and all the awesome power and heavy responsibility that comes with it -- some day all this shall be yours."
Cougar. Last I checked, cougars were more sleek than boxy, more fast than lumbering, more fuel-efficient than... uh... fuel-inefficient, and more filled with herbivores than with shag carpets and fake wood paneling. How is this road behemoth anything like a cougar? Mammoth, Sloth, Giant Squid; any of these names would have worked. But Cougar? I think not.
Inspiring, eh? All these pale in comparison, however, to the greatest RV title it has been my honour to witness. While traveling down Highway 101 on my way from Seattle to Santa Barbara, I had the immense privilege of passing one Monterey by Cobra. A massive land-yacht of incomparable majesty, its mighty countenance left me awed and speechless for a good five seconds, after which I giggled uncontrollably for several miles.
How did the Monterey come to be so entitled? Vruba, who had the "good fortune" of being along for the ride, suggested that it sounded like an exotic means of travel: France by bicycle, Budapest by blimp, Monterey by cobra.
Vruba's mother, upon hearing of the encounter, proposed that it might be the name of some English township. "I used to live in Stoke on Trent, but last year my work took me to Monterey by Cobra."
Personally, when I reflect upon my fateful meeting with Monterey by Cobra, I picture an office somewhere. A gruff-looking man, sporting many tattoos and missing an eye, sits working at a drafting board. Another man, this one dressed in a moderately-priced business suit, enters:
Suit Guy: The new sales figures are in. The Monterey is our most popular model since the Vandalizer. Good work, Cobra!
Cobra: Thanks, boss! Hssssss!
In the interest of making this a vaguely factual write-up, I was hoping to include specifications for the Monterey by Cobra, but I was not able to find the definitive model information on-line. If you happen to be the owner of a Monterey by Cobra, please /msg me. Extra points if you are Cobra.