Morons in Miami (and Other Cities and Countries, but Mostly Miami): Analysis of Dave Barry’s “Road Warrior” While driving on any road in America, and perhaps any other road on earth, motorists are not calm, not cool, not collected. They disobey the rules of the road by driving slowly in the left-hand lane; they disobey the rules of the road by trailing in extremely close vicinity behind the drivers ahead of them (so close that their front bumper occasionally collides with the alleged normal driver’s rear).
Oblivious “MORONS” (76) would be a well-deserved name for these people according to Dave Barry and the “opinion-makers in the news media” (75). In the essay “Road Warrior,” Barry intertwines the use of a humorous and sarcastic tone as well as exaggeration to construct his argument that rage is an unnecessary, yet common, issue on the roads (in Miami) and beyond. Barry’s comical and satirical tone indicates the absurdity of the anger and hostility felt while traveling the highways.
Beginning with a completely bizarre statement, Dave Barry writes: “If you do much driving on our nation’s highways, you’ve probably noticed that, more and more often, bullets are coming through your windshield” (75). Unless on an on an episode of Cops, Barry’s statement is truly fabricated. He explains that this effect of Road Rage is caused mainly by “the realization that many…motorists have the same brain structure as a cashew” (76). Seeming irrational, Barry reveals that even the National Institute of Traffic Safety believes that most motorists are MORONS.
To continue his sardonic attitude, Dave Barry declares that these MORONS “drive in the left-hand…lane, even though they are going slower than everybody else” (76). In Barry’s mind, there is a possibility that “[these moronic drivers] belong to some kind of religious cult that believes the right lane is sacred and must never come in direct contact with tires,” or there is another possibility that at one point, while driving in the left lane, “their favorite song came on the radio;” since then “they’ve driven over there…in hopes that the radio will play that song again” (76).
Barry’s rib-tickling thoughts of Road Rage transform into sidesplitting views of Shopping Cart Rage and Way Too Many Product Choices Rage. He clarifies that Shopping Cart Rage is generated by “the same people who always drive [slowly] in the left-hand lane” (77). These people accidentally place their cart in such a way that it “[blocks] the entire aisle” (77). Yet again, Barry utilizes his ysterical tone and jokes that “if [the government] really wants to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States, [they] should employ Miami residents armed with shopping carts…to block the Mexican border” (77). Way Too Many Product Choices Rage adds to the congestion in supermarkets. Barry personally knows that this rage results from the fact that “every product…comes in an insane number of styles and sizes” (77).
He highlights a recent situation in which he needed Tropicana Orange Juice: I had to decide whether I wanted Original, HomeStyle, Pulp Plus, Double Vitamin C, Grovestand, Calcium, or Old-Fashioned; I also had to decide whether I wanted the 16-ounce, 32-ounce, 64-ounce, 96-ounce, or six-pack size…I would have called Tropicana and complained, but I probably would have wound up experiencing Automated Phone Answering System Rage (“…For questions about Pulp Plus in the 32-ounce size, press 23. For questions about Pulp Plus in the 64-ounce size, press 24. For questions about…”) (77).
Here, Dave Barry demonstrates how too many choices can easily lead to anger. When all the heart desires is a container of Tropicana Orange Juice and thirty-five choices exist, all different styles and amounts, the heart becomes confused. In the end, confusion leads to frustration and Way Too Many Product Choices Rage. Barry hints that in the supermarket, Way Too Many Product Choices Rage is a serious problem: “If you do much” shopping in today’s supermarkets, “you’ve probably noticed that, more and more often,” hazardously thrown cereal boxes are flying through the air (75).
These boxes are thrown by MORONS (the same people who perfectly position their shopping carts to block the entire aisle). Still remaining sarcastic and witty, Barry adds in a little exaggeration. He first labels himself as one of the few “Miami drivers who actually” uses the passing lane correctly (76). Barry writes mockingly that while wandering the highways he “[finds himself] constantly…trapped behind people drifting along on the interstate at the speed of diseased livestock, while at the same time [he is] being tailgated and occasionally bumped from behind by” unstable adolescents and their sound systems (76).
Other drivers are too busy “[holding] family reunions, [barbequing] pigs, [and playing] volleyball” to notice their slow speed (76). His replica rage begins to surface when Barry complains that “nobody EVER signals or yields, and people are CONSTANTLY cutting [others] off” (77). Creating a unique hyperbole, his capitalization illustrates the rage felt by many drivers on the highway and in parking lots. While searching for a spot to park, drivers usually “see people get into their car, clearly ready to leave, so [they] stop [their] car and wait for [the person] to vacate the spot, and…nothing happens! (77) At this point, Dave Barry describes extreme Parking Lot Rage as the point when the waiting driver shrieks: “WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING IN THERE?!! COOKING DINNER? ” (77) The capital letters and repeated punctuation create a successful overemphasis of Parking Lot Rage. The so-called normal (not insane) response to a dilemma similar to this would almost certainly consist of nothing but the question: What’s taking so long? Dave Barry effectively proves that road rage is avoidable, while still confirming its inevitability.
While pulling into their driveways, motorists are calm, cool, collected. They become relieved to be off the dangerous roads where MORONS tailgate while idiots drive too slowly. Dave Barry pointed out in his essay that “there are many causes for rage in [the] modern world” (77). He makes one last witty and contradictory statement by explaining how all drivers need to “avoid unnecessary violence” in order to “keep [their] cool” (77). And what if they don’t listen? “[He] will kill [them]” (77).