AT LEAST HANGOVERS GO AWAY (10/2009)

AMONG THE MANY SALIENT LESSONS 20th Century America can teach us, two points stand out.

ONE: At any moment a communist is liable to leap out of your Fresca can, snatch 95% of your net worth, seduce your impressionable wife and daughters with his Red rhetoric and Red man-organ, establish universal healthcare – then abscond back to the Red inferno that spawned him (asexually).

TWO: Outlawing the production, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages is perhaps the dumbest move our government has ever made.

If Prohibition didn’t inspire the maxim that good intentions pave the road to Satan & his Socialist Army, it should have. Thanks to the Nineteenth Amendment, organized crime became a lucrative, national enterprise. Meanwhile xenophobes could legally harass European immigrants, many of whose cultures valued spirited drink. The Ku Klux Klan was particularly vocal in its support of Prohibition…at least, when klansmen weren’t too busy sleeping off a drunk.

And don’t forget. If white males couldn’t find a speakeasy, they had to woo women – and worse, dance – while stone-cold sober.

Thankfully, most of Prohibition’s aftermaths aren’t what they used to be. The mafia and KKK are but husks of their former selves. And Non-Hispanic Whites like myself can legally purchase liquid courage before approaching the ladies (though the efficacy of said fuel is debatable).

However, there’s one Prohibition side-effect that, instead of floundering, has progressively gained more and more prestige over time. And with each passing year, it continues to get worse. On an exponential scale.

I’m talking, of course, about NASCAR.

Now, before most of my native North Carolina sets out to boil me in Pennzoil, allow me to make a critical distinction. I am not dissing racing as a whole.

Who I am dissing is a particular subtype of NASCAR fans.

***

At its core, auto racing is a niche sport. It’s a natural outlet for anyone interested in the inner workings of vehicles. And with the exception of NASCAR, all auto racing circuits remain that way. For instance, the Indianapolis 500 – which first took place in 1911, long before Bill France Sr. first consolidated NASCAR – still maintains a specialized fanbase. Even Danica Patrick discussing her beaver in GoDaddy ads during the Super Bowl has done nothing to change that.

Drag racing also maintains a cult following. Ditto motorcycle racing. The lone exception is stockcar racing – which traces its roots to none other than Prohibition.

Huzzah, Volstead. If there’s no “Noble Experiment,” alcohol five-oh squads don’t chase poor farmers-turned moonshine runners across the Appalachian Mountains. And maybe, just maybe, SeƱor France doesn’t organize these crack drivers and create a mass media juggernaut.

And, in a tantalizing alternate reality, absence of the NASCAR empire means legions of suburbanite knuckleheads aren’t (pardon the pun) "driven" to masquerade as racing diehards.

Poseurs + NASCAR = PoseuRacers.

As a species, PoseuRacers are not complex. Like many people with Southern roots, they’re often a generation or two removed from farm living. They might even have family who still live in rural areas. So, technically, vestiges of the Deep South still course through a PoseuRacer’s veins. Having grown up in cushy suburbia, however, he understands that his (unpaved) street cred is lacking. Thus when a PoseuRacer enters young adulthood, he decides the acme of coolness is to engage in behaviors such as:

* Adopting an exaggerated Southern drawl, which will disappear whenever the PoseuRacer interacts with an authority figure
* Acquiring a forced taste for smokeless tobacco (a.k.a. "chew" and "dip")
* Adorning one’s bedroom wall with a "rebel flag," while failing to realize it was not the official flag of the Confederate States of America
* Being able to sing along, verbatim, with the oeuvres of Lynyrd Skynyrd and David Allan Coe – including the latter’s X-rated albums
* Espousing any and all things NASCAR

Some PoseuRacers will grow out of this callow, patronizing phase. Many, however, will continue this identity crisis throughout college, and even into adulthood.

PoseuRacers, you know who you are. Moreover, you oughta know what you ain’t.

***

Slam on brakes and pop the clutch, you say. How dare I accuse you of being a bourgeoisie bandwagoneer? Fret not, my friends. I now present you with a quick quiz that will determine if you’re NASCAR fan...or NASCAR fraud.

Ready...Set...Start yer engin’s!

1) A rear differential gives what to Kasey Kahne?
A. Extree’ horsepower
B. Differentiation among the shapes, sizes and suppleness of his Racer-Chasers’ posterior regions
C. Distribution of torque through his axle to his back wheels
D. F#*K KASEY, YEEAAAH JUUNNYYYERRRR!

2) Davey Allison & his cohort of drivers were nicknamed what?
A. Extree’ horsepower
B. The Georgia Satellites
C. The Alabama Gang
D. Co-hort? You sayin’ he was a ho-mo?

3) Dale Senior’s last win came at what track?
A. Daytona
B. Extree’ horsepower
C. Talladega
D. Hey Bo, thaayyt’s ‘Daga to you!

4) Why did Dick Trickle keep a hole in his racing helmet?
A. Extree’ horsepower
B. ‘Cawse Diiiiick Triiiiiiickle rules! Diiiiick Triiiiiickle!
C. The hole was in the crotch of his pants, duh.
D. So he could smoke cigarettes during races

5) If you were even remotely offended by the suggestion of being a PoseuRacer…
A. You are, in fact, a PoseuRacer
B. Usted es un PosueRacer
C. Tawwwk Amurrricaann!
D. Extree’ horsepower

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