So the other morning I was able to attend a ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum of American History (Motto: Slavery? Internment camps? American Indians? Nope, sorry, never heard of that stuff!) where the museum was being presented with the original costumes of dummies Vince and Larry (as well as the original dummies themselves).
Remember them? The Crash Test Dummies? They used to have commercials where they would be horribly mutilated in these vicious car accidents, but they’d laugh it off, with a kind of “oh well!” attitude, then the narrator would say “You could learn a lot from a dummy.”
Those commercials were weird, because while they were cautioning people to wear seatbelts and not put on their make up while driving, or whatever, at the same time they were showing that the consequences weren’t that bad. Much like Looney Tunes cartoons, you could be burnt to a crisp one minute, walk off screen then back on, and you’d be fine, no worries.
Don’t even get me started on the Crash Test Dummies Saturday morning cartoon. Then again, if M.C. Hammer could have a cartoon where he put on a pair of magic shoes and became Hammerman, I suppose anything is possible these days.
The ceremony was very bland and dry. I would like to say that I never realized how boring talking about safety is, but…duh. Talking about safety is uber boring! Here you had a room full of suits, patting themselves on their collective back because they all thought that seatbelts and airbags are a great idea. I bet you never knew the innovations made in the world of steering columns, did you? And I bet you don’t care either. What person in their right mind would?
The actors who originally played Vince and Larry were in attendance, wearing their costumes. That was good, because when they took off the costumes later, to be available for interviews, nobody had the slightest idea who they were. It’d be like if Tim Allen’s neighbor, Wilson, suddenly showed up without a fence in front of his face. You’d be clueless!
My favorite part of the event is my favorite part of any event where I’m not just a participant: unfettered access to behind the scenes shit. I got to park in the museum staff parking lot and walk through the back hallways, (and no, I didn’t see Ben Stiller or any miniature Owen Wilsons). Everybody knows that I love museums, (what, you ain’t know?) especially Air & Space. I love the information they impart and they way they do it. What I don’t love are the little snot-nosed brats who run around and ruin my attempt at a quiet day of learned enjoyment. If I had it my way, all kids would be given duct tape to put over their mouths when they enter the building.
Once the ceremony was over, people had the opportunity to interview people they’ve never heard of before, like the guy who came up with the concept for Vince and Larry. I was thoroughly bored by this and instead checked out an exhibit about a dude trying to pull a Model T across a puddle, with his bare hands.
Ahh, the good old days. You just don’t see commitment like that anymore. Now we’ve got OnStar and AAA, and we can call them up and whine when something’s wrong with our vehicles. I mean, do people even carry winches around anymore? Not to mention how few of us have jumper cables. We’re so lazy. And now we’ve invented cars to make us even lazier. They beep when we’re backing up to something, because apparently turning one’s head just isn’t done anymore. They parallel park themselves, (though, to be honest, most women couldn’t do it anyway, so why not have the car do it for them?)
I guess eventually we’ll get those cars from Minority Report, the ones that drive themselves and allow you to turn your chair inward to talk to your passengers (because in the future everybody will be forced to carpool, even if you’re just going to the grocery store.) On the bright side, this will make drinking and driving a whole lot safer, (though a lot less fun.) And when that day comes and I try to get women drunk to have my way with them (the finest move in my arsenal of seduction) they can’t use the excuse, “but I have to drive home” because safety technology will have taken care of it. And for that we should all thank Vince and Larry.