A man who'd spent more time in his car than in bed with his ex-wife, or with anyone else's wife, for that matter, finally snapped last month on the interchange between South New Haven and Cooperville.
Fortunately for the driving public, the commuter’s snapping was preempted by a head-on collision with a Tyson Foods double-trailer semi, driven by Erv Went, who had officially retired but remained behind the wheel. As he put it, “I enjoy bantering with the boys on the loading dock--and the smell of chickens before slaughter. I'm addicted to it."
If he snapped anything, Erv Went was one to snap wishbones.
Authorities identified Erv Went's victim only as Snapper John Doe. The impact with a Tyson Foods double-trailer semi had lodged the ID in his wallet deep into his pelvic cavity.
Snapper John Doe had become yet another statistic of driver burn-out.
For non-commuters, it is a condition characterized by (1) challenging yellow lights well after they’ve turned red, (2) running over Amazon packages flung from negligent minivans, just for the sheer sport of it, (3) repeatedly attempting, in a fury of rage, to force drivers into oncoming traffic, or (4) snapping at the radio announcer who’s only doing his job by informing the commuting public that it was now “fifteen minutes late to work, probably later if the gridlock doesn’t ease up.”
Over the years, the anonymous commuter, AKA Snapper John Doe, had developed something of a reputation with his fellow commuters before Erv Went, retired driver for Tyson Foods, had reduced him into a puree resembling a day-old vat of chicken and dumplings. Commuters knew of him because he kept a daily blog and repeated the same message: “Keep off the road you fucking morons. And learn how to drive while you’re at it!” The lack of logic notwithstanding, his message frightened a few drivers into taking Fridays off.
One befuddled commuter admitted, “Hey, I hate my life just as much as him, all jammed behind the wheel of my Volvo, my engine lights blinking, my adjustable wiper blades stuck on high. So why does he have to be such a prick about it? We’re sharing this misery together. That’s the way I see it.”
In a single post, Snapper John Doe departed from his usual threats and offered a moment of kinship with his highway motorists: “Listen, jack-asses, I share your contempt for not just the spaghetti-like maze of the interstate highway system but the deeply disturbed, cruel-beyond-all-measure, and ultimately self-destructive culture in which it was conceived, constructed, and inadequately maintained.” (Some drivers thought Snapper John Doe had plagiarized the sentence; a hateful bastard, they reasoned, was incapable of such eloquence.) Nevertheless, his progress toward bonding with fellow drivers took a giant step backward when he added, “But I share with NO ONE my contempt for you jack-asses!”
A day after the collision, forensic scientists reconstructed enough bits of twisted metal to obtain the VIN of Snapper John Doe’s vehicle. Investigators were then summoned to the home of Dak Bliddle, long-suffering traveling vacuum adjustable-filter salesman; the home, located on a summit overlooking freeways to the north and west, a trunk highway to the east, and a gravel road to the south, by all accounts, offered a dismal view--only a single tree which had died from years of exposure to vehicle emissions. Arborists suspect the tree may have been a Clanwilliam Cedar, also known by its botanical name as a Widdringtonia wallichii. (Locals preferred to call it the Wee Willy Wally Chili-Chili Tree, usually after they'd been drinking.)
When investigators searched Dak Bliddle’s home, they allegedly found several pillows rotting in the stench of maggots. Upon closer examination, the pillows turned out to be three Himalayan cats and a Pomeranian. An ID tag attached to the skeletal remains of its neck warned: “My owner is a crazy bastard. Kill him before he kills you.” A prophetic dog tag.
Having been dead for an extended period, the dog didn’t think to snap at the investigators.
Investigators eventually found the key to Dak Bliddle’s fatal accident, a journal outlining a wish list of all the potential strategies he’d been tinkering with to rid the highways, side streets, and multi-leveled thoroughfares of pesky drivers who made his life a daily commuting hell. Most of the material, unfortunately, had been soaked in dog urine and shredded by the now dead cats, rendering it partially unreadable and mostly untouchable.
Following up on the Dak Bliddle case some days later, investigators reviewed endless hours of freeway surveillance footage. Finally, they matched the VIN number to Dak Bliddle’s car, and zeroed in on him. At first he appeared to be trying to avoid detection, bent over as if up to no good, but then he straightened up, a pencil between his teeth and a notepad in one hand. He’d apparently dropped one or the other or both—in a creative moment of plotting mass carnage on asphalt--and was retrieving them when he met his fate at the hands of a Tyson Foods double-trailer semi, driven by Erv Went.
“It looked like the damn fool was trying to commit suicide by truck,” Erv said. “No one drives that bad on purpose, the damn fool.”
The surveillance camera captured the head-on collision between Dak Bliddle and Erv Went. Reporters on the scene noted that Dak Bliddle, AKA Snapping John Doe, had been reduced to a pile of unidentifiable mush.
A cub reporter for an independent station chirped, “Silver lining, everyone. No chickens were hurt!”
She cried when her editor pointed out that the chickens were hitching a ride to Tyson Foods, where their necks would be promptly snapped, then beheaded, by imported labor, plucked, eviscerated, and packaged. Days later, one package would be purchased at Walmart to a family of four: Mr. and Mrs. Brittiddlers and their lovely daughters, Esme and Jaclyn. Jaclyn would choke on a wishbone, and suffer broken ribs as her weight-lifting sister Esme, snapping a bit too hard, attempted the Heimlich maneuver on her.
The bone remained lodged in her esophagus permanently, somewhat in the same way Dak Bliddle’s wallet had been lodged in his pelvic cavity.
At the South New Haven Cemetery, Erv Went gave the eulogy at Dak Bliddle’s funeral, after reading a few news clippings for material, and ad-libbing from Doonesbury comics. Jaclyn brought flowers, started hacking, and ran home to Esme.
A few commuters also showed up, but left early to beat the traffic.