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Commentary: Why I hate the Segway (courtesy of The Washington Times)

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Commentary: Why I hate the Segway



By Joe Bob Briggs



NEW YORK, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Anybody who rides around on a Segway is a mewling pantywaist passive-aggressive dork with arrested-development issues who probably saves his e-mail in tidy little folders organized with happy-face icons.


I already feel better.


I guarantee you, whoever these people are, they're the same people who buy Day-Planners and actually use them. I'd rather not invoke the Y-word here, because that would be an insult to self-respecting SUV-driving Yuppies, so I'll just say this: Anybody on a Segway should automatically be put on the same list with people who own "Titanic" on home video and order engraved Christmas cards in September. I'd just rather not have them announcing themselves so aggressively.


I've had exactly three encounters with the Segway so far: once in the post office when a guy Segwayed into the building, passed off his package like an IRS process server, then Segwayed out again; once on a crowded Church Street sidewalk, when a Segwayer came within six inches of clipping me from behind as he whooshed past on my right, creating that rollerblader startle effect; and once at Rockefeller Center, where a Segwayer was whirligigging around on the plaza like a one-man Croatian acrobatic troupe, proving to me that owning a Segway is something like being allowed to legally steal your teenager's electronically controlled rocket launcher on Christmas morning and take it to the office parking lot so your co-workers can see how quickly you can go to Defcon 4 with a striped joystick that has "Master Blaster" written on it.


Let's start with the way the thing looks. I'm sorry, people, but you're riding around on an upright canister vacuum cleaner. Think of it this way. Can you imagine a Hell's Angel riding a Segway? Let's make it easier: can you imagine anyone SMOKING while riding a Segway? (Cell phones, on the other hand: definitely. These are certainly cell phone people, but handless sets, with earplugs, so they'll be even MORE oblivious to hapless pedestrians.) This is strictly for the sort of people who, at the age of 35, decide they can't push the mower anymore and purchase a Big Hoss Lawn Tractor painted fire-truck red.


And what about the way you have to stand on the thing? Normally you only see posture like this in science fiction movies about pod people who have had their brains surgically removed. There's a straight-edge identical zombie look to all the Segwayers. Would it have been THAT big a deal to engineer the device so you could sit down on it? BUY A VESPA, for God's sake.


For some reason the Segway Human Transporter, as it is grandiosely named by inventor Dean Kamen, has so far received universally favorable press. There's a simple reason for this. Every reporter wants to ride around on it for an hour. But now that we're getting to the point where people actually fork over $5,000 to OWN one -- illegally in New York, since they haven't been approved for the sidewalk OR the street yet -- don't we need to take a look at the question: "Uh, WHY?"


If you go to the Segway website, where it tells you about the five gyroscopes equipped with sensors that check 100 times a second to determine just exactly which direction you're leaning and to prevent you from sprawling onto your keister, and all about the motors that are adjusted a thousand times per second to make it go at exactly the speed your little pinkie desires, you start to get the impression that this thing was designed for the terminally unbalanced, like a remedial cat toy for people with inner ear dysfunctions.


But my favorite part of the website is all about how much time you can save by owning one. Stating that "the average walk is 20 minutes" -- these are obviously not single moms commuting from the Bronx -- it offers two maps, one showing how far you can walk from your home in 20 minutes, the other showing how far you could be travelling on a Segway. I dutifully typed in my address in Lower Manhattan and soon discovered that I could be zipping all the way up to 23rd Street if I was willing to spend the five thou, whereas now all I can reasonably hope for is the upper reaches of Soho. I think there should be a third map, though, because listen up, people: In a TAXI we're talking about New Jersey! The TERMS of the comparison are a little skewed, don't you think? I mean, it would have been a great marketing point in, say, 1888.


So who buys a Segway? (Not counting file clerks in the Pentagon who have to travel three quarters of a mile to retrieve a document. THAT I can understand.) It's people who are too lazy to walk and ... TOO LAZY TO DRIVE.


So where do you put these people? At a top-end speed of 12 miles per hour, they're too slow for traffic lanes. They'd be mowed down by BICYCLE MESSENGERS, forget about taxis. But if you put them on sidewalks, EVEN IF THEY DON'T CLOBBER ANYBODY, the old ladies are gonna be royally hacked off. The old ladies don't even like fast WALKERS breathing down their necks. You're gonna put pod people having lectern races around the grandmas? I don't think so.


One thing that makes me very very happy about the current political debate is that most lawmakers agree that Segways should require a helmet. Since an actual motorcycle helmet would conflict with the eco-friendly coolness of the Segway experience, they're tending toward some kind of modified bicycle helmet that looks like one of those strap-on leather jobbies worn by the Fighting Horsemen of Notre Dame. Put a computer programmer in a tieless linen suit on a Segway with a leather football helmet on his head, and he looks like a fetishist on his way to the sex dungeon.


This is entirely appropriate, I think. Ridicule, in this case, is a good thing.




Joe Bob Briggs writes a number of columns for UPI and may be contacted at joebob@upi.com or through his Web site at joebobbriggs.com. Snail mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221.








hahahahahah'z omfg raotflmfao now gtfo!:lick:

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Guest imported_SecretAgentX9

i officially hate those fucking things. someone recently told me there is an official central park segway club, which really makes me want to find the upper eastside headquarters and light that bitch up. dammit, what the hell is wrong with walking 5 blocks? or riding a bike? and if you can afford 5 g's for something so stupid as the segway, just hop in a yellow cab and blend in with the environment rather than sticking out like a blistering sore thumb looking like a complete fool (not that looking like a fool has much to do with it, but rather BEING a complete fool for being on this piece of plastic shite).

i could go on for a good bit longer about this but i'd rather save it for when i actually see this geriatric pissleg club in motion. 100.

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