This post is kinda weird, so bear with me.

When I was in my latter High School years, the ones when I was driving, there was a popular thing to do while driving at night. I was in the car with a friend of mine and he suddenly punched the ceiling of his car and shouted “SEX!”. Suffice it to say, this stopped the conversation cold. He told me, “whenever you see a car with one headlight, you call ‘sex’. If you call three in one night, you get laid.” The when, where and who of getting laid he didn’t specify.

Soon after it became a trend amongst me and my friends whenever we were driving in a group. It became a game – who could spot the one-headlight cars first. It was just like “slug bug”s, only no one had to get punched in the arm. I can tell you this much from my High School days, however – the “getting laid” portion didn’t work – not for me at least.

Suffice it to say that the game went a little bit nuts on our Senior Band bus trip to Canada. A few years prior Canada had passed a law requiring that all cars sold/manufactured in the country have their headlights on when running, even during the day. Consequently the law of averages wasn’t in the favor of a lot of Canuk headlights.

About a month back I noticed a car with no headlights and I instantly thought “SEX!” but I didn’t say or do it (it would probably have freaked out my Mother-In-Law in the back seat). And it occured to me – I was last in High School nearly seven years ago. Since then I’ve been to College, graduated, gotten married, gone off to the “real world”, an entire lifetime. And yet, I think I can count on my left hand the number of one-headlight cars I’ve seen in those seven years. Back in my High School years I saw dozens overnight, but few if any since. I don’t know why, and I don’t even know what to point to to guess about. I started to wonder about some theories, however, during a recent car trip back from Dallas – you can do some good thinking in a car with two sleeping women.

  1. My first two years in the Corps (Black Belt years) I wasn’t allowed to leave the dorm at night, or not very often anyway. These last few years I’ve been married and so when I come home I’m “in for the night” and I don’t go out. This would explain a little bit of the phonomena – if I don’t go out at night, I can’t see any cars – headlights or no. However, I didn’t notice it those three years in between very often, either.
  2. It was a stupid thing I did in High School. I was lucky and didn’t have a job in HS, so I didn’t have to worry about a whole lot. College was rough, academic wise, for me, so perhaps I just didn’t notice the cars. Same goes for today – I work for a living now. Perhaps I’ve just become unobservant on non-important matters.
  3. Perhaps local law is more stringent on burned out headlights. Odd that I would have never heard of this by now. By this token, isn’t it a bit odd that I owned a 1990 Lumina for eight years and never had a light burn out on it?
  4. Perhaps headlights have just gotten better as of late. Headlights may outlive the engine these days. By that logic, in my hometown people tended to have cars because they got them to their job and back, most of the people in this town are College Kids and many of them have nice new cars their parents gave them (as was the case for me).
  5. College Station, TX is mostly centralized – I live five minutes from my office, for example. Want to go to a kickass restauraunt? You could almost walk. Perhaps what kills headlights is extended uninterrupted use – short trips are fine on them (but murder on batteries). In my hometown where people have to drive thriry minutes to get to the neighbooring town because that’s where the Paper Mill is at (like my Dad, for one) you’re more likely to burn them out. When you’re hopping across town to go get liquored up, the tax on the bulbs is less. Having written that, I realize I never see too many broken bulbs in Dallas, but then I’m usually having to drive like a madman on the highways, so perhaps this is another “observation” issue.
  6. By the centralized logic, my trips are shorter. I don’t drive clear across town to go visit friends anymore – I go home to my wife. I make a quick occasional jaunt to the Albertson’s. The odds of me running into someone with a broken headlight is slim because I don’t drive much at night and when I do, it’s not for long. Even when I do drive at night for an extended period it’s usually on long highways in Texas, where there’s nary a soul around and if you are going to go driving, it won’t be with one headlight.
  7. Maybe people are just more prideful of their cars here.
  8. Finally, maybe I never would have noticed broken headlights at all if someone hadn’t pointed them out to me.

I don’t know what’s up with the broken headlight issue and why it went away, but I have a feeling as soon as my Wife reads this post she’ll have a quick, simple explanation for it – one I would have never thought of in a million years.