Jon Dawson: Bryan Hanks must be stopped
Over the years Neuse News Editor Bryan Hanks has provided much fodder for this column. His perpetual lateness, obsession with sports and questionable fashion sense have provided safety nets for me when I'm staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen.
With so much tension in the air this week I'd love nothing more than to stack up Hanks' latest blunders and run them through the ol' Rickles machine. But Hanks is in trouble, and as his friend, I feel it's my duty to use this column as a form of electronic intervention. I'd do this in person, but Hanks is out of town at a Golden Girls fan convention.
This is very difficult to say, so I'll just say it: Hanks has a driving problem.
If you're one of the few who've ridden in a Hanks-driven vehicle and maintained the ability to speak while it was happening, you've no doubt tried to get right with the Lord in a hurry in between bouts of begging Hanks to slow down.
How fast does Hanks drive? Once after leaving a Who concert in Greensboro, Hanks and I were flagged down by a flabbergasted NASCAR legend by the name of Richard Petty.
"If I’d driven that fast during a race they'd have given me a ticket," Petty said. "You keep driving like that and you'll pass Marty McFly."
Hanks and I do a weekly high school football pre-game show for WRNS 960 AM, and usually the conversation doesn't veer away from whichever games are being played by Lenoir County teams that week. But after a recent car trip with Hanks, I felt the need to use the public airwaves to somehow corral his berserk driving habits. Here's an excerpt from that broadcast wherein I plead with Hanks directly:
Dawson: "It makes no sense. You drive like a maniac, and although I guess I can't say you run red lights they are blushing intensely. You shift gears so violently I feel as if I'm re-entering the earth's atmosphere every few seconds. You treat speed limit signs as mere suggestions, yet you're always running late. I, on the other hand, drive like a sane person and don't reenact Dukes of Hazzard stunts on Vernon Avenue - and I'm always on time if not early."
Hanks: "I'm sorry, dude. I was negotiating a trade for my fantasy ping pong team. Were you talking to me?"
I'm not the only one who thinks Hanks needs to do a few weeks on a moped. Poor Junious Smith III, our ace sports editor, rode with Hanks to a football game in Lasker two weeks ago. A photo was posted of the two at the beginning of the journey and one was posted near the end.
In the first photo - taken before they left Hanks' driveway - Junious looks like his usual cheerful self:
Bryan Hanks (left) and Junious Smith III just before their trip to Lasker
The second photo - taken a few minutes down the road - depicts a very different Junious
A visibly shaken Junious Smith III after spending two hours in a car with Bryan Hanks
I believe the only reason Hanks hasn't received a speeding ticket is because he's driving at a rate of speed higher than radar detectors can measure. I don't think the authorities could give him a ticket for a moving violation because I'm not sure they'd be able to describe the way he drives in a court of law.
We're not talking Burt Reynolds/"Hooper" driving, we're talking Morpheus/deleted scenes from "The Matrix" driving. To make matters worse, Hanks makes these questionable maneuvers so fast his tires get confused. His is the only car whose tread marks look like a furrowed brow.
Once during a trip to New York City Hanks was our saving grace, as he handled the traffic with more than suitable aplomb. There were no traffic accidents, no impatient New Yorkers unfurling naughty appendages in our direction, just top-notch driving. The New York trip proved, that if forced, Hanks is capable of using his driving skills for good.
Sadly, when given the option, Hanks chooses evil. He drives so crazy he’s the only person I know who earns frequent flyer miles while driving to the grocery store.
Maybe we can put a bell on him.
Contact Jon Dawson at email@example.com and www.jondawson.com.