Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

March 9, 2014

NOW HEAR THIS: Put a muffler on it

By LARRY M. JONES

I suppose I live a somewhat pampered life down on the “pore farm” – far away from the noise, traffic and hustle and bustle of urban life. For me it is a wonderful thing and a blessing to savor.

On a warm summer evening, I love the chirping sounds of crickets, the wail of coyotes in the distance and the call of the whippoorwill or great horned owl.

For many Americans, this luxury is not possible. A vast majority of our population live in large urban environs where roaring 18 wheelers, sirens of emergency vehicles, the roar of normal congested traffic and a beehive of activity by others in the neighborhood drown out the subtle sounds of nature.

As I greedily partake of life as a country gentleman, I see this lifestyle becoming threatened more and more. Far too often these days I am shaken from my serenity by the passing of a large diesel pickup with a straight pipe exhaust system, a cool biker-dude on a chopped Harley with straight chrome exhaust pipes, or a two-stroke dirt bike wound tighter than an eight-day clock ridden by a teenager in search of an emergency room visit. 

Why is such unpleasant and irritating behavior tolerated in today’s society? Fifty years ago, loud mufflers or straight pipe exhaust systems would get you a ticket. I haven’t heard of such a thing happening in decades. However, I know of several old geezers who have been cited for not wearing a seat belt while quietly driving 10 mph under the speed limit.

I recognize that it is human nature for young testosterone laden males to seek to defy authority and press the limits on appropriate behavior. This is nothing new. I was no different when I was that age. I remember how we boys longed to have loud mufflers, preferably glass packs, on our cars. A common thing was to squirt water up the tailpipe into the muffler in hopes that it would rot out its insides.  Straight exhaust pipes were illegal, but really cool guys had “lake pipes” that routed the exhaust gas straight out of the manifolds. Of course, they could be capped to comply with the law. 

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