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"...As I Was Driving, That Ribbon Of Highway..." This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   On American's highways, the best set of interconnecting travel and trade routes since the Roman "viae," I have spent a total of about 120 days of my life, and I can say that those 60,000 miles have not passed under the wheels without influencing me. Cars and trucks and tractor trailers and vans and buses and motorcycles all rush headlong to the horizon, passing and being passed, some in the high speed commuter lane, some in the breakdown lane. Here I find a peculiar parallelism. Could the vehicles on this highway represent the "drive" (please excuse the pun) for success in life? Bear with me for a second as I define my terms. Imagine each car is a family group, each truck or bus is a small business, a tractor trailer is a large corporation, and a motorcycle is a loner out there in "Corporate America" trying to start a business or to get rich quickly. The driver of each becomes the leader or the president, trying to steer his vehicle to success out there over the horizon.

What about the lanes of the highway? Can they parallel some aspect of our fantasized road to success? I cannot say that every company is in the fast lane to success. For while McDonald's, with its new franchise in Moscow, translates onto this road as a double tractor trailor in the extreme left lane whose exit to guaranteed success is just over the horizon, the United States Government, burdened by its incomprehensible debt, is a farm tractor in the right lane with hazard lights flashing as it chugs along under the minimum speed limit.

Unfortunately this highway also has a breakdown lane. I can see Donald Trump's 1989 Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle up ahead in the breakdown lane, obviously out of gas. From my minivan, everyone seems to be speeding by, but I am consoled by the thought that our van represents our family and its road to success, financially and otherwise. I know we are in the race for the long haul, and though it might take time to reach our horizon, our route is safe from the dangers of high speed travel.

What is this I see ahead? Great, it's an accident! The curiosity factor is slowing everyone down (maybe some of those high speed hot-shots will realize the dangers of speeding)...what a surprise...it is the Savings and Loan tour bus that has created the accident. It seems to have skidded out of control and slammed into the center guardrail! With each passing on-ramp, more families and businesses have crowded the highway with their old jalopies or fully outfitted company vans trying to reach success.

But what is truly American about this? There are so many different kinds of cars and trucks. Well, they all are powered by the same gas. This gas is the American desire to succeed, not just survive. Any of those vehicles could have taken the back roads to their destination, but that would be just surviving. It is like the difference between capitalism and communism. Until very recently, I bet that I could not find one of "my" highways in the Soviet Union. Even the Germans, and the rest of Europe, only understand the basic concept with their autobahns. Here it is different. Why would someone drive their beat-up jalopy onto the highway, knowing there is a good chance that it will breakdown far from the safety of the city and its service stations? It is the desire to succeed, boys and girls. That is why so many immigrants come to the United States with their big dreams of success and prosperity to try their luck on the American highway. That is why a young entrepreneur outfits himself with a solid car and his experience and tries to play with the big boys and their monopolies. They want to succeed from the bottom of their hears. They are the Americans, fighting to succeed.n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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