Jadiasuvs threaten California highways

I was motoring peacefully down Interstate 80 with my old ’60s sidekick Sapper not too long ago when a king-sized sport utility vehicle lumbered onto the freeway in front of us, slowed to 45 mph, drifted back to the road shoulder, sped up to about 70 and then shot back to the center divider before stabilizing itself between two lanes and drifting east like an overburdened Lithuanian freighter.

“What’s wrong with that guy?” I muttered.

“It’s jadiasuv, bro, jadiasuv. Been goin’ on for years and it ain’t gettin’ any better, either,” Sapper declared, enthusiastically gnawing on a large slab of beef jerky.

Sapper, I should point out, isn’t always easy to understand.

Forever lost in Age of Aquarius after ingesting some unidentified herbs near Bolinas in 1968, his communications can sometimes be on the cryptic side.

“Jaddasoov?” I asked.

“Na, bro – ‘jadiasuv.’  It’s one o’ them words you make up out of letters from other words that mean something. You know, an acrimoniouszym.  It stands for ‘Just Another Doofus In An SUV.’ What we just saw was a jadiasuv.”

The phenomenon, he continued, has been around for more than a decade, “ever since SUVs got popular with dot-com yuppies with more money than brains…”

Suddenly, he continued, the roads were filled with motor vehicles the size of aircraft carriers driven by pointy-headed little folks whose previously most challenging automobile had probably been a 3-year-old Toyota Camry.

“They buy a lot of Eddie Bauer shirts, too – the scratchy wool lumberjack kind, ya know?” Sapper added.


Many, he intoned ominously, are suspected of being golfers.

“Real rugged outdoor types, Pebble Beach pioneers. Ya know they’re diamonds in the rough because they’ve got, like, heated passenger seats and dual climate controls…”

Sapper was getting somewhat agitated, evidenced by the fact that he had abandoned his beef jerky and was gnawing industriously on his shoulder harness.

The rest of the conversation was a little hard to follow, but Sapper did point out all the danger signs of being in close proximity to a jadiasuv.  I’ll share then with you because it’s way better than climbing up on a broken chair to try, unsuccessfully, to fix the clunky newsroom clock again today…

* You’re in the presence of a jadiasuv if the vehicle next to you on the interstate is roughly the same size as your neighbor’s duplex.

* You’re in the presence of a jadiasuv if the vehicle next to you is so next to you that it’s two feet into your lane (reach out and tap on the window to let the alleged motorist know that you’re there).

* You’ve encountered a jadiasuv in heavy snow or rain if all you can see of the vehicle is its stationary basketball court-sized roof because the driver thought engaging his four-wheel drive would allow him to drive through 12-foot deep floodwaters or through an 18-foot snow drift.

* You’re behind a jadiasuv if it’s doing 35 mph in the fast lane of the freeway.

* You’re in front of a jadiasuv if it’s tailgating you at 80 mph in the slow lane of the freeway.

Happy motoring, amigos…

Originally published November 9, 2003