Alright, I get it. I can read the word ‘ambulance’ through my rear-view mirror. But is that really so important?! I mean it seems to me to be some kind of gimmick ambulance services do just because they can. It’s like some simpleton in the bathroom of an east Tennessee Wal-mart was looking in the mirror, confused by the writing on his T-shirt — and when he finally figured out what it said, he was fascinated by the idea of it all. Then someone gave him a job designing ambulances? Consider:
- Do I really need to read the word ‘ambulance’ to know that the orange and white van with flashing lights and a siren is one? Was I going to confuse it with a UT school bus? [For the record, graduates of UT might actually make this mistake…]
- For that matter, do I even need to know the flashing lights and siren coming toward me are on an ambulance? Do I respond differently to an ambulance than to a fire truck or police cruiser? Do I really need to properly identify the emergency vehicle before responding appropriately?
- And why don’t police cars and fire trucks have their titles written backwards on the hood? [Maybe they do in Knoxville…?]
- And if the lights are not flashing and the siren is not sounding on an ambulance, is there any reason in the world for me to know the ambulance is there? Except that my 5-year old kid would really like to look at it? And won’t the backwards writing just confuse him and damage his fragile reading skills?
- Statistically speaking, there are bound to be thousands more vehicle-operators spotting any given ambulance from head-on, than there are locating it through their rear-view mirrors.
- And if I can read the word ‘ambulance’ backwards when I pass one driving towards me, doesn’t that mean I could just as well have read it backwards in my rear-view mirror? And I’ve never in my life failed to read the word ‘ambulance’ written backwards or forwards — except maybe when I was five and mostly focused on the lights and the siren.
- I’ll admit reading the word ‘ambulance’ written backwards might require a very small fraction of time more, and that split-second could be quite important.
- But I’ll also argue that I have more time to read the word ‘ambulance’ when it’s coming from behind me (using my rear-view mirror) and traveling the same direction as me — than I do when I’m passing said vehicle head-on.
- If it’s so important people be able to read ‘ambulance’ backwards and forwards, why didn’t we just give it a name that works both ways: OTTO, HOOH, HAWWAH, MATITAM, IMOTOMI, YOMAMOY. I mean there are hundreds of possibilities…. Who chose ‘ambulance’ anyway? It’s a stupid name if you ask me.
I wish people would have put me in charge of this whole ambulance thing. We would only use backwards writing in a few, very limited locations:
- In Knoxville and its surrounding areas — and even here, we might should consider changing the color of the ambulances rather than using backwards writing. I mean ‘ambulance’ is a long word, forwards or backwards.
- In states which give driving licenses and/or permits to 5-year olds.
Is anybody with me?