Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Virtual Test For Motorcycle Awareness...

“Is it true that you are a writer?” asked my friend, the manager of the diner I occasionally frequent for lunch.

Glancing from side to side to make sure he hadn’t been overheard, I leaned forward and hissed, “Yes, but keep your voice down. Most people think I am a piano player in a whorehouse and I don’t want to lose my standing in the community.”

As it turns out, the manager (whose name is Spiros) has an adolescent daughter who is struggling with “composition” in high school, and wanted to know if there was anything I might be able to do to help... Tips or tricks that I could show her. I like this guy a lot. There have been dozens of times when I wandered into this place, in search of the ubiquitous soup and salad, only have him say, “The cook is from a province of northern Greece, and he is making something special today for the kitchen help and the waiters. Why don’t I bring you some of that? No charge, if you don’t like it.”

I have never “not liked it,” and many times there was no charge anyway. (I have never been able to figure this out.)

And so I met his daughter “Antonia,” a 15-year-old beauty whose lithe frame seemed to walk two inches above the pavement. Though somewhat reserved, she was very much the quintessential teenager in that her rate of texting matched the heartbeat of a squirrel in coitus. Yet when she spoke, her speech was devoid of the word “like,” which the average high schooler uses 72 times per minute, “Like, you know?”

Antonia seemed slightly self-conscious at working with me in a booth at her father’s diner. She found the table covered with sample papers, diagrams, and my laptop, which was tuned-in to a Harley Davidson blog, where the women were wearing tattoos and evil thoughts.

“You must be Antonia,” I said, hitting a key that switched the screen to a backdrop of the Acropolis. “Do you know why we had to meet here in the diner?” The question was purely rhetorical as I answered it without giving the poor kid a chance... “Because you’re too young to meet me in bar. Let’s get started.”

Since Antonia is a perfectly normal kid, with a zest for life and her whole zestful life in front of her, her decision to chuck high school composition was an understandable one. Her intense dislike of composition was twofold: one, the rules of English grammar rival Dutch Maritime Law for red hot interest; and two, her teacher has a face like a cat’s ass, all round, pink, and puckered.

Personally, I don’t think English composition is taught correctly these days. Some kids will be writers, and they need the pure, uncut, snort of the real thing. But millions of others simply need to be taught how to effectively communicate ideas on paper, in a manner that will ultimately support their conversational skills as well. (There will be a terrible price to pay for raising a generation that thinks in terms of 140 characters, “like, FaceBook, like you know,” unless of course we’re talking about campaign speeches.) All I wanted her to do was chat for a bit, so I could show her that good writing wasn’t much more difficult than simply speaking. So I asked her, “What do you like to do in your spare time?”

The first answer was mind-numbing. If left to her own devices, she would sleep 15 hours a day. For the other nine, she would play on-line video games.

“What kind of games,” I asked. “Can you show me on my computer?”

Thirty seconds later, I watched this genteel beauty systematically slaughter a legion of flesh-eating zombies, using an assault rifle, a flame-thrower, and white-phosphorous grenades. (She took out a sidewalk-full of panic-stricken bystanders, as the penalty for eliminating the innocent as “collateral damage” is much less than the bonus points awarded for killing the flesh-eating lobbyists at the top of the zombie food chain.) However, what amazed me the most was the detail in the graphics.

It looked real...

Several hundreds of the zombies were bikers, astride twin-cylinder cruisers and choppers that were realistic to the point where they leaked oil, stalled, and deafened those who were shortly to be eaten. You could count the the bolt-heads on the engine casings. And their maneuvering was virtually flawless. Their bikes turned, pivoted, wheelied, stoppied, and left burn-outs with precision. It was then I noticed that the rest of the game was the same way.

The greatest threat facing motorcycle riders today is the left-turning moron, facing into the sun, with a cell phone glued to his or her ear, driving a minivan filled with screaming kids. I would take a roomful of fleshing-eating lobbyists over this scenario any day of the week. The second greatest threat is any part of the above combo, enhanced by rain, darkness, gravel, and stupid deer (moose, elk, chickens, etc.) wandering out into the road. But nothing is a dangerous as a stupid driver reading email, chatting on a cell phone, eating a super, mega-fat burger, or programing a GPS at 67 miles-per-hour.

Their excuse for vehicular manslaughter is always the same: “I didn’t see the motorcycle.”

My thought is to provide a taste of this situation, without the tragedy, by adding an inter-active eye-test/motorcycle cognizance segment to the standard driving test. Applicants would be required to play an on-line game where they would have to pick out the motorcycle in traffic, and correctly maneuver around or toward it, as per the traffic situation. Now since the average high-school boy might exit one of these tests with the attitude, “Got me three bikers,” there should be a penalty for loosing. Failure to correctly pass this test could result in a probational approval, with the potential for higher insurance rates.

Or, if the failure in the interactive part of the test resulted in the theoretical fatality of the virtual rider, the license could be denied. Personally, at this juncture in the test, I think it would be fine if six bikers then came out from behind a screen and beat the living shit out of the applicant, saying things like, “Can you see us now, you stupid asshole?” I think we should put this level of technology to work. What do you think? Leave a comment. Let me know.


Twisted Roads Day At Hermy’s Tire and Cycle
August 27, 2011... 9am - 2 pm

Jack Riepe will be writing and posting Twisted Roads directly from the showroom floor of Hermy's BMW and Triumph on August 27, 2011. His goal is to meet and greet the real road warriers, coming in for a hard-to-find part, a sought-after bargain, or a word of advice from the experts who've been here since 1963. Got a story to tell? You could be the guest author in a Twisted Roads slot — and win a valuable prize to boot. Door prizes given out periodically. Consolation prizes will be awarded to the first and second runner up.

Have coffee and donuts with Jack Riepe... And listen to a few of his stories:
• Why the jaws of life are mounted on the back of his bike!
• How a motorcycle saved his first three marriages!
• Lines women never believe and always swallow!

Hermy’s is located on Route 61 (Southbound), Port Clinton, Pa. The shop is only 5 minutes north of the interchange with I-78 (Hamburg, Pa) and is an easy ride from New Jersey and Maryland.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011


Like Ihor said...

, I agree and everybody should be retested at their expense every five years in order to renew their license.
Oh, and by the way,"beat the leaving shit out of...". Should the shit be 'living'?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

I looked at my copy (on my computer) and it does say, "beat the living shit out of." Try refreshing your browser.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and for agreeing with my position, which is the correct posture to take on this issue.

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads

redlegsrides said...

Dammit Jack, that's an outstanding idea for an addition to the standard driver licensing process! I especially like the penalty apportionment phase.

As to teen's zest for video game slaughter....my own flesh and blood take a fiendish delight in shooting their "old man" in the back every chance they get while playing Call of Duty or some such variation.....


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Refresh this, Ihor said...

and careful, don't use up all your white out or spell check.

Unknown said...


what about those of us who do not play video games, nor have any desire to. The only game I liked was Pac-Man, and I had to buy an Atari 800 computer just to play it. Back in the 80's it cost around $2K

you forgot to post a photo of Antonia

Riding the Wet Coast

Conchscooter said...

I agree with your position. Even though I prefer to survive my wits. Answer a few thousand 9-1-1 calls and find out how gutless and fearful and helpless the average North American is when put under stress. Zombies would cause civilization to collapse, never mind left turns.

The walrus said...

I agree. I have long thought no one should be allowed a car/truck drivers license until they had spent time riding a bicycle, then a motorcycle and finally a car. At least a year on the first two so they have a good chance to have the shit scared out of them at least once.

Classic Velocity said...

Dear Jack,

With the multiple-tasking capabilities of today's kids and their fantastic reflexes, you would think that "I did not see the motorcycle" should be going the way of the 8-track tape. I think the key is to attach bonus points to avoiding motorcycles......we could all paint some number of points on our helmets, whaddayatink?

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

so, like, i started to reed this post, but it was, like really long and i got a text msg which I like totally had to answer, and then, you know, i was friended by this amazing person on FB who is like, totally into it and then i lost may place in this, like long story and stuff about minivans food and games - what game was she playing and whats her username?

RichardM said...

I'm not as advanced as Bobskoot in the video game arena as Pac-Man was beyond me. But I do agree that there should be a lot more attention paid to the "driving while distracted" and the "I didn't see the ..." motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians or whatever. I don't know what the solution should be but maybe it should be treated at least as serious as dui.

Canajun said...

About a year ago they enacted legislation here in Ontario banning use of hand-held distractions (cell phones, GPS, lipstick, egg McMuffins, etc.) while driving. Seems to have had zero effect - the morons are still out there in force.
But I do like the testing idea, if for no other reason than it would show future drivers how easy it is to miss something while watching Debbie Does Dallas on that 4" screen attached to the dash.

Cantwell said...

Dear Jack,
Finish the story about the girl please. I'm curious as to how you cured her hatred for english composition.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I am not kidding about an interactive video game-style eye test for drivers that incorporates a series of situations in which the operator must identify the motorcycle, or motorcycles, against a number of backgrounds or in a variety of traffic situations.

Instead of a joystick, the set up would be the standard steering wheel, with an accelerator and a brake pedal. The situations would include a clear day (with heavy traffic), a rainy day/night (varied traffic), fog (no traffic), and a twisty road with motorcycles (in front and back).

Progressve states would use this simulated program for a number of traffic situations, with ot without motorcycles. And there is no reason to grant a license to anyone who fails the simulated test.

I don't think this would be that hard to do.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

There isn't a day that I don't swear I'm going to eliminate all typos, run-on sentences, and unnecessary verbiage. With the spell check, it only finds the words that are spelled incorrectly — not words that sound alike, sort of, but nowhere near the same.

Yesterday, I used yolk for yoke. Domingo Chang was good enough to point this out. But in truth, I will reread this blog in two days hence, decide to rerwrite two paragraphs, and introduce more misspellings.

By the wa, I took a thunderclap dosage of arthritis meds tonight, and feel so good that I can't fall asleep. It's 2am, and I am up for the night.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Since when does having a desire to do something, or not to do something have anything to do with taking a driver's test? The whole point of the exercise would be to force new drivers into realizing the circumstances that render motorcycles invisible.

Then again, it could be argued that some drivers are so damn stupid that they will find a way to get through the test, and promptly forget any lessons learned.

I was never one for video games either. And th fact that I am "Apple" oriented limited my choice of these things in the first place.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter:

The concept of the flesh-eating zombie is an interesting one. I was my thought to require all lobbyists to be flesh-eating zombies... Then the problem of whorish Congressmen and Senators would pretty much solve itself.

You are quite correct that in the long run it is a rider's wits that will keep him/her alive. I took a short run the other day, with every fucking light on the front of this bike switche on. Some son of bitch pulled the old "let's turn right in front of fat ass," and the clearance was so tight, I avoided catastrophe by going right.

Well the operator of the car apologized at the first stop sign. Do you know what she said... (Yup. It's coming... You guessed it!) "I'm sorry, I didn't see you." I bet I have close to 900 watts of light aimed forward.

What could I say? She wasn't on the phone... She wasn't doing her nails... And she wasn't drinking Sterno out of a brown paper bag... She was just stupid.

I hope you guys beat the friggin' hurricane that's coming.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Walrus:

Before I get on my motorcycle, I put on the kind of helmet that would have been the envy of John Glenn. I wear body armor that would have saved Dutch Schultz. Yet when I was a kid (about 15), I would occasionally get a 10-speed up to speeds of 55 mph on the long hills around Peakskill, NY, wearing nothing but a tee shirt, sneakers, and jeans. The tires were dime-thin condoms. A crash would have been unthinkable. Yet it taught me a very healthy respect for cars and trucks. (I never got hit by one on a bicycle.)

I do think that he penalties for avoidable accidents should be much higher. For example, just as most operators (involved in accidents) are tested for alcohol (if there is the slightest suspician), I think accident attorneys should automatically subponae cell phone records to see if an operator was on the phone at the time of the collision.

If so, I don't think a $5,000 fine is out of the question, with restitution to be paid to the injured party, or that individual's survivors, equal to 5 years salary or $150,000 (whatever is more). This would require most people to get and pay for cell phone abuse insurance, would could add $1,000 to an policy.

Put teeth in cell phone/driving abuse laws.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Classic Velocity (Wayne):

There has to be a diminishing law of returns at some point where multi-tasking is concerned. And after chatting with a growing number of gene-pool washouts, I wouldn't trust some of these dopes to drive a car and chew gum.

Yesterday, I had to run down to Maryland on a 60-mile sprint, at what would have been the rush hour, except traffic was still light around here due to vacation.

There are three bad corners in a ten-mile stretch of Rt. 926. There was someone ready to pull out at each of these intersections, bullshitting on the phone. Now I was in an SUV, and I wasn't sure they saw me.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chuck and Pheebs:

She was playing "Killer Moto Zombies and Lobbyists — Version II: Triumphs With Tachometers." Her Username is "ZombieDeathBitch."

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard M:

You got it... And while we have a special interest in the moto aspects of this issue, this question of testing for greater cognizance on the road has to benefit everyone.

Let's face it, the way driving is largely taught across the country, it's trial and error, learn as you go. Carelessness is just becoming too common.

Thanks for reading and for writing in.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Canajun:

Good point... What is the purpose of passing laws that make bullshitting on the phone illegal while driving (as well as doing other things, like reading e-mail, texting, and eating a foot-long sandwich) if they are not enforced?

Municipalities are screaming for cash... Make the fine $300, and start pulling over everybody.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mike Cantwell:

If Antonia had balls, she'd rather drag them through broken glass than write a composition.

I showed her my magic formula for writing 1000 words, using a highly varied sentence layout to support a specific editorial object.

It took us four hours to cover the material. It would normally take her two hours to write a paper of this length n her own. Yet using my technique, she was able to draft a second one, on her own, in an hour.

The second one was a marked improvement over her initial style, as the key phrase is "a varied sentence layout." Since she has the blueprint (very different from an outline), she is not reinventing the wheel every time she sits down to compose.

The bad news for her was that the system requires a mental editorial recharge on a weekly basis. I insisted she read USAToday three times a week, and New Yorker Magazine one a month.

One will get her focused on getting the action started and finished while buffing up her vocabulary... The other remains one of the most sophisticated approaches to varied sentence layout on the planet. It is a guide to punctuation as pleasure.

Fondest regards,

nhdude said...

Jack said "... She was just stupid." Unfortunately, this seems to apply to a rather large segment of the driving populace and there is, of course, no cure for that malady. But, that said, I concur that better testing/training and more punitive penalties for all varieties of inattentive driving are needed. When I was learning to drive, my dad told me to always assume the other driver would do the stupidest thing possible. So far, that's kept me alive.

BMW-Dick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BMW-Dick said...

Well done, My Friend, although I prefer mine medium rare. The thought of increased testing for cage drivers and biker-induced punishment bring an extraordinarily handsome smirk to my face. Of course, speaking from personal experience, my "mishaps" have all been self-induced. There was the time the naked women ran across the road and distracted me just long enough for that boulder to jump into my path. Then there was the time I leaned my R1100R into a 90-degree turn just as a Sasquatch ran out from behind a rather large bayberry bush and pushed the bike down on the foot peg until it bounced in the air and sent me to the insurance claim department. I'm taking an adult education course at the Y on awareness training. Do you think they will cover naked women and Sasquatches?

Anonymous said...

Jack, Jack, Jack, imagine suggesting that the "State" introduce common sense into a PC world. Good ideas more often go out the window. Yes, I agree that a virtual test prior to licensing (and prior to renewal)should be a part of the process. Using virtual technology, many common road emergencies could be presented to new drivers. Things they could never see during 10 hours in a Driver-Ed car. They could practice real world events in safety.

But, oh the problems. Who could write it, produce it, how many minority characters must be included? Who will be the victims? who will be the wrongdoers? How many languages? By the time we are done being sensitive to everyone the virtual test would have little impact

Even with such a test once licensed, drivers fall into bad habits. There they are, chugging down the road and their phone beeps. They do not have the will power to NOT look. (double negative?) They get away with it the first time, then again and again. It becomes common practice as they fly unseeing through the intersection.

Let's do something practical, teach me how to write. I wouldn't mind meeting some young girls who need help.


RayW said...

Many years ago I was making a left turn in my car and had a split second to make a decision about turning left in front of the motorcycle coming the other way. I made the turn, and while I doubt I caused any concern to the rider I did notice that he passed behind me a lot sooner than I had anticipated. That got me to thinking...

People are conditioned to judge distance by something the size of a car. A bike, being much smaller, could seem to be much further away.

No excuse, but I think a lot of the "I didn't see them" excuses are more likely "I didn't think they were that close!"

Just something to think about...

RayW said...

To BMW-Dick,
I'm confused.

Why would you EVER want to "cover naked women"??

Yeah....I could see covering a Sasquatch. They're kinda ugly looking....but a naked woman?? Leave them un-covered!!!

Dan Mckenzie said...

"If she had balls"...now I assume you did the "Paul Hogan test" to be sure?

I like the video game idea. If we can't cure the imbeciles, maybe they could at least come up with a video game for US to use, allowing us to vaporize cell phone drivers. At least it would make us feel better.

Did you teach the lass the important wisdom of when to use the words "the" (thee) and "the" (thuh, rhymes with Duh for good reason)? A daily annoyance to me...

Dan Mckenzie said...

Doh!!! 15 years old...no Paul Hogan test then...

Keith - Circle Blue said...

Great post.

I'm not sure when driving became an activity to be ignored while doing something else, but it seems to have become so. Distracted seems to be the natural state of many drivers. They really seem to believe they need not pay attention. Would the ideas you propose if able to be implemented make a difference? I don't know, but suspect not so much. I'm becoming a little cynically about such things as I grow older.

Cantwell said...

@Dick, I think the states should start re-certifying drivers once they are in their seventies.

@RayW, I think the states should start re-certifying sexagenarians for simply bringing up the subject of covering up naked women.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

Thank you for your kind commentary on this most recent blog. When I was in high school, part of the driver's ed course was to show a video that was a compilation of vicious and graphic car crashes.You can find far worse than that video on YouTube these days, and the viewing public is more inclined to think it is "cool."

In fact, there are dozens of videos taken from surveillance cameras, depicting crashes in progress, that barely raise an eyebrow. Yet I am commencing to think that nothing short of a savage beating will get people to open their eyes and concentrate on the task at hand. (The task is simply to concentrate on driving.)

And since a beating isn't practical, I can only think of steeper fines and restrictions for violating existing laws.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Pathfinder:

I had a dream the other night where someone stood up in a state legislature to propose a more stringent formula for politically correct bills, and that someone else unleashed pit bulls on him.

I concur with your assessment that relying on the state (any state) to move forward with a plan like this could lead to disaster... But Hollywood could pull it off. Hollywood is the greatest source of politically correct teeth gnashing, right up until the point where they can make a buck at it (like the epic movie great "Team America: World Police Force").

I think the resources of Hollywood could really do a bang-up job with this project. I also think that cell phone while driving laws should be modified to read that it is acceptable, provided the user is texting naked pictures of themselves or chatting on a live sex line. Drivers might think twice about the odd looks they'd be drawing from the folks around them.

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ray W:

Your point about discovering a discrepancy in "space remaining" after executing a turn is a good one. In some cases, I have turned in traffic (while riding my own motorcycle) only to discover the glowing orb that was the headlight n the oncoming bike was attached to a SQUID, and covered a mile in 1.4 seconds.

Size and speed can be hard to judge on occasion. Thank you for bringing that point up.

Fondest regards,

PS: I have a great near-naked woman story involving Dick B.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dan M.:

This kid was as sweet as cherry pie, right up until she started slaughtering zombies. And she had a good command of the composition subject... She just equated putting it to good use with root canal.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Circle Blue (Keith):

It may be necessary to skip the whole video idea, and just start beating the shit out of drivers who make the inconsiderate left turn (across our bows) when it happens.

Fondest regards,

Unknown said...

Hey Jack--
Send her to my writing site, http://writing-rag.com.

And tell her I know Greek.

Unknown said...

Oh--while we're talking about video games, here's why I don't play them.

It's a comic, and you'll like it

BeemerGirl said...

Dear Jack,

I whole heartedly agree with your ideas. When driving goes back to being a "privilege" and not a "right" we will be headed in the correct direction. But I also believe commuting and alternative transportation infrastructures need to be put in place to help people leave the autos at home.

While waiting for pigs the pigs to sprout wings and begin flying, why don't we wish for the "cars of the future" to come now. You know the ones that drive themselves, leaving people free to not pay attention to the road.

-Steel Cupcake

PS. Have to started playing the zombie game so you can take out Harleys and minivans?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rogers:

I sent Antonia to your writing website, and I understand she tried to kill herself. The authorities found her on a ledge, eighty stories above the street, a bottle of pills in her hand, and a pistol in her mouth.

A negotiator telled up to her, "What can be so horrible?" She yelled dow, "Rogers George Writing Blog." I think she is looking for a simpler approach to written communication. (But I hear she likes goats too.)

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steel Cuopcake:

I have the most profound respect for Harley riders... The truth be known, I just recommended that the daughter of a friend purchase a An HD 2005 Sportster over a used K75. (The Sportser is lower, has a lower center of gravity, and with a 2.5 gallon gas tank, will be perfect for fashion rides, which is what this cutiie has in mind anyway.)

Seriously, aside from the vibration issues, that year and model Harley is something I'd have in the garage. I recommended that bike to that rider as I saw it as an ieal machine for a beginner to an intermediate rider... And everyone knows that ome of the last high place winners for the Iron Butt race was a Sportster.

Regarding the future of commutting... I think we are about a generation away from having cyborgs carry our heads around im bowling ball bags. But considering how many heads are empty, traffic should be next to nothing, even for the cyborgs.

Fondest regards,

irondad said...

Dear Jack,

Number 1. I agree with you which, I'm told, is the correct thing to do here.

Number 2. The one missing element of your plan is being able to cleanse the gene pool based on the outcome of the test.

Number 3. I shiver at a beautiful young woman whom you describe as walking two inches above the floor being known as "ZombieDeathBitch". Alas, to find such a cold heart beind an angelic exterior.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad (Dan):

Agreeing with me on the home court is nothing but a safe bet as far as I am concerned, but one that will draw the fire of others.

You're right as far as cleansing the gene pool goes, all I can do is suggest we give them a good beating. The fact is seatbelts, helmet laws, and airbags have removed the Darwinian factors that traditionally culled the Night Of The Living Brain-Dead from our midst.

And finally, if I had a dime for every angelic princess that turned out to be Sheena The Hell Bitch, I could easily afford a new K1600 GTL.

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads, and for leaving a kind comment.

Fondest regards,

Nikos said...


I'm with Bob, what is Antonia's cell number - I need to find somemone to take my son of my hands and what could be better than a 1/4 Greek video gamer from a good household? I will pay handsomly.

When discussing SMIDYS I like to watch this film:


Have a good tropical storm, N

MarkE said...


Many years ago a friend who was studying some form of mind medicine showed me an article from (I think) Sweden about SMIDSYs. In summary it said they can see us OK, but only if they look. Humans, being tribal look for two things in any circumstances; members of their tribe (friends) and threats. As we are not in a car we are not members of their tribe. As we are not a 40 ton truck we're not much threat to them. Therefore they are not looking for us. That is why you can see the driver look straight at (through) you moments before pulling out on you - (s/)he wasn't looking for you!

Maybe if the approved punishment was sufficiently unpleasant, such as having the living shit beaten out of them, or if they could be made to join our tribe by riding a motorcycle for (say) five years before being allowed to apply for a car license we might get somewhere.

Until then, I ride as though I am invisible to all but speed cameras and people wanting something from me (I'd complain less if I could be invisible to all).