I like to think that I’m ahead of the curve when it comes to learning about most major trends, but only recently did I become aware of ‘ghost riding,’ one of the most alarmingly prevalent car-related fads since stickers of Calvin peeing on things.
Apparently popularized by the San Francisco Bay area ‘hyphy’ culture (in particular, the song ‘Tell Me When to Go’ by E-40 and Keak the Sneak seems to have helped propel the act into the national consciousness), ghost riding involves putting your car in gear, releasing the emergency brake and allowing the car to propel itself forward while you dance alongside it or, in some cases, on top of it.
In the old days, this trend probably would have stayed in Oakland and died out as soon as everyone involved sobered up, but thanks to the miracle of the Internet, ghost riding has spread to countless bored white suburban teens across the country, sometimes with disastrous results.
As much as we all want cool remote-controlled James Bond cars, most modern vehicular conveyances are intended to be operated in the old-fashioned way: with the driver located in the driver’s seat, not beside the car or on top of it.
As a result, it is not too hard to find videos online of ghost riding gone terribly wrong.
In one case, a kid is hanging out of the side of his truck, which slowly drifts toward the curb before knocking over a fire hydrant and crashing into a tree after the driver jumps from the speeding vehicle.
In another case, a kid manages to run himself over after causing his car to do donuts with him standing next to it.
With teenage drivers already fighting restrictive laws and high insurance premiums, a lot of people are sure to denounce ghost riding as a dangerous trend, promoting unsafe driving habits.
They would be wrong.
Admittedly, when used incorrectly, ghost riding can increase one’s chances of death or serious injury, but it can also be used as a tool with which to affect positive social change.
I don’t know about you, but I think a lot about time traveling, and specifically about what I would do if I had the power to travel through time. Lately, I have brainstormed several instances in which spreading the knowledge of ghost riding to people of the past would improve all of our lives.
The 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria: Instead of riding in a car in his motorcade, Ferdinand dances alongside his car, which propels itself as if driven by an otherworldly apparition. When his car is exploded with a bomb, he is able to escape with his life. World War I never happens.
Amelia Earhart’s mysterious disappearance over the Pacific Ocean in 1937: Amelia Earhart dances around her plane as it taxies down the runway, encouraging onlookers to ‘get stupid.’ The unmanned aircraft takes off and disappears somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Earhart does not.
An unknown man stopping a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989: As tanks roll slowly toward the student protesters in the square, an unknown man stands in front of them. Unbeknownst to him, the tanks are driving themselves while the Chinese soldiers are dancing on top of them. The tanks do not slow dramatically to a halt, but the unknown man dives to safety at the last second. When it comes time for the soldiers to kill people, they can’t, because they accidentally locked themselves out, and they left all their guns inside the tank.
Luke Skywalker’s trench run during the assault on the Death Star: When Obi Wan Kenobi tells Skywalker to ‘use the force’ to fire the proton torpedo into the exhaust port, radio static causes Skywalker to hear this as, ‘Shake them dreads.’ This causes him to ‘go hella dummy,’ and he exits the cockpit in order to dance on the wing of his X-wing fighter. He is killed, but R2-D2 takes over and destroys the Death Star. On the positive side, Skywalker does not fall in love with his own sister.
Filed Under: Features