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Slow Motion Commotion


Claim:   Doper trying to avoid police attention is pulled over for driving far under the speed limit.

LEGEND

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2001]

Two buddies are road-tripping to a Grateful Dead show, and to make the drive more interesting, they each eat a dose of LSD. They're rolling along the Interstate, and start to trip out, they're laughing and having fun driving along. Suddenly, they notice a cop car with its lights on in the rear-view mirror, and start freaking out. The driver repeatedly remarks to himself and his friend "OK, I'll just admit to speeding, I'll get a ticket, and it will be OK." He rehearses this plan aloud until the cop knocks on his window, and then says to the cop "I'm really sorry officer, I know I was speeding, I know I was wrong, I'm sorry I was going too fast..." etc. The befuddled cop then says, "Well that's all well and good, but you were doing 10 MPH."
 

Origins:   A number of drug legends about LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) make the point that the hallucinogen so disorders the auditory and visual perceptions of users as to cause them to lose touch with reality. Whereas in other cautionary tales of this sort, that lesson is provided in far more
horrific fashion (e.g., teens who capture a "gnome" and lock it in their closet overnight only to discover the next morning that their "gnome" is actually a terrified child, LSD user who has his mind so scrambled by the drug that he comes to believe he is a glass of orange juice and lives out his days in a mental asylum in deathly fear of being drunk or spilled, the acid-tripping babysitter who mistakes her small charge for a turkey and inadvertently roasts it in the oven), at least in this urban legend the warning is delivered via a humorous rather than hair-raising yarn.

A 1973 print version of this legend refers to it as a "dope tale, 1970." That version expands on the humor inherent to the tale, describing the acid-tripping driver as "just chugging onto the Golden Gate Bridge" in his "gaily painted hearse" and quietly grooving to the setting sun and the automobiles around him (which he perceives as shiny fruits and vegetables with people in them) when the long arm of John Law makes a grab for him. Once again, the drugged-up motorist proves so out of touch with the real world that when asked how fast he thought he was going, he mentally knocks a few MPH off his first guess, then replies "Uh, sixty-five?" "You were going four miles an hour," says the unamused cop. "Get out of the car."

As with the other, more scary, pharmaceutical legends, the lesson this LSD tale is intended to communicate is that drugs mess up the minds of users far, far more than those who go on these trips realize.

Barbara "daze tripper" Mikkelson

Sightings:   In the 1996 film Black Sheep, two characters unwittingly high on nitrous oxide that has escaped from the trunk of the police car they're driving are pulled over for driving 7 mph.

Last updated:   15 October 2013

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Sources:

    Miller, Chris.   "Pharmacopoeia."
    National Lampoon.   March 1973   (p. 74).