Do infants count toward the carpool lane? Driving on 520 the other day, The Queen urged me to use the HOV lane. “The carpool on this freeway is for three or more people,” I told her. “We are three people,” she rejoined. “You, me, and baby.”
I said that I was sure the baby doesn’t count. “The whole point of an carpool lane,” lectured I, “is to reduce the number of drivers on the road.” The Queen reiterated her belief that I was wrong; I challenged her to our standard bet (“one beer”) and then moved over to the HOV lane all the same, since. As with many husbands, I have long since learned that the key strategy for harmonic spousal relationsis is “make your point and capitulate.”
But I still wanted my brewski, so I looked it up on the Washington State Department of Transportation webpage. What do thay have to say about the issue?
From the FAQ:
Why are parents with kids younger than driving age allowed to use HOV lanes?
HOV lanes have simple objectives: to maximize the number of people that can be carried on the highway and to provide a reliable trip to as many people as possible. Developing and enforcing a more complicated definition of who is eligible to use HOV lanes would be difficult to explain and enforce and would reduce the number of people who benefit from the reliability that HOV lanes offer. Allowing adults with children to use the lanes enhances enforcement, simplicity, and efficiency.
Fah! Allow me to translate: “People are too dumb to understand rules, so we accommodate them by making rules dumb.”
Wouldn’t you know it: the one time government opts to eschew bureaucracy and it costs me a beer.
What’s the story behind Outdoor Survival? In gaming circles, Outdoor Survival has an almost mythical reputation as one of the worst games ever, a kind of Plan Nine From Outer Space of boardgames.
The game has the players lost in the wilderness, relying on their wits (and a bevy of favorable die rolls) to survive. As they struggle to make their way to the edge of the map, they must find food and water to stay alive; typically they do not, and the whole game becomes one of slowing starving to death. In a USENET discussion entitled “Worst Game“, one poster described Outdoor Survival as “sad, depressing, and frustrating.” As another fondly recalled, “we always referred to it as ‘that one where you die’.” It’s like Hi-Ho Cherry-O, except, in the end, raccoons eat your desiccated corpse
According to rumor, the game was literally invented on a dare and designed in a week. It’s a fun story, but it sounds too good to be true. So I wrote the designer, James Dunnigan to get the scoop. To my surprise, he told me the the legend is essentially correct, writing:
I told [then head of Avalon Hill] Tom Shaw I could design a game on any situation and he challenged me to do one on "getting lost in the woods." He said if I designed it, he would publish it.
It took several weeks, but I only spent a few hours a day even thinking about it ... Considering how busy I was at the time, I believe there was assurance of publication, otherwise I would not have wasted my time.
Curiously, Outdoor Survival went on to become one of Avalon Hill’s bestselling games, not only because many people genuinely enjoyed playing it (as with most “worst evers,” its reputation for awfulness is largely exaggerated), but also because the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons specifically mentioned the enclosed map as a good player aide for outdoor scenarios. Adds Dunnigan, “It also became popular with hikers and campers. D&D made it a best seller, otherwise it would have simply been a success (made a profit).”