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Joy riders beware these sad refrains


IF YOU LIKE to listen to loud music in your car, you may want to avoid the town of Alexandria, La.

Unless you like country music. I mean, really like it.

According to an Associated Press story, Henry Nelson, 20, and Jon Driggers, 26, pleaded guilty to violating Rapides Parish's ordinance prohibiting "loud and offensive noise" after cranking up the volume too high on their car stereo.

They were fined, given a suspended jail sentence and probation, and ordered to attend a "music appreciation" session where they would spend three hours listening to their least-favorite kind of music -- country.

"I thought if they had to listen to stuff they hate, it would teach them to respect other people's rights," state District Judge Tom Yeager said.

Having a 14-year-old in the house, I know something about loud and offensive noises. I think the dulcet strains of Dysfunction and Anthrax wafting from his bedroom window could explain why I can't get any grass to grow in that part of the lawn.

Still, I am not sure that making him listen to three hours of country songs like "I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling" or "You Broke My Denture Slap in Two" would do anything to improve his taste in music, let alone the condition of my lawn.

Perhaps the judge's thinking is that the two young men will emerge from their music appreciation session so broken and despondent that they will never want to listen to any music ever again, let alone groups like Korn and Anti-Flag, which, if played at a high enough volume, may cause cancer in laboratory rats.

Still, this is supposed to be a civilized country, which makes me wonder if it might not be cruel and unusual punishment to force these young men to listen to "Does The Spearmint Lose its Flavor on the Bed Post Overnight?," "A Woman Is Just a Woman but a Cigar Is a Good Smoke" and "How Can I Miss You if You Won't Go Away?"

Perhaps the judge is of the opinion that there are lessons in morality in country songs, raising the possibility that the young men will listen to "I'm My Own Grandpa," "She Feels Like a New Man Tonight" and the classic, "My Uncle Used to Love Me but She Died."

It is also possible that the judge is not so much concerned with the volume of modern music as its satanic undertones.

In that case, he may choose country songs with a more spiritual side to them like "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex on His Television Show?," "Thank God and Greyhound She's Gone" and "I've Been Roped and Throwed by Jesus in The Holy Ghost Corral."

Young people always need to be reminded of the dangers of substance abuse, which is why the judge may have chosen such country hits as "You Won't Be Back But George and Jack Will Help Me Make It Through The Night," "She's Actin' Single, I'm Drinkin' Doubles" and the unforgettable "The Pint of No Return."

No doubt that young men will be very angry after enduring their three-hour "music appreciation" session.

If that is the case, Judge Yeager may want to play one last song for them as they head out of town:

"Here's a Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares."

David Grimes is a columnist for the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Fla.

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