that's what you say


The folks at VVV (OK, Cassie) recently put up a post about checking people out while driving. While that post is an invaluable guide for the lecherous- or romantic-minded driver, I feel that an important dimension of automotive people-watching was left out. To me, successful people-watching involves some people-resenting, even outright people-hating. That's where "That's What You Say" comes in.

That's What You Say is a fun game to play while you're driving with passengers, or just by yourself. Here's how it works: When you're driving, preferably while stuck in traffic, pinpoint another car that annoys you. Anything about that car could annoy you - it has a stupid bumper sticker, it's too big, it's too small, the driver tried to merge in an annoying way, you hate the driver's hat, whatever. Look at that car, work up some resentment, and then try to imagine what kind of things a jerk driver in a jerk car like that might talk about. Now you're ready.

In a mocking voice, improvise a short monologue for the jerk driver. "Oh, I drive an SUV! Look at my seventeen cup holders! Look at my bumper sticker! I'm gonna pray for the troops when I get across this bridge!" Then - and this is the crucial point - switch out of the mocking voice and say, very quickly, "That's what you say." That last part is key, because otherwise your passengers might think you are confused, and also religious.

Your improvised monologue need not rely on your snap judgments of someone's appearance, or your guess as to their ethnicity. I'm not gonna lie, though - accents and stereotypes make That's What You Say much, much easier. Paul Haggis was inspired to write Crash after a highly-charged game of That's What You Say outside of Culver City.

Q: Can I play That's What You Say outside the car?

A: Yes, but then someone might hear/punch you.

Q: How about pointing at the person for whom you are improvising your devastatingly accurate monologue?

A: That is not advised.

Q: Did Paul Haggis ever talk about what Crash and That's What You Say meant to him?

A: From an interview with Chinese Boat magazine:

"The message is that there are barriers between us in America. Sure, we say a lot of things while driving, but I wonder if we spend too much time saying, "That's what you say!" and not enough time listening to what you actually say. Yes, my locksmith is Mexican."

Q: Hey Sean, I don't have a car. Can I still play That's What You Say on public transportation?

A: Ooh, I have a Fast Pass! I don't have to worry about parking! I request stops by ringing a bell! That's what you (and I) say!"


Yesterday I was behind a Jaguar with the vanity plate "CUTE GAL". I felt that was setting the bar awfully high for oneself.

"Oh, look at me, I'm a gal and I'm so cute." That's what *you* say!

Is that more or less how it works?

Playing this game with Sean is so intense that I always end up choking under the pressure and/or laughing so hard that I can't actually formulate a sentence. Have you ever tried it with the windows rolled down?

There's a guy at my firm who drives a Jaguar. His vanity plate is "3VOM U." As he explains, the plate is designed such that, when read backwards in a rearview mirror, it looks like "U MOVE," i.e., "YOU MOVE," i.e., "Get out of my way, I'm driving a Jaguar."

That's my Jaguar vanity plate story.

He also has a special Jaguar hat that he wears while driving the Jaguar.

Wow, what an asshole! But a creative asshole. Who would think of that? I wonder how many vanity plates I've failed to understand by not considering how they'd look in a mirror?

Maybe this also explains the funny writing on those hospital vans.

At least he doesn't have another jaguar with which to impress the ladies.

February 2012
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29      

About This Site

Sean Keane on Tumblr

Sean Keane Comedy Dot Com
Short posts, better name-branding

Backup Blog

Friends and Associates

San Francisco Comedy

Fine Sporting Websites

Local Bands


Sean Keane's Internet Famousness

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on March 29, 2006 8:03 PM.

crying was the previous entry in this blog.

l.a. story is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 5.04