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Like most people, I'd love to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Unfortunately, I've never come up with a category that suits my unique talents. I'm afraid "World's Least Car Savvy Car Columnist" probably wouldn't cut it.

Because the Guinness people do have standards, despite the presence in their books of such oddball categories as:

   * World's Lowest Car (Perry Watkin's radically modified Austin Mini -- one inch ground clearance)

   * Most Car Rears Lifted in an Hour (580 lifts by the UK's Mark Anglesea)

   * World's Largest Car Sculpture (Paris parking lot "artwork" comprised of 60 automobiles)

Despite these strange competitions, I'm quite sure the Guinness people (or their lawyers) know where to draw the line. For instance, I'm almost positive they don't include a category called "Most Easily Damaged Bumper."

And just the other day they nixed a rather creative fellow's suggestion. He wanted to be named "Germany's Most Notorious Traffic Offender."

According to's news item about this would-be record holder, he's certainly deserving. It cites the spokeswoman for Germany's National Motoring Office as describing 24 year old Uwe Anklam's list of offenses as "unparalleled."

Anklam, who says his fines have cost him thousands, "has 41 points at the national registry of traffic offenses in Flensburg. A driver only needs 18 to be banned."

Well I, for one, am impressed. But those Guinness meanies said no dice, explaining they don't "want to create competition for bad drivers."

I'm inclined to share their concern, living as I do in New York City, where competition is a way of life. Okay, right now we tend to be distracted by little things like planes crashing into buildings. And downtown air so foul, it makes your average gas station smell like a florist.

But give us another month or two and we'll be back to what passes for normalcy in New York, competing for titles like:

   * Person most likely to honk for absolutely no reason.

   * Most ear-piercing stereo blast.

   * Highest IQ (Awarded to someone who can actually comprehend New York's parking regulations)

   * Most pedestrians nearly hit by a single driver.

   * Most pedestrians nearly hit by a married driver.

While the Guinness guys have standards, Belgium's Movies Maxs video rental shops apparently do not. According to yet another news story, they've been "offering two free videos to customers who can produce a speeding or parking ticket."

And, according to Belgium's federal police, this offer's legal. Though I'm guessing it isn't their cup of petro.

Movie Maxs' explanation for its promotional campaign is that it's "just trying to comfort people who fall victim to overzealous officers."

Yeah ... right. I'm sure getting lots of publicity has nothing to do with it.

Which gives me a great idea: Why not nominate Movie Maxs for "World's Most Cynical Publicity Ploy"?

Naaaah! That category has way too much competition.

© Madeleine Begun Kane. All Rights Reserved.
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