Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Cruise Control" is not Paramount

I'm certainly not the first to blog about Tom Cruise's latest woes, and I'll keep it short. This week Paramount Pictures severed its 14-year-long business relationship with Cruise's production company, Cruise/Wagner Productions. And I predict it won't be long before we realize we never needed this...ahem...passionate Scientology advocate in the first place.

"Cruise Control" seems to be everywhere -- and not just all over Hollywood. Cruise control has, in fact, metastasized into one of those unnecessary things we've unofficially agreed is necessary. Other examples are microwave ovens and, back in the 1970s, shag rug carpeting.

We ask automobile manufacturers to slap cruise control onto just about every single damn vehicle we buy. In fact, who remembers the last time they drove a vehicle sans cruise control installed?

I do.

Circumstances recently found me in light traffic en route to a routine appointment. As I drove the two hours up U.S. Interstate 93 North in a family member's car, the thought of cruise control once -- and only once -- crossed my mind. And a scoff along the following lines accompanied this thought: "For Pete's sake, why the hell would anyone need cruise control?"

Then I glanced across the dashboard and steering wheel. And, to my disbelief, the major automobile manufacturer that made the late-model vehicle I was driving actually allowed this car to leave the assembly line and enter the world of highways without the cruise control option installed. And I had barely noticed.

Cruise control ain't all it's hyped up to be. And once we finally see it's not there, we'll realize we never needed cruise control -- let alone "Cruise Control" -- in the first place.