Chapter 10

“Hi, I’m Jon Stewart. Welcome back to The Daily Show. In political news, a small town California teenager is collecting signatures for his city to secede from the union. Jeremy Anton of Placerville says he’s doing this to protest the rules restricting driving before age 20. In a bit of history, over 150 years ago the mining town of Rough-and-Ready voted to secede from the union in order to protest a tax on mining and alcohol. Three months later the town voted itself back in, some say because bartenders in nearby towns wouldn’t serve beer to “foreigners.” For more on this story, here is Daily Show Correspondent Aasif Mandvi.”

Aasif Mandvi stands in front of Placerville High School with a microphone. “Thank you, Jon. The teenage culture in California has had to dramatically adjust to the Draconian driving laws. Since they aren’t allowed to drive until age 20, these young adults have had to be innovative and resilient to enjoy what are American high school traditions.”

The camera cuts to a shot of Aasif in an airplane. “Running late for class? No problem!” He parachutes out of the plane and into a classroom that inexplicably has no roof. He aims for his usual seat and lands it as the parachute drifts down to cover half of the students.

“Submarine races” by the lake are now knows as “squirrel watching,” intones Aasif as the camera moves in on a teenage boy and girl, making out on top of a horse, underneath a tree. Other couples are similarly engaged nearby.

“And what about cruising the strip with friends, like in American Graffiti?” Aasif inquires. “These teens say, “Can do!” The screen is filled with a shot of familiar downtown Placerville, with teenagers riding up and down in Larks and other senior scooters. “How YOU doin?” nods a boy to a group of four girls who all giggle and sip from energy drinks as they reach the end of the strip and turn around.

“Have to drop off a younger sibling at school? No problem, Mom,” says Aasif as he is pictured in a soapbox derby car, careening down a hill toward an elementary school, heading toward a group of young children who scatter. The derby car runs into a grass hill and a tiny toddler gets flung out of Aasif’s backpack and lands on the other kids.

“All in all, Jon,” says Aasif from the back of a rickshaw pulled by high school wrestlers trying to make weight, “with good old-fashioned American ingenuity, the inability to drive as a teenager is hardly noticeable.”

“Right. Aasif Mandvi, everybody!” says Jon Stewart.


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