i found this on another site, but they stole it from somewhere, so whatever.
The Massachusetts Turnpike, our main highway leading through Boston, is a toll road. Riding it end to end costs you $5.60; commuting into the city from the suburbs costs $2.00, or more, each way. All those tolls really add up -- the average commuter spends $1000.00 per year on tolls -- but it's either that or keep our massive highway construction projects under budget.
Recently, while giving away yet another $1.00 of my hard-earned money for the privilege of driving into town, I wondered: how flexible are they about the tolls? So I decided to undertake a series of experiments.
1) You can drive through the "Fast Lane," which is a computerized system that detects a small device that you keep on your windshield, while pelting your car with gamma rays and slowly giving you cancer of the prostate. All Fast Lanes require that you slow your car to 15 mph, and some make you stop completely, giving new meaning to the word "Fast."
2) You can pay cash to the friendly toll booth operator, who will give you change, and, if you're lucky, a surly grunt.
3) If you have exact change, you can use the "baskets," which are big scoop-shaped buckets into which you throw your money. The money slides down a chute, where it is then processed by either highly efficient money-sorting machinery, or financially astute elves. It's a mystery.
Experiment #1. First, I went through one of the $1.00 toll gates, but I only threw in 97 cents. Believe it or not, I was nervous as I drove away -- would the Turnpike Police pull me over and make me fill potholes with gravel and hot tar until I paid off my debt? Would angry Dobermans chase me down the highway, chomping at my tires?
Experiment #2. Emboldened, the next time I went through the toll booth, I decided to try throwing in just seven cents.
Experiment #3. The next time I went through, I decided to just write them an I.O.U., and tape it to the toll booth. I signed it "Mariah Carey," because I figured she can afford the extra dollar.
This is great! I thought. All these years, I've been paying tolls, and it turns out they're optional! What other creative payment options could I use to pay my tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike?
In days of yore, a traveling journeyman would have to pay off a wizened troll before he could cross a precarious bridge slung over a yawning gorge. "THREE GOLD COINS!" the troll would yell, flecks of saliva and goat meat dripping from his beard. Our modern-day equivalent is the Massachusetts Turnpike, where the trolls have now been replaced by automated toll-collecting baskets -- although you can see from the picture at right that their hygiene hasn't improved.
xperiment #4. This time, instead of throwing in $1.00, I decided to tape two pictures of rap superstar 50 Cent, because that adds up to a dollar:
As I drove away, I kept nervously glancing in my rear view mirror for the Toll Booth Police, or 50 Cent's posse, but the sad truth is that nothing happened.