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May 21, 1998

National news briefs

Mass Pike eliminates tolls

BOSTON — Acting Governor Paul Cellucci today announced plans to eliminate all remaining tolls from the Massachusetts Turnpike. But a lack of tolls does not mean that riding the Turnpike will be totally “free” in the future.

While drivers will no longer be required to pay money as they enter and exit the Pike, they will now be required to complete certain rites of passage to get on and off the road.

Much like the current toll system, the ceremonies in the new Rites of Passage system will increase in intensity as a driver drives along the Pike. For example, a person who travels from Boston to Natick will be required to take part in a Confirmation or Bar/Bat Mitzvah. If the same driver were to get off at Worcester or Route 295, they would be subjected to a fraternity-style hazing, with passengers in the car legally required to cheer the driver on with chants of “Chug! Chug! Chug!”

Turnpike Authority President Jeremy Feinstein anticipates a few drinking-related deaths to occur at this booth each year, but says that the Authority won’t be at fault. “These people should know their own limits,” said Feinstein. “Otherwise they shouldn’t be driving to Worcester.”

Drivers who attempt to ride the pike all the way to the West Springfield exit (I-91) will need to walk across hot coals. And those who travel all the way to the New York border will be forced to undergo a state-sponsored circumcision — penile or clitoral.

“We think it’s a comparable burden to the current price,” Feinstein explained. “Besides, there are lots of people out there who want to be circumcised and just never get around to it. Now the state will do it for them for free. That’s what we call progress through privatization.”

Rescue efforts continue

MEDFORD — Attempts to rescue local teen Oren Bigelow from his favorite pair of wide-leg jeans have entered their fourth day. As family and friends gathered for an emotional candle-lit prayer vigil near the left hip pocket, rescue volunteers worked feverishly to locate Bigelow, believed to be lost somewhere near the left knee.

“It’s been pretty rough going,” admitted an exhausted Chess Lamberton, rescue worker. “Yesterday we had a cave-in near the zipper. Thank God no one was hurt.”

Among Bigelow’s assembled friends was Myrtle Calhoun, a classmate. “Well,” said Calhoun, “Oren isn’t what you’d call a ‘nice guy.’ In fact, he has a little problem I won’t mention involving kerosene and nursing homes. But he gives me pretty cheap whippits, and they said there’d be food at this vigil. I guess I hope he makes it out okay.”

Vaughn’s wages to be garnished

BOSTON — In Dan Duquette’s latest attempt to satisfy slugger Mo Vaughn’s contract demands, the Red Sox GM has announced an offer to garnish Vaughn’s wages. “We could spruce his paycheck up with something as simple and traditional as parsley or lemon,” explained Duquette. “Or we could try something a little more daring, a little more interesting. I saw some great things in Martha Stewart Living with radish blossoms. Really, the possibilities are limitless.” Vaughn was out of town attending a Sizzler buffet, but was reportedly incensed at the attempt to introduce roughage into his diet, even on a decorative basis.

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