I rarely drive at night because (a) I am an old man with poor night vision, and (b) I despise cars with one headlight out.

If I am driving down the road and see one headlight, I wonder: Is it a motorcycle? No. As I approach it, I gasp and curse; it is a car with a dead headlight.

When I was a young unmarried driver on a date, my date and I would often play the padiddle game.

Padiddle, alternatively spelled pediddle or perdiddle, is a Canadian and American slang term for a vehicle with a burnt-out headlight or brake light or a game involving tallying up sightings of such vehicles.

When my date and I saw one, we'd kiss. Perdiddles are not so much fun anymore.

Perdiddles bother another Huntington resident who lives in the south central area of the city.

He returned to Huntington after being gone 40-plus years because his elderly parents needed elder care. They live just west of Huntington's city limits.

What follows are his emails to me in a condensed version:

"Over 30-plus of those years were in Northern Virginia, and my home was 25 miles due West of the White House.

"When I returned to Huntington, I would drive every day or night between my new home and my parents' home.

"I was shocked and amazed as I drove from my parents' home to my home when it was dark at the number of vehicles on the road with a headlight out.

"I mentioned that fact to my brother-in-law, who lives in the Atlanta area, and his only comment was: 'Well, you're in West Virginia'

"I started counting the number of vehicles I encountered as I drove from my parents' home to my home at night.

"I would keep my brother-in-law advised about the number of headlights out I counted every evening.

"It was like a 'game' I call the "headlight virus.'

"My brother-in-law would simply say: 'It's West Virginia.'

"The record count of vehicles with a headlight out one evening was nine.

"That's unbelievable.

"And one evening, the vehicle I encountered with a headlight out was a Huntington police car.

"During my 30-plus years living in Northern Virginia, I can only recall two times I encountered a vehicle on the road with a headlight out.

"In Fairfax Co., Virginia, if your headlight is out, you'll get a ticket before you can even get to the dealership to have it replaced.

"Regarding West Virginia vehicle inspections, the only thing I can say is my vehicle is now inspected in West Virginia, and used to be inspected in Chantilly, Virginia. But I do know there was an issue with my car that passed inspection in West Virginia, but would have failed in Virginia.

"But, as my Brother-in-Law would say: 'Well, you're in West Virginia.'"

Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is davepeyton@comcast.net.


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