Larry Sager,
No Guns, No Knives, No Personal Checks:
The Tales of a San Francisco Cab Driver

(Falcon, 2007)

Second-guessing a career is what stuck out in my mind when I read No Guns, No Knives, No Personal Checks. Larry Sager delivers an excellent description of the turbulent days in the lives of San Francisco cab drivers. I visualized the passengers and the cabbies' lips, tender from biting them so they can scratch out a living.

In a business where danger is inevitable, cabbies roll the dice in hope of hitting seven instead of snake eyes when they pick up passengers. Do some cabbies profile and stereotype? Of course they do! They learn the hard way that perception can sometimes be deceiving. When a passenger gets in a cab, he should see a posted sign: No matter how large or meager the fare, it does not come with the benefit of insulting or disrespecting the driver. Some passengers naturally deem this as an additional perk. In reading Sagers' book, I often raised the red "stop taking advantage" flag, especially when I read "Bambalone," "My Baby's in the Hospital," "Cat Woman," "Blood," "No Guts" and "Call Mom." Of course, respect goes both ways, and in time someone might come along and hit us up with a book from the passengers' perspective.

Comical and pathetic is the conclusion I came to while reading about the cabbies' survival methods in the event of a confrontation. It was like bringing a butter knife to a sword fight. Even fare jumpers know that other than a threat or argument, they can for the most part have a heyday with cabbies.

This book was interesting and a definite eye-opener for anyone individually offering a service to the public. As an additional bonus Sager includes a cabbie glossary in the back of the book. After reading this enjoyable book, I was left to wonder how in the world cabbies unwind at the end of an insane day.

review by
Renee Harmon

23 August 2008

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