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Monday, October 22, 2012


I sold my car about a year ago, figuring that I would just waltz right out and get a new one. After about 6 months I realized two things: 1.), that they don’t currently manufacture a car that I wanted to buy and 2.), that I can’t dance very well. 

The car had to be relatively inexpensive. I see a lot of people driving around in Escalades or Mercedes that don’t look like they could pay the mortgage on a refrigerator box. With the bass turned up so loud that some of the fillings in my teeth fall out when they roll by. I like to pull up next to them playing the same song only with the treble boosted to 10, so I can get a decent mix. 

It had to have some styling. Did you ever see a Scion? It looks like you’re driving around in a Kleenex box. And that little Chrysler thing that looks like a tiny little gangster car for little tiny gangsters. I can’t be in a pookie car; I’m a 6’2” guy, and I can’t be in any car that says “Mini” right in the name. A Smart Car? If you get hit by a pickup truck in that thing it’s going to smart. 

I like a sports car, since I play tennis. The sports car has never really helped on the court, but we also have a sports utility vehicle, and it’s very convenient for storing my sports utilities, which are a can of balls and a tennis racquet. 

It had to have a well-appointed cockpit. It seems to me that a cockpit should have an altimeter. If I notice that I am driving at 2,000 feet above sea level I’d like to know why. I’m not sure exactly when cars started having cockpits. It used to be called the front seat. I have four sisters and a brother and you had to get out to that car quick, possibly the night before, if you wanted to sit in that front seat. I picture the co-pilot of a plane busting ass to get out there early before all the passengers try to sit in the front.  

It has to get decent gas mileage. I wanted to decrease my carbon footprint, while increasing other parts of my carbon anatomy, if you know what I mean. I can’t wait around for more fossils to become fuel. And by the way, it irks the crap out of me that somebody a million years from now is going to be driving around in a Kleenex box with gas from MY FRIGGING FOSSILS. Shame on you. 

I already have a separate GPS so I didn’t need that, and I purposely did not order the “voice-activated command center.” I could picture the GPS telling the voice-activated command center to do things, just to yank my crank. The GPS has already sent me down a one-way street RIGHT IN FRONT of a police station- no lie. And when I looked at it it was like, “Dude that was an honest mistake but you have to admit it was funny.” The car salesman asked me whether I had a Bluetooth, which was weird because my dentist asked me the same question. 

The salesman was very low-pressure, I have to give him that. He didn’t even seem to think that I needed a new car at all. He gave me the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, and he suggested some other prices to add onto that. I had a couple of suggestions too, which I would rather not repeat here, but I made an offer and he disappeared to go check with his manager. It turns out he WAS the manager, so we struck the deal.

He handed me a goofy plastic thing instead of a key. It opens the locks, closes the locks and has an alarm signal to call for help. It’s huge, like having a trout in my pocket. So if you happen to ask me, “Is that a trout in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?” the answer is probably both. 

Warranties are much better than they used to be. My first car had a warranty for 3 years or 6 months, whichever came first. My second car was a Nissan Sentra which came with extensive "power train" protection, but I just knew they would never honor it. The car had about 120 horsepower soaking wet, and I pictured them dickering about if that could actually be considered a "power train." This car comes with one year of "roadside assistance," and I have already used it, since I needed some help with the leaf raking. 

I love driving the car; it handles well, I like the turbo-charger, once you get used to it. A couple things: I have all kinds of allergies, and I drive with my knees about 70 percent of the time so I can sneeze. This car has so much crap mounted on the steering wheel that when I am in the middle of an allergy attack, I change the radio station, set the cruise control and open the gas filler cap. 

So I get the car home and go to back it into the garage, and I can’t get the damned thing into reverse. I tried jamming it hard, I pushed down on the lever, I pulled, I yanked it hard to either side, I even considered that they had installed the knob upside down- nothing I did would make it go backwards. I was about to key my own car, but all I had was that stupid thing that looks like a trout, so I hit the alarm signal, and my wife came out of the house. “Did you press the release button to get it into reverse?” She asked. “Of COURSE I pressed the release button! I PRESSED and PRESSED the release button! Do you happen to know where the release button is?” I don’t know if you’ve ever been whacked on the head by a trout but it hurts. 

Incidentally, the car I ended up buying is a 2013 Dodge Dart. My family owned not only a Dodge Dart when I was in High School, but a Dodge Dart SWINGER! It was neon yellow, and it was a great make-out car because it had bench seats. You stick a girl on one side of the thing, and if you don't have enough time to bother with foreplay, you just make a hard right and she slides into your lap for a threesome with the gear-shift lever, and both of you end up fighting over her. It was a great car- the "slant-6" engine with a "three-on-the-tree" automatic. I liked the car more than the girl, but one summer I deflowered both the girl and my mom's garden while my parents were away for the weekend, and the Dart was involved in both.


  1. In the 1960's the late humorist Jean Shepherd predicted on his radio show that most car companies would begin calling the front seats of cars "cockpits".
    He later bolstered this prediction by writing magazine articles about cars wherein he always used the word "cockpit". I don't know whether he used the word in 'A Christmas Story' but he did use the word 'FRAGILE'.
    Upon perusal of the 2013 Dart's webpage I noticed the following sales pitch:
    "Clean lines from nose to tail form its curvaceous silhouette. The unmistakable split crosshair grille accentuates its low, wide stance."
    Now this bit of marketing has actually been lifted from the promotional materials of the Mustang Ranch! It's not clear what your intentions are regarding your new 'ride' (i hate that euphemism, it borrows on the substitute term for 'girlfriend') but I hope that your Dart hits the bullseye for you in terms of happy motoring. Just remember to pull over to the side of the road if you really have to.

  2. Wow! "clean lines from nose to tail?" The lines are still clean on this thing but the inside of the car is already a mess....