America is a nation obsessed with its cars, especially us males. Ever since my Y chromosome muscled out that wimpy second X one, I was pre-destined to fixate on buying my next car. Since college, I have owned eight cars, and every one of them has taught me a valuable life lesson. (Click on the links below to see exact replicas of each car I owned – down to the color.)
My Volvo (1968 model year) taught me a lesson in humility. A guy I knew in college dared me to a drag race on a stretch of highway. He had a Corvette. It did zero to 60 in 5.2 seconds. My six-year old Volvo did zero to sixty, well… eventually. By the time I reached the finish line, the other dude was in a different zip code – mocking me from afar. A humbling experience. Volvo has always had a reputation for building safe cars. After my humiliation, I could only conclude it must be because few Volvo owners ever have enough time on their hands to attain dangerous speeds above 20 mph.
My Chevy Malibu (1973) taught me about Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I received a firsthand education on the complexity of automobiles and just how many different components could break down, including the antenna, the door lock, the radio, the non-electric windows, and the clock – and that was just on my test drive. And I also learned that not all car horns sound the same. When my horn died (who knew car horns died?) the repair shop apparently found a replacement horn by stealing it from a pink Schwinn bicycle previously owned by a six-year old girl.
Continue reading “Everything I needed to know about life I learned from my car” »
Dear Young Tim,
Hello, handsome young lad. This is me – that is to say, you, writing to you from the future. It’s now 2014 and a lot has happened to us since I was your age. I wanted to talk about some of the things you’re planning to do over the next fifty years. First, don’t worry so much. You always were a bit of a worrywart. There will be some minor hiccups along your way – and a few doozies – but in the end, you’ll stumble through with more than a quarter of your dignity intact. Here’s some advice to make your journey to the year 2014 a little less bumpy. You’ll thank me later.
When you’re three years old, our mom and dad are going to dress you up as a Little Bo Peep for Halloween – complete with the curly-haired wig. Don’t let them. This humiliation will cause you to question your sexual orientation and sour you on barnyard animals for years. Insist on going as a tiger or maybe a ladybug. Just say No to Bo!
In seventh grade, you’re going to make one of the most eye-opening discoveries of our young life: Our older brother Ted’s secret stash of Playboy magazines. But here’s the thing: I strongly advise you NOT to put the May 1967 issue in your underwear drawer – the one mom restocks every week after doing the laundry. For God’s sake, at least put a post-it note on the magazine cover that says “This belongs to my brother Ted” so he takes the fall.
Continue reading “A letter to my younger self: Jocelyn will never go out with you (and other advice)” »