Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Zoom, zoom

Booker T. Washington said, "Character, not clothes make the man."
Mark Twain claimed, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

Travis says, "Ask most men what they'd rather have - a nice suit or a sweet ride, 99% will pick the car every time."

Guys tend to think of their vehicles as an extension of themselves. Consciously or subconsciously. And his choice of dream wheels depends on the man himself.

An outdoorsmen will demand a 4X4, maybe with a lift kit, a gun rack, a front-end winch or even a wench, depending on his state of loneliness.

Others want to go fast. They tend do fantasize of things that are sleek and curvacious. Okay all of us fantasize of things that are sleek and curvaciosu but I'm talking cars here. Porsche's, Ferrari's, Lamborghini's.

Others drool over pure unadulterated horsepower. Truck that can pull mountains, and growl like a sixty-year-old, chain-smoking Waffle House waitress. The kind of truck that can't pass a service station without stopping.

No man, I repeat no man. Dreams of driving a mini-van.

That does not mean sacrifices are not made. A real father will trade in his cherry-red Camaro for the sake of getting his kids to soccer practice. But he won't like it. Sure his buddy will tease him and toss around terms like henpecked, ball and chain, neutered,a nd maybe even the dreaded P.W.

But he'll take the abuse and dream of the day he can get rid of the mini-bus and once again show what kind of man he really is.

Now the advice. Most of my readers are female but some of you are guys. Regardless of your gender please pass this message along. Guys DO NOT try and make a statement anyway. DO NOT say I am going to make the best of a bad situation. DO NOT over compensate - for anything. Regardless of what your shortcoming are.

I've typed all of that to tell you two stories. One new, and one old.


Yesterday, I'm sitting at a stop light. I glance over and notice a guy about my age . He's wearing a ball cap and a blue mechanic-type shirt. The kind that usually has the wearers first name sewed on. Really nothing out of the ordinary.

But then they catch my eye.

Flames. Big green ones, painted down the side ...

Of his black Dodge Caravan.

Dude, it's till a minivan. I didn't suddenly think now that is one cool minivan. I thought No there is a guy who lost an argument with his wife. A guy that shoudl have invested in a TV is he really didn't want to trade in his Harley for a capable of holding a few car seats. A guy desperately clinging to something he has obviously already lost.

Face the music. You are Fonsie no more. Welcome to Richie Cunningham land. maybe you will be cool again someday, but DO NOT highlight the fact that today ain't that day.

The Old

This story happened a few years back but i consider it to be one of my wife's wittiest moments, and she has a great sense of humor so that is going some. Of course anybody willing to marry me had better have one heck of a funny bone.

We were on the way to a friend's house. Driving through a residential area when we came upon a giant red truck. I'm talking the bottom of the door was a good three, three and a half foot off the ground. The wheels were huge and had aggressive off-road tread. Paintd in the tinted back windshield in bold red letters were these words. NO FEAR

And standing at the bumper was a wee little fellow that belonged on the back of Secretariat, or guarding a pot o' gold beneath a rainbow. He had his arms folded across his chest. The ball cap on his head was cocked a shade to one side, and the smirk on his face said, "Napoleon had nothing on me."

I was about to open my mouth and say something about the sight when my wife held up her pinky finger and said, "Big Red Truck, small pink weenie."

So let me hear the most ridiculous cars that you have seen. Not necessarily;y the ones trying to be ridiculous like those who paint their van to look like The Mystery Machine, or paint a rebel flag on the roof in Duke boy fashion, but the ones that say look at me and then when you do the only reaction is a chuckle or a cringe.


Shauna said...

Spoilers. Those things on the back of fast, race-car like vehicles. Can't stand them! I have seen some ginormous ones. Always makes me wonder what the driver is compensating for when the spoiler is half-again the size of the weenie little car.

Duck said...

I personally could really go for a nice new minivan. I like 'em, say what you will. They've got all sorts of bells and whistles that I could really go for. I don't understand the manly backlash against the mini-van. Of course, I've never had a car I would consider manly to begin with, and still don't. I don't drive particularly fast, and I'm too tall to fit into most sports cars comfortably anyway, so those are out. I don't dream of going "mudding" or have anything to tow, so who cares about big trucks. I do have a family that likes to take long road trips, and I have the occasional need to carry things around that don't fit in the back of a sedan. Oh, and I don't see anything wrong with being PW'd either. At least that means you're getting some P, and that it's good enough that you're willing to make compromises for it. I wouldn't opt for the flames though. I agree those are just plain ridiculous. Not quite as stupid/disgusting as those tow hitch testicles though...

alex keto said...

Oh my God!
Now I'll have to take the orange and red flames off my Toyota Corolla.

If i had only known people saw through it all

Erica Orloff said...

I once had a guy pick me up for a date in a white Lamborghini (spelling?). Apparently, he thought that made him cool.

While at the restaurant, he treated the waiter rudely, and SNAPPED his fingers to get the wait staff's attention. I wanted to crawl in a hole in the floor, I was so mortified . . . and mad.

I ditched him. Called a cab while supposedly in the ladies room. And now think anyone who drives a car like that is compensating for a weenie issue--just like your wife says.


Sizzle said...

those monster sized trucks are so ridiculous looking. love your wife's comeback. :)

that guy who is no longer the Fonz? at least he's not Mouth, right? Heh.

ssas said...

One time we saw a bald, aging guy in a convertable, a Diablo or something ridiculous, and my bald, aging friend said as we passed by: "Sorry about your penis."

This girl's husband has a BIG red jeep (mostly mine), a GINORMOUS rock crawler Rubicon (mine in the summer), a souped up Audi A6 (I think we're around 375 hp with the new chip), a KTM motocross bike, a Polaris 700 sled, (mine's the minivan-- Polaris 600 2-up). Oh, and a 120 sled and a Honda 60cc motocross bike for the kid.

I can attest that the penis is fine, so I'm not sure what in hell it all means, besides that some of our best friends are mechanics, if money can buy you love, that is.

He did buy the motorcycle when he turned 40. Things that make you go Hmmmm.

Liked your page. I don't know that mine made it up. I tried, but never found it again. :(

Barrie said...

A pest control company around here (I forget the name of the company!) has its employees drive little yellow card with adorable mouse ears on top. Very, very cute. BUT it's a pest control company. All about killing.

Chris Eldin said...

Love it!!
Almost makes you feel sorry for the guy. Until you realize it's mostly the mom in the van with the screaming kids.

I want a sportscar as much as DH!

Charles Gramlich said...

Still laughing here. I can't top those stories. Love your wife's take on the subject. Hilarious.

Travis Erwin said...

Shauna - Those drivers have watched the Fast and The Furious way too many times.

Duck - Sure you could, Because, like me you are a married guy with kids. But tell the truth if you were a single fellow out on the prowl you wouldn't choose a minivan cool features or not.

Alex - For some strange reason, I picture rel flames with your car. Come on admit it. you've torched at least one vehicle in your life haven't you.

Erica - That story is actually quite comical. Too bad the guys that can afford those cars are the one most apt to act like a complete jackass.

sizzle - or Potsy.

Sex scenes - great comment from your friend. And you're vehicle list seems right for someone living on Colorado and a lot in line with what I would want of I lived nearer the mountains.

barrie - mouse ears are never cool unless you are Disneyworld.

christine - here's hoping you get that sportscar right after that million dolar book deal.

Charles - I know there has to some crazy vehicles that roll out of the swamps down your way.

Patti said...

flames on any car is just askin' for a mockin'...el fuego!

Lana Gramlich said...

There was a new, red Corvette in our old apt. parking lot with the license plate; "YOU WISH"
Personally I'd rather NOT be disabled & drive a beater, but that's just me.

Josephine Damian said...

Travis! I've been dying to tell this story!

This semester, on the first day of class, my professor - a paunchy, short, 60-yr-old dentist, mentioned he used to drive a purple porcshe - but insisted that now he drives a more appropriate, practical "little old man car."

Because as future criminal investigators we're trained in interview and interrogation technique - how to tell when someone's lying - I could tell that the "little old man car" was a flat out lie.

Sure enough, although I had quite a head start heading home after class, and I'm a notorious lead -foot with a 70 mile - one way - commute to school - here comes my prof, passing me in the right hand lane - doing 90 MPH - in his canary yellow corvette with the vanity plates! And he's yakking on his cell phone!

His car was a yellow blur as it passed me, and I said to myself, No way is a fucking Chevrolet gonna blow off
my rot rod Lincoln! So I gunned it. Two seconds later, I caught up, then past him.

Take that! Eat my dust! Lincoln. There is no substitute.

And all I can think is, I'm a middle-aged grad student and I'm drag racing my 60-yr. old professor!

How mature and responsible of two people who are supposed to be old enough to know better, let alone supposed to be law abiding citizens.

So, yeah, totally get how vehicle choice can reveal character.

Josephine Damian said...

Barrie: You must totally live right near me - I see those same pest co. vehicles every day.

Josephine Damian said...

Errr... Travis? I don't see your first page here. If you still want, I'll give it a crit - you can email it to me if you like - but it's cool if you rather not.

Mr. Shife said...

I guess I am one of the 1 percent because I would rather have a nice suit.
I am with Duck about those tow hitch ball sacks. I have seen enough of those.

alex keto said...

Funny you should mention real flames. Almost got there as my last blog item mentions.

Bernita said...

Who could top your examples?
Your wife was right-on-perfect.

JM said...

The most ridiculous looking car was one similar to the truck that you saw. The doors were so high up off the ground that the person driving it kept a mini-ladder in the back. I saw him use it to get into the truck.

Cicily Janus said...

I once saw a mini-van that had a large fly spatted to the back of the vehicle and below the fly was about twenty pounds of green goo that looked like it was coming from the fly. And on the side of the van it says, Fly's Down Exterminators.

Thanks for a great post babe.


WordVixen said...

All piddly little 4 cylinders that have blow dryers on the back. Dude, your car doesn't even sound faster- definitely don't try to race my Olds. (or worse, the little 4 cylinders that tried to race my husband's Camaro SS)