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Sunday, February 24, 2002

My Other Car Is Your Wife

I have absolutely no idea what that bumper sticker means but I thought it was the funniest thing I had seen that day. My other favorite is VISUALIZE GETTING OFF YOUR HIPPIE ASS AND GETTING A JOB. That one was on an old truck near my bank. I actually did a stake-out for a half hour or so hoping to get a look at someone who feels as strongly about hippies as I. No show.

My favorite original hippie joke: A hippie steps off the curb and right into the path of a speeding semi. That’s it, that's the joke. If that isn’t funny enough for you then you got a problem. It even has a happy ending although it is merely implied. The down side is that the truck needed a thorough washing because hippies are filthy. It's true, I got salmonella once just from touching a hippie, well, replace 'touch' with 'punch.'

What sort of world do we live in when people pay lots and lots of money for their cars? Are cars really that important? These are the same people who wouldn't consider buying something of beauty like an original piece of art. Most people can't really afford the cars they drive. Even if they can make the payments without going without food, they are sacrificing the annual trip to Europe, or private lessons in Spanish for the sake of their massed-produced bucket of bolts. They are victims of marketing. Bravo to all of the talented people in marketing who have done such a splendid job in perverting our collective values that we actually believe we are what we drive.

I would say 'don't get me started on SUVs, but I already have. People buy them because of the advertising. Period. That's the only reason. I spend quite a bit of time in the Cascades doing the sort of thing that the advertisers lead you to believe comes along with buying an SUV at no extra charge. The phony image of ruggedness is what sells these gas hogs. I can tell you this: look where the people who climb, hike, and mountain bike park their vehicles while they are doing these activities. What you will see are a bunch of busted-up Toyota corollas and very old Subaru wagons that look like the only body work they have undergone was with the jaws of life. I have never had to four-wheel to get to any of the places where I hike or climb or bike.

They should make the names of these vehicles more revealing of their occupants. Better yet we need to change the acronym to something like I BOUGHT IT TO KEEP MY KIDS SAFE, GODDAMNIT or EVERYONE ELSE HAS ONE SO I WANT ONE. TOO. That would be in a perfect world, my world. They are getting bigger and bigger--comedically big. I read about the Ford Expedition, a V-10 leviathan, that makes SUV's of the past look like minis. At something around 10mpg it is like the Exxon Valdes with four-wheel drive. I certainly believe that people have the right to drive whatever they want but there has got to be a limit. If some soccer mom is eating a rice cake while talking on a cell phone and rams me with her HUMVEE my destruction is absolutely certain. That's why people buy them. They want to make sure that they kill all of the low-life tooling around in pansy-assed economy cars.

These huge vehicles go right along with the current trend in suburban city (an oxymoron if ever there was such a thing) landscape planning that I call the Road Warrior subdivision. The gated communities where people stay locked up and away from the post-nuclear holocaust trash like me. When they leave Wilde Wood or whatever pseudo British-sounding ghetto they inhabit it is in one of these monster trucks with the windows rolled up and Kenny G blaring on the 20 CD changer. I have a few things to point out. Living in the suburbs isn't living. Kenny G isn't jazz. If you can't walk to at least a few places from where you live you should move and try living in a place where that is a possibility. Next buy your kid a bike and tell her to cart her own ass to soccer practice. With the time you save by not chauffeuring the kid around you can take up soccer yourself.

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