Tuesday, May 27, 2014


We drive our vehicles into the ground, quite literally, into the ground. Sometimes, before the end, it’s possible to see the ground through the floor of the car. It’s our culture. It’s our way. If we lived in a third world country you’d find it charming. 

We had a green Dodge caravan that, in the end, would only go in reverse, so we used it to take the garbage out to the curb. Our curb is a bit of a trip.

I can tell you that it takes some planning to get where you’re going when your vehicle only goes backwards. We also used that caravan as a battery charger for an electric horse fence.

When enough stuff falls off our vehicles, we pass the crap-cars down to our children. It’s our culture. It’s our way.

Maren, our youngest daughter, inherited my green Grand-Am. It had a bumper sticker that read, “Proud Parent of an American Soldier,” a driver’s side mirror hanging by wires, and no functioning window on the passenger side. But it still went forward and backward. That car was perfectly fine. 

The law enforcement officer that pulled Maren over for speeding agreed.

By the time the good officer got to the car, Maren was hysterical—booger crying, laughing, and possibly braying like a donkey.

He asked for her license and said, “Do you realize you were doing forty-six miles per hour in a thirty-five zone?”

Maren began to yowl.

Shocked, he asked, “Why are you crying?”

She blubbered on and said, “Because (sounds of wailing) my parents (more yowling) are going to kill me.” She handed him her license.

“Why is the car’s side mirror in your front seat?”

“Because my brother ran into a mailbox, ripped it off (wailing sniffles) and my dad tried to epoxy it back on but all he expoxied was his pants, and this car is a piece of junk . . .” She trailed off in a flurry of post nasal dropping.

The officer observed. “Well this piece of junk was good enough to do forty-six in a thirty-five. What’s that under your leg?”

“My cell phone,” she hiccupped.

“Why is it under your leg?”

Her dignity gone, her life a shipwreck on the shoals of emotional despair, she did not have the moxie to lie.

Sniffling, she said, “So I can feel it vibrate when someone calls.”

He started to laugh at her and then walked back to his partner where he related Maren’s sad tale of woe and travail. They started to laugh at her, and then—still laughing—the officer walked back to Maren and said, “Thanks for the laugh. Slow down next time.”

She sailed away, the wind from the broken passenger’s side window drying the tears on her cheek and chin.

We did not kill her. It’s not our culture. It’s not our way.

Linda (Speed Racer) Zern

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