Friday, October 21, 2011

A car doesn’t make a person

If you drive a flashy car, it can mean a few things. First, you may have a large payment; second, you might desire attention; and lastly, it's possible you are overcompensating. I am not talking about a classic car that may be well deserved. I am talking about a flashy car. The big canary-yellow Hummer with chrome wheels and tinted windows (please skip this part if you own that car).

My dad had the opposite philosophy. He would always say, “Any man can get attention driving a flashy car, but only a special few will get noticed in a clunker.” If a woman turns her head to look at you in a dilapidated Dodge Dart, you know she is either taking pity on you or that you got it goin’ on!

My parents tried to teach me this philosophy as a teenager. I was responsible for purchasing my first vehicle, and boy did I find a diamond in the rough. It was a 1976 AMC Matador. She was white with a blue top. I say she, because you have to name a car with this much personality, and her name was “Maddie”. We were born the same year. She had four doors, three of which actually worked. She was incontinent, always leaking some type of fluid. She ate tires and was an excessive drinker of petroleum products. Yet, I was proud she was mine.

As with most first cars, she taught me much. I learned how to drive, how to be responsible and how to be independent. I also realized just how many of my friends cared about appearances. The few who were willing to set aside their pride and ride with me, usually did it out of desperation. And you can be guaranteed they ducked their heads whenever a cute specimen of the opposite sex was nearby. Despite my age, I knew that if you didn’t like me because of the car I drove, I probably wouldn’t want to be your friend anyway.

Even though I am much older now I still prefer the vehicles I can name. The one’s with quirks and defects, much like myself. There are others like me. Those who can afford more, yet they purposely buy the clunker: the rusty, personality-filled hunk of metal. Like my father, they want you to know that they will not fit into the mold. They are rebels. They are confident in themselves, and understand that a car will never make a person.

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