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3:08 a.m. - 2005-08-01

WE HAD JOY, WE HAD FUN, WE HAD SEVERE MECHANICAL PROBLEMS IN THE SUN


So on Friday I call the place where my now-totalled car is resting comfortably and ask how I go about getting that spectacular 12-disc CD changer out of the trunk before they take the car to the junk heap.

I'm told that the car place is open Monday through Friday from 9 until 5 p.m.

Hey! How convenient! That's the exact same times I work each day! Who'da thunk it?

I ask if there's anyone there that can help me in taking out the 12 disc CD changer since the most experience I have in installing and uninstalling car stereos is the time I talked to a guy at a party who had a cousin who once watched a guy install an 8-track player into a '75 Impala.

No such luck. There's nobody there that can help me. If I want the thing, I have to find someone who can take it out in the next two business days between the hours of 9-5.

Because I'm all about the non-confrontational way of life, I thanked them profusely before hanging up and wondering ... what would Jesus do?

Would Jesus pull out the phone book and call the closest Car Stereo Installation Business and ask if one of their guys could accompany Him to a junkyard to rip a decent car stereo out of an about-to-be-smooshed car?

Probably.

But then again ... I don't make it a habit to second-guess Jesus like all these people wearing the "WWJD" bracelets.

Still, there were other things in the car that I needed to get like a button in the glove compartment that said "SHUT UP AND DANCE" that I wear when I'm DJ'ing and other less important things like the car title.

So the manager of the tux shop was in on Friday afternoon and I explained my predicament to him and he whipped me with his belt before allowing me to run over to the car place and retrieve my button, title and assorted drive-thru ketchup packets from the glove compartment.

I drive over there and explain to the woman that I had just called about the CD changer which I would be unable to retrieve so feel free to have one of your mechanics take it out the day of the smooshing and sell it on Ebay or something. But I was here to pick up a button and some ketchup. And a car title.

She said she was glad I came by because ... holy of holies ... after she hung up, she found out that there WAS a kid working there who could remove my CD changer for me.

Free of charge.

I commenced my jig-dancing which came across more like a tired fat guy waving his arms to and fro like a spastic stroke victim.

The kid led me to the back of the junkyard where ... my once beautiful car rested in the weeds.

It was a sad sight.

The rear bumper had been torn off by some uncaring tow truck driver when he took it here to its final resting place.

It was covered in a thin film of dirt, kinda like Martha Stewart's vagina.

It was heartbreaking.

...If, in fact, your heart is easily broken by junked cars.

The kid removed the CD changer and stereo within minutes and handed it to me along with the license plate and the new car battery we had just put in two weeks before.

He walked away and left me there alone with the car.

I stared at the car.

I remembered all the good times I had in the car.

I remembered the first time I test drove it and thought "Yeah. I could totally bogart this gnarly ride!"

(I bought it during my brief "stoner surfer" phase. Sue me.)

It was really weird.

Here was a car that I had driven for the last seven years that had been taken away from me in a cruel twist of fate.

Or ... as some people who don't use fancy words would refer to it ... a wreck.

I briefly thought about climbing on top of the roof of the car, spreading myself face down on top of it and giving it one last hug goodbye.

But I didn't, because of the afore-mentioned thin film of dirt and I really didn't want to walk out of there looking like Al Jolson on a three-day bender.

So I just said "Goodbye Amanda".

(Yes, my car's name was Amanda.)

(And yes, I never got around to naming her until I was standing there saying goodbye to the damned thing and Amanda was the first name that came to mind. Once again ... sue me.)

As I left ... and I would swear this is true on a stack of Bibles ... it started to sprinkle as I walked away.

Naturally, I thought "God is crying over my car."

I honestly thought that.

God was crying for the car that I couldn't cry for because a bunch of greasy mechanics were standing around looking at me and I didn't wanna look like a huge pussbaby as I stood there crying in a makeshift junkyard over a slightly dented '95 Intrepid while they pointed and guffawed at me.

Then I started thinking "Damn man! YOU made God cry! You're going to Hell for this!"

...And I ran out of the junkyard to the safety of my minivan and left the premises.



That same minivan?

The one that broke down on the side of the Interstate nine days ago and had to have a belt replaced?

Welllllll ... it made a sound like someone unloading a dump truck full of gravel on the hood yesterday as I drove home from the grocery store.

Then the "You'd better check your water, dude" light came on.

Then the "Whoa shit! Your battery's freaking out!" light came on.

Then the power steering decided to take a snoozer, leaving me to use every muscle in my body to turn corners.

Luckily, this all happened at the entrance to our subdivision so I only had to panic for about a mile.

Soooooooo ... for the second time in a week, we had to have the van towed BACK to the place that fixed it nine days ago.

Because ... in my limited mechanical knowledge ... the belt they replaced had seemed to slip off the doohickeys that it's not supposed to slip off of.

So today I'm driving my mother-in-law's car to work and at lunch I'm going to go over to the car place, hand them the keys and say "Fix this thing RIGHT or you're going to have a grown man sobbing hysterically in your waiting area and buddy ... THAT ain't good for business!"

Yeeeeah.

That'll show 'em.


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