Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Saved My Life

My father is cut from an old cloth. The kind of guy that always provided for his family. Not surprisingly, dear old dad tended to sacrifice the finer things in life. He never knew the joy of that new car smell. For years he drove clunkers while the wife and kids drove new cars. The latest incarnation was an old 88 Cadillac DeVille held together with duct tape and a prayer. We always knew when dad was almost home. So did the neighbors. Now with the kids out of the house, dad started enjoying the finer things in life. Tuition payments were replaced with trips to Aruba with mom. I decided to tell him about cash for clunkers. “Dad, did you know you can get $4500 for the caddy if you trade it in? I asked. “That’s all. It’s a Caddy.” He replied. Yes, it was a Cadillac. It was a Cadillac with 200,000 miles on it and a cassette player that would only play a stuck 80s mix tape I made in Junior High School. “Aren’t you sick of listening to Flock of Seagulls?” I explained that he would get the cash if he purchased a brand new car with better mileage. He deserved a new car. Working in a factory for 30 years, he earned it. Dad finally turned in his old 88 Caddy to buy something new. He couldn’t pass up the deal. He opted for the Nissan Rogue. And dad couldn’t be happier. ”So what happens to my Caddy?” he asked. “Ummm. I think they take it upstate to a nice family with a farm.” The program seems to be a success. Ford announced its first gain in sales since 2007. GM has increased production. The environment will benefit from less gas guzzlers on the road. Less need for gas, less reliance on foreign oil. The National Automobile Dealers Association reports huge backlogs of applications awaiting approval by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which oversees cash for clunkers. Classic car enthusiasts have complained that a piece of Americana is being destroyed. Trust me, Americana doesn’t need your rust addled 1989 Ford Aerostar with the custom racing stripe. Listening to talk radio, I even heard some complain that by buying cars, people wouldn’t buy other things. Are you kidding me? We need economic stimulus right now. Buying cars saves jobs. It supports a cottage industry of air freshners, hanging dice, car mats, gas stations, and bikini car washes. Cars are as American as mom and apple pie. I've been thinking about taking part in the program. Maybe it was time to buy something more befitting my great stature as an attorney and officer of the court. Although I loved my red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury, it wasn't very "lawyerly". I needed a BMW or Mercedes. Maybe a Rolls. The Plymouth's high gas mileage and constant repairs were ripping a hole in my pocket. Some mornings it wouldn't start. Do you know how embarrassing it is to show up to a hearing on a bicycle? (Editors note: If you put your business cards in the spokes, they make a cool motorcycle sound). It got to the point where the car started controlling who I was. Not to mention she started killing the neighbors. I love old Christine, but maybe its time to trade her in. (Editors note: In reality "Christine" is not a 58 Plymouth Fury, it is actually a 1988 Jaguar named Lenny. The last of the English made Jags, the car saves me gas mileage by refusing to start most days. ) _______________________ If your a fan of the movie Christine, check out the movie Apparently, they are making a remake of the John Carpenter classic about a killer car.

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