Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Car Runs on Water

I was watching game one of the American League Championship series as one of the commercials started with a spotlight announcement for a new technological breakthrough car that runs on water; a funny looking bubble car shown with some fellow holding a garden hose filling the tank. The commercial broke off in a split screen to announce Jack in the Box’s new Sirloin Chibata sandwich. The breakthrough announcement for the car that runs on water stopped in mid delivery to acknowledge the new Sirloin sandwich and the commercial ended. About the only food I can eat from Jack in the Box are their excellent chocolate milk shakes; the rest of their food ends up eating me so it’s unlikely that I’ll ever try one of those new sandwiches.

When I was growing up my parents were on a tight budget, my mother was in nursing school so things were stretched pretty thin. They bought two new cars, what I’d call entry level economy cars; but at the time I think Renaults were buy one get one free, the second was for parts that nobody had in stock. These were Renault Dauphins; pronounced Rhen-Ault back then. Now they want to be called Ray Know; it’s amazing what your ears pick up on. I remember when Jaguar was pronounced Jag waur; now they cost a lot more and are Jag You Are, much more continental to the ear; big deal.

Mom’s Dauphine had a problem leaking water from the radiator so she kept a six pack of Coke bottles filled with water in the back seat for emergencies. Some folks would have taken it in to get it fixed; but living on a shoe string creates imaginative solutions to tide you over from paycheck to paycheck. Mom would pull over every so often, take out a bottle of water and pour it into the car so she could get a few more miles before repeating the process.

At the time there weren’t too many Ren-Aults running around on the streets so folks were a little more than puzzled when Mom would pull over pour a bottle of water in and then get on down the road. Some figured the French had come across with a “too good to believe” break through, a car that runs on water; or maybe Coca Cola. Not many were aware that the small white towel that came in the glove box had a dual purpose; the obvious was for wiping your hands after it broke down on the side of the road, the other was to signal surrender in case of attack. You gotta’ love the French for planning ahead.

You might remember seeing a funny looking European POS called the Yugo some years back. These were fairly unreliable even when new. You have to wonder about the industrial spies from Yugoslavia who broke into the abandoned Rambler/Nash facilities to steal plans to build an automobile; I know, Yugoslavia didn’t have industrial spies so they were actually Polish.

I was sitting at a stop light and noticed a Yugo in the next lane. If I’d had my camera with me I’d have taken a picture just to show one had survived; kind of like finding the last Slimy Toed Speckled South American Sparrow, the picture might be worth something.

I rolled my window down, motioning for the other driver to do the same. Once I had his attention I pushed my cell phone towards him. There was a look of bewilderment on his face, not sure what I was offering. “’Just thought you’d need this to call for a wrecker; you know, driving a Yugo and all.”

Some people just don’t have a sense of humor; of course if you’re driving a Yugo or a Ray Know that’s perfectly understandable. I need to work on my people skills if I’m to ever be assigned as a Deep low mat at the United Nations. At least I will have Deep low mat tique eam mune eity when I park illegally in my Jag You Are in front of the Fie Yare Plug there in Nue Yeurk See Ti.

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