Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hubris and the Indestructible Plastic Car

At the risk of sounding like an After-School Special or an early South Park episode, I’ve learned a valuable lesson today, one worth sharing with as wide an audience as possible.1 I’ve learned that if you’re willing to brag about how durable your car is—aloud, in writing, or even just smugly to yourself—you should be prepared to have it fall apart on you, Bluesmobile-style, almost immediately.

My list of suspects for this poetically just but financially shitty piece of automotive vengeance is long and not particularly coherent—I don’t know whether to blame karma, the Car Gods, fate, the Underpants Gnomes, or simply some harsh and unyielding cosmic force that specializes in cruelly expensive comeuppance.

Some might say that I’m blowing this out of proportion—that it’s not out of the ordinary for a fourteen-year-old car with a mostly spotless track record to eventually break down, that it’d be unrealistic to expect to hit 300,000 miles without every once in a while having to spend a few hours waiting for a tow truck on the side of a busy highway.

Bullshit. I don’t want to hear it.

So now, one week and several dollars later, my once-indestructible plastic car has two new shifter cables and a shiny new corrosion-free head gasket. As an added bonus, I got an oil change that was probably 4,000 miles overdue. I prefer to believe that I got a free head gasket and shifter cables, but had a four-digit bill on the oil change. Whether that’s denial or just plain stupidity I will leave up to you to decide.

An example of a healthy, happy head gasket.
My head gasket (artist’s conception)

Take a lesson from me—if you have a great, durable little car that doesn’t give you any trouble and costs you very little, shut the hell up about it. Don’t tempt the mystical forces of comeuppance unless you’re prepared to pay the consequences.2 The engine you save could well be your own!

1. Given how little I know about marketing a blog, and how little time or money I’m willing to spend on it, the widest possible audience is right around six people. Thank you for your support, by the way.
2. By which I of course mean “mechanic.”

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