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November 16, 2010

Every Man A King, Every Car A Corvette

FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post, brought to you by the good people at Xbox Kinect Joy Ride, which looks pretty awesome, and although I have a Wii I would totally love an Xbox, because I feel like I need more grown-up video games in my life, which is sorta sad. Perhaps I will go and enter this contest on Dooce's website, even though I won't win because I'm ineligible, plus I'm like One Degree of Separation from her because her husband Jon and I are both speaking at the Mom 2.0 Summit. Maybe we'll hang out! Eh, who am I kidding. I have a creepy mustache. And I don't shower daily.

Wow. That really was full disclosure.

More disclosure: even though I've done my fair share of writing about cars, I do not consider myself a Car Guy. Growing up, I had a massive collection of Hot Wheels, but my car taxonomy skills were fairly limited. I had friends - and these were 2nd graders, mind you, that could rattle off every known fact about their tiny metal cars' real-life counterparts: "Mine's a '67 Mustang Fastback, fuel-injected dual carb V8, three-speed on the tree, twin large barrel exhaust. What's yours?" Me: "Green." 

That lack of automotive interest has stayed with me. I love to drive, I appreciate a fine automobile, and I wouldn't be caught dead behind the wheel of a minivan*. But a car is really just something to get you and yours from Point A to Point B. With one exception (my current 2nd car, an Audi A4, which I bought used and have since racked up 80,000 miles on it), I've never had a Nice Car. Ever hear of a Pontiac Phoenix SJ? It was my first car - the first, in fact, in what I've since dubbed The Hoopty Trilogy (eventually including a 1984 300ZX - teetop, bitches! - and a 1989 Toyota Celica). Other cars I've owned: a Ford Ranger and a Honda CR-V. 

So I'm not sure where Lucas gets his current fascination with cars. Every time we're out driving, he's asking me about our fellow travelers. "What's that one called? How fast does it go? Is it faster than ours? I want to see a Lambo...Lamber...what's it called again?" "A Lamborghini." "Yeah, a Lam...one of those. Are they faster than our Xterra?" "I'm pretty sure." "Why?" And then I do my best to explain engines and displacement and torque and aerodynamics. He eats this stuff up.

Like so many things, I overanalyzed this. Should I be encouraging him to fixate on something more environmentally friendly? Cars burn gasoline! Gasoline made from oil! Oil dependency bad! Cars bad! What if this love of cars leads to him walking away from a full ride at Cal (where he will lead the Bears to four straight NCAA rugby titles while earning dual degrees in Rich Lawyering and Highly Successful Doctoring - minoring in English, of course, so that he can be a bestselling author in his spare time) and enrolling in the ITT Tech Mechanics Program. What if - God help us - he wants to be a NASCAR driver?

Of course, the real issue isn't that he loves cars. The real issue is that I don't. It's yet another sign that he's becoming who he will be. Still, I'm not too concerned that we're drifting apart. I know that there's really nothing magical about how a car works. But I still agree with his take on it: "You mean there's EXPLOSIONS in the ENGINE?! AWESOME!"

 



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