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Car Wars: The Phantom Mileage

posted by Dave and Fouff of fame on 11/29/01

Writing on the internet sometimes ranks right in between catching your Dad masturbating and watching Paula Abdul and Keanu Reeves butcher Rebel Without a Cause in her “Hush, Hush” video on the FUN-O-METER. Between the whole “not getting paid” aspect and having to deal with people who’s sole purpose seems to be turning on their computer to escape their miserable lives, only to lambast everybody and everything in sight.. the moments where this whole shibang is actually pure unadulterated fun are few and far between. Occasionally though, I’ll come in contact with someone who is completely of a like mind and it actually inspires me to get off of my ass to use this keyboard to ramble on incessantly for the masses. One of those people is definitely Fouff of I’ve been a big admirer of his site and especially his stoned movie reviews for a while now. Originally we were going to collaborate on a movie review… but then when we were having a little trouble deciding on just which movie to review… he came up with the idea to do an article dedicated to our first automobiles instead. When he suggested it, I was kind of taken aback because I had actually toyed with the same idea a few months back.. I guess it had just sunk deep into the recesses of my mind though.. and I had completely forgotten about it… Until now. (insert maniacal, completely over-the-top laughter here).

I’ve always been a firm believer that people’s cars are quite possibly the most accurate reflection of just who they are as people. Not only the make and model of the car… but also the condition of the car and how the people keep the interior.. All of these add up to a psychologist’s wet dream. Now the one thing I wonder is.. if a psychologist has a wet dream.. do they change the sheets right away or try to figure out what it all meant first. Hmmm…

I was the last of all of my friends to get my driver’s license. Being that I was on the cusp of the cutoff date for starting kindergarten… my parents saw that I was small for my age to begin with… and decided to just completely fuck me over by starting me a year earlier than I really should have been. This was really great because not only did I not get my driver’s license of November of my Senior year of high school.. but I also didn’t turn 21 until my Senior year of college. Hey Mom and Dad.. if I haven’t said it already.. let me just state for the record, “Thanks a bunch.”.

I also want to thank Mom and (Step-)Dad, as they wouldn’t let me lay a finger on their vehicles. I had to enroll in driving school to earn my license, and still, I wasn’t allowed to use either of their cars. While they didn’t come right out and say I was incompetent behind the wheel, it was implied by the continuous denial of my requests to borrow the car – not once did I lay a finger on their vehicles’ steering wheels. Then one night, my parents were in a bit of a pickle (I’ve always wanted to say that) and gave me the keys to their truck so that I’d be able to take my sister to work while they were out. So, my first time behind the wheel with my license, hoping to prove myself and garner some respect - and what did I do? I backed into a pole.

If you think that’s a stupid story, to quote Bachman Turner Overdrive, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

It goes without saying (actually, it was said to me), that if I wanted to drive again, I would need to buy my own car. I didn’t bother arguing, for I knew at that early age I was the Scott Baio of automobiles - cursed beyond hope. I have the stories to prove it, and Dave’s here to help ease my pain.

Our joint post is the collective misadventures pertaining to our first vehicles – I’m fouff from BigMeats (and I’ll be typing in italics on W-D), and I occasionally use sentences filled with big words immense displays of my vast vocabulary to dupe you into believing I’m somewhat intelligent. However, I have yet to fool anyone into that assumption: as you’re about to read, I do some pretty stupid things.

Just to let you know.. when you see italics, that's Fouff talking. To confuse the hell out of you... when we link you over to Part 2 over at I will be the one in italics. What can I say... we are just fucking wacky!!!

The Acquisition

Now being that my parents divorced when I was in eighth grade and my sister was in her Junior year of high school.. when the time came for her to get her license, my Dad was still in that guilt ridden phase of the whole divorce dynamic.. and he decided to get my sister a brand new car for her 17th birthday. She decided on a brand new 1988 Toyota Celica… and after a few accidents and traffic violations, my Dad realized that buying her a brand new car was most certainly a mistake. However, since he always tried to keep things completely equal between my sister and I… when the time came for me to turn 17… I believed it was my birthright to get a brand new car as well. He wanted to get me a nice used car and put the rest of the money away for my future use.. but being the spoiled brat that I was, I was hearing none of it. So new car shopping we went.

Now since I’m from New Jersey, it was in my genetic make-up to immediately turn my thoughts to visions of a brand new Trans Am or Camaro. I mean, it was 1991 and “Ice, Ice Baby” was being played on the radio without the DJ’s even snickering… so my choice of automobiles wasn’t exactly that comical at the time. Eventually we narrowed the choice down to three cars. The Eagle Talon. The newly re-designed Honda Prelude… or the Four Door Sports Car known as the Nissan Maxima SE. Eventually we decided on the Maxima. It was a practical car.. but at the same time, it was the first year that they had the V-6 190 Horsepower engine under the hood… so to say the car had some balls would be an understatement along the lines of saying that Eliza Dushku is an “attractive” girl. Mmmm… Dushku.

I remember the day we went to go pick the car up… It had 7 miles on it. Here I was, a seventeen year old driving a $20,000 car with seven fucking miles on it. I gotta sit here and laugh because I honestly can say that my life will never get so good again. The next time I’ll be driving a brand new car worth that much is the day I look up and see an OJ type caravan of cops behind me on the NJ Turnpike. One of the great things about getting older… is the ability to realize that you’ll never be as successful as your old man and being able to smile about it. Soylent green is people. Booyah.

Buying my first car was quite the event, but the vehicle itself was not much of a car. An ’86 Chevy Chevette was the vehicle, and it came with … well, it came with a full tank of gas and not much else. For those of you that don’t know about the Chevette, it is the most honorable of shit vehicles. It’s the Cadillac of crap cars… or so a salesman would lead you to believe. Truth be told, a Chevette is not a dream car, or even a car most people would settle with. But due to the fact that they’re cheap, small, cheap, cheap, and well, they don’t cost a lot, a Chevette was my solution to automobile ownership. Chevette: a poor man sedan if there ever was one.

This is, more or less, what my car looked like…
…except my Chevette was white (I’m apparently color-blind) and usually covered in dirt.

Buying a car was something I desperately wanted to do, as my parents (justifiably so) wouldn’t allow me to lay a finger on their vehicles ever again. So one day I picked up a “Buy & Sell,” went out with my step-dad, and looked at a couple of Chevettes. The first one was ruled out immediately, as my step-dad refused to buy any car “from a Packi.” His racism was not universal however, and I bought my Chevette from a Chinese couple. The cool thing about buying the car wasn’t only acquiring freedom on wheels and finally having something that was distinctly mine, but it remains to this day the only thing my step-dad and I have done together since I became a teenager nearly ten years ago.

If you think that line sounded sappy, it gets worse – after all, what’s a nostalgia article good for if not cornball reflections of youthful moments?

The car cost a mere one-thousand dollars, but after paying for insurance and taxes, the car embodied every cent to my name. The vehicle bills were more than I anticipated, but the freedom was everything I dreamed of. I made very little money when I bought my first car, and most of my paychecks went towards insurance, gas, and the ever increasing amount of repairs… but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t worth it. Like the Cars said, it was “just what I needed.” You should have known that one of us would make a Car’s related joke, it’s just too easy to pass up.

My Chevette needed repair upon purchase: engine work, to be exact. My Dad cursed me up and down for buying the vehicle without his consent. I’m positive that he was truly hurt by me buying me first car without him more so than the car needing major engine work; either way, I learned plenty of swear-words that night. I would have followed the unspoken male tradition of “Dad/Son buying the first car together,” but the process wouldn’t have occurred as it should have, so I skipped it all together. My Dad would have forced me into a project car, where I learned to work on it and finish up with something “cool” further down the road. Learning about automobiles and how to repair all the problems under the hood would have been extremely beneficial to me, no doubt: but it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted a working vehicle. Something I could drive. Something I could use.

And boy, did that Chevette get used.

I think every male does stupid things with their first car: I was just a little more creative with my immaturity. I know this is going to sound incredibly juvenile, but my buddy Shammoo and I used to get great kicks out of scaring people. Honestly, not all my car stories are so childish: but this article is like a person – the stories become more refined as you move along. Anyway, I would drive as normal, and then right before passing an innocent bystander, I’d pull my e-brake, creating a horrific squeal. Usually the person would jump or look terribly frightened, and we’d laugh our asses off. The gimmick became more sophisticated as time passed: honking my horn and Shammoo screaming out the window were added to the stunt. I can’t remember even one occasion where we didn’t scare the shit out of the unsuspecting pedestrian. Good times, good times.

It was like any other day, and Shammoo pointed out a perfect victim for our “scare you half to death” trick. The man was riding his bike up the street in the smallest, tightest, and pinkest bicycle shorts I’ve ever seen – they put Billy Gunn to shame. The execution of the e-brake pull was perfect, and the mid-20 man wobbled, nearly falling off his bike.

We laughed heartily as we stopped at the red light… but in the rear view mirror, I noticed the bicyclist quickly approaching. And he did not look happy – you could tell by his vigorous peddling that there was a lot of anger and violence rushing through his mind down to his limbs. He made it all the way to my car’s back bumper before the light turned green, and gave the side of my car a couple good smacks before we pulled away.

The road ahead was traffic free and without stop lights – our escape was guaranteed. But like a James Bond flick, the obvious getaway was too easy. Besides, this fucker smacked my car. So I took the next left, and made sure the bicyclist could see me making the turn. Sure enough, this guy was still charging after us despite the transportation disadvantage, and he crossed the road, determined to catch us.

This moment proved that I can be an evil genius *inserts pinky finger in mouth*. I quickly pulled a U-turn after rounding the corner: the true advantage of a small car isn’t the fuel economics but rather the available agility. By facing the direction I had come from, I could see pink-pants speed around the corner in pursuit of me. As soon as he came around that corner, I shot past him honking and hollering. He waved one angry fist at me while braking with his other hand, which resulted in a bit of an accident. As one hand was threatening our imminent beating, the other hand fashioned his self defeat – the hand on the bike was using the front brake. As I’m sure you all know, the front brake on a bicycle transforms an otherwise suitable transportation device into a human catapult. His bike stopped alright, but his helmet protected skull flew forward, over the handle bars, and smashed into the concrete road ahead.

I laughed for half an hour after seeing the bicyclist do a head plant, bringing myself to tears. His violent reaction to our stupidity resulted in his own injury, and it was the most hilarious thing I’d seen in quite a while. I was young, but not so young to let the irony of his actions escape me.

I look back on those foolish times with a bit of disgust for my actions, but also reflect with a touch of joy. Like a reformed junky or ex-smoker, I will preach the negative effects of my past actions and warn others from following down the same path. But while I now realize how foolish we were, that doesn’t change the fact that we were having the time of our lives while doing it. To quote Anatole France, “All writers of confessions, from Augustine on down, have always remained a little in love with their sins.” I may not be much of a writer, but I’ll always remember my infantile behavior kindly.

This is only half of it! Click this to read the second half on BigMeats! I dare ya’!

Dave and Fouff

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