May 29, 2009

Lately my wife has been noticing a lot of hybrid cars, and has even talked about getting one–eventually. So far the car that we’ve owned for a while and that I’ve been driving for close to a couple of years now is holding up fine, although, looking at the hybrids, I realized they have something our car doesn’t. Well, they have a hybrid engine, and probably a built in MP3 player, and a lot of other stuff our car doesn’t, but they also have a trunk. Our car doesn’t. Our car isn’t really an SUV, it’s more like a mini-SUV. Sure, it’s got plenty of cargo space in the back, and it sits up higher than most cars, but it would be wrong to call it a Sport Utility Vehicle. It’s more like a Plays Softball On The Weekends Utility Vehicle. Soccer moms drive SUVs, so our car is more like what a soccer uncle would drive. And it doesn’t have a trunk. Did I mention that? Not that it needs a trunk, but then I started thinking how handy it can be to drive a car with a trunk. It’s a good place to keep stuff so that, in an emergency, when I’m stopped on the side of the interstate and there are cars zipping by at ninety miles an hour, I’ll have to actually get out and walk around to the back of the car to get the emergency road kit. It’s a good place to keep stuff like golf clubs or a map of Wyoming that I might happen to pick up but will never have a use for in my entire life. And let’s say I whack somebody and need to transport the body down to the river. What if I haven’t thoroughly whacked him? Do I really want to stuff him in the very back storage space in the car where he might just happen to wake up, climb over the back seat, and garrote me? No, I’d want to keep him in the trunk. At the very least I wouldn’t want him bleeding all over the back of the car. Sure, the chances of that actually happening are extremely slim, but there are two lessons I learned as a Boy Scout. One was always be prepared. The other was, leave the gun, take the cannoli. And I’ll never forget that time as a teenager I met up with a bunch of my friends to go to a movie. Jim, the only one of us with a car, was driving. Jim drove a boat. Jim drove a pea-green Pontiac Yacht that had more space than any SUV you can buy, but it was all spread out low to the ground. And there were just too many of us to fit in the car, so, naturally, Michael volunteered to ride in the trunk. Trust me–if you knew Michael that wouldn’t surprise you at all. He once bit into a banana without peeling it, just to see what it was like. We didn’t have to whack him, but we did get the cannoli from him before we shut him in the trunk. This actually would have made more sense if we’d been going to a drive-in movie. I’ve never been to a drive-in movie in my life, but I know there are two traditions for drive-in movies. The first is, if you’re going as a couple, you spend all your time in the backseat and never see the movie. The second is, if you’re going as a group, someone always rides in the trunk even if there’s room for them in the car, just so they can get in free. We were just going to a regular movie theater, and when we got there we decided to play a joke on Michael. We opened the car doors and slammed them without actually getting out, and then held our hands over our mouths to stop the giggling. After about thirty seconds we heard a plaintive, "Guys? Are you there?" from the trunk and we all broke out laughing. Boy, that was funny. We were all laughing so hard as we got out of the car and went into the theater that it wasn’t until halfway through the movie that somebody whispered, "Hey, we forgot to let Michael out of the trunk!"

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