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When I was in high-school, a popular song named “Ode to My Car,” by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn’t. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn’t stop …...

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Car radio

Filed Under , , on November 17th, 2012

Piece of Sh*t Car Reprise

By Seth Kabala

When I was in high-school, a popular song named “Ode to My Car,” by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn’t. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn’t stop the explicit lyrics from making an impact, even if the song’s plot boiled down to a stoner-sounding young rocker crooning about his rust bucket and pining for a better babe magnet.

That song was interesting, but I was happy to leave it at just that: a song. No desire to bring the metaphor into my life. Such was not to be.

I managed to marry a hot babe–who dislikes porn, but excludes full-color how-to book store sex volumes from this restriction. Yay me!–but my good fortune fell short of the other lamentation proffered in the song.

Now, I will say that my career has blessed us enough financially to afford nice family cars, but the riches stop there, as my work cars have fallen somewhere between good-for-a-back-woods-horror-story-prop and good-for-a-buck-a-swing-anti-drunk-driving-campaign.

Could I have afforded a better car to get me back and forth to the office? Probably. Since I’m now part owner of a tax and business consulting firm, should I be concerned about my image, since I regularly deal with companies putting up eight to nine figures in annual revenues? Probably.

Am I still a cheapskate? Yes.

Perhaps some day my annual income will reach the point where I feel comfortable dropping $40-$50k on a sports car. (Voice of Aragorn) BUT IT IS NOT TODAY!

So I’m making good money and winning the fight against materialism, but just as I’m losing the fight against putting Just for Men on the shopping list with every silver thread that appears in my hair, I’m siding with Cheapskate and losing the battle of cool.

Source: I took Will and Anna to swim practice yesterday in my car, which is currently a 2001 Kia Sportage. The only sporty thing about it is the way it throws you around like you’re on a Baja racing run whenever you have the misfortune to drive over a grain of sand.

The latest problem? Had to buy a new gas tank, because the old one rotted out. Seriously. Rotted. Out. What, are there metal-boring insects in the world now? Has the robot apocalypse finally dawned, the infestation begun, the flashpoint: my gas tank?

My mechanic found a replacement tank, in a junkyard, after a month of searching. But something about (gobbledeegoop car talk I didn’t understand) made it so the seal wouldn‘t seal properly. The result: I can’t fill it up all the way, or it leaks out the top.

I’ve been assured it’s safe to drive (we’ll leave that one alone); I just can’t fill it full.

So, anyway, my car sucks. My five-year-old daughter has noticed this, which brought Sandler back to haunt me from my freshman year of high-school, and not in the cool, stoner way.

Climbing inside, Anna, with Christmas-morning enthusiasm, said, “This looks really old!” I gave my stuffed-shirt, holier-than-thou line about it’s a fiscally-responsible investment and it gets us from point a to point b and how’d you like to walk to swim practice instead of ride? Huh? Huh??

But I kept it light-hearted, letting a strong dose of laughter into my tone. I mean, what are you gonna do? I may have more money than in high-school. I may have the ability to buy a nice car, but as long as Cheapskate (no, the capitalization is not a mistake) roams free in my house, I’m in danger of wearing the Uncool Champion of the Heavyweight World belt. So I might as well embrace it.

I can see the future playing out.

And it involves my kids and belt shopping.

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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