A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


It just seems wrong to me. I know all the environmentalists will probably come after me with a thousand green reasons why I am way off base. I know that economically it probably makes sense. But it doesn’t help me understand. Or like it. There is song by John Hiatt called “Perfectly Good Guitar” which talks about how heartbreaking it is to see rock stars smash their instruments. I feel the same way when I see the destruction of engines in the so called “cash for clunkers’ deal. As a person who has owned some clunkers in my time I can remember vividly what it takes to keep one running and on the road. Blood, sweat and tears along with Valvoline. Sometimes by the case. It seems to me as an American male (hell as an American, let me not be accused of being sexist) that to own and keep running a POS car is a rite of passage. How else do you learn to take care of a good car except by the experience gleaned from breakdowns of your crappy old car at the most inopportune times? I drove an old ex-military jeep while I was in high school. It ran fine, if slow but about every tenth time you tried to start it all you would get was a click. The solution? You had to roll it down hill to jump start it by putting it in gear and letting the clutch out when it was going good. Try that with your Prius! My point is not so much that you could do it, it’s the fact that there was a solution that didn’t involve calling Triple A. Environmentally sound because no gas guzzling tow truck had to be dispatched. Economically sound because I didn’t have to shell bucks out for previously mentioned tow. Personally sound because I was no doubt off-campus and needed to get back pronto! Win, win, win as far as I can see. There were hundreds of lessons taught by owning a clunker, both of a mechanical nature and of the life-lesson variety. Even when gas was far less than a buck a gallon you had to be smart about your travel in a gas guzzling clunker. You learned the value of a buck and how to ask the question “Is this trip necessary?” Now the clunkers that could have been someone’s first car or a car for someone who really couldn’t afford a better one are all destined for the scrap yard. I guess in some universe it makes perfect sense; crush perfectly good drivable cars in order to stimulate the economy to sell new ones. But then again I could be wrong.

No comments: