Reflections on Reflections of what started my Car addiction

I remember distinctly being in Don Napier's 6th grade Language Arts class in Sebastian Middle School in Jackson, KY and getting one of those writing assignments everyone hates.  

Write an essay arguing a position.
It was the early days of the Kentucky Education Reform Act in Kentucky.  The Supreme Court of Kentucky (SCOK) had decided that the education system in Kentucky was unconstitutional, that our perennial position just above Mississippi on every aptitude test was not good enough, so out with the old, in with the new.

Write More! Went the mandate.  We'll no longer grade you on objective things (neatness, grammar, spelling, content) but on subjective things called a "writing portfolio."  Thus, prompt like the genius nugget above.

Let me put it further in context:  I was writing this paper out of sheer boredom.  A blizzard raged outside, an honest-to-God, Minnesota worthy 4-5 feet of snow with drifts.  It was so bad my Dad stayed in our tiny, 1000-square-foot ranch house for 3 days, a feat not repeated since, unless he had a fever > 102.

So what to write...what to write...CARS!

I had a love affair with cars that I can absolutely give you the time and place for.  It was August 1991, I'd just gotten glasses to solve my extreme nearsightedness, and I found myself facing the magazine rack at Winn-Dixie (sign scrawled: "This is not a library.  Buy something.").  This was the cover I faced



Patrick Bedard would go on to bore me to death in years to come, with articles about how airbags killed people, antilock brakes didn't work, and any sort of 'alternative fuel' was a charlatan's game.  But this article, this was pure LOVE here.  It was dangerous, it was unsettling, it was like I was there, racing a Ferrari and winning.

It was car POV Porn.  I would remain in possession of this issue of C&D and remain a faithful subscriber for 20 years until all I knew and loved about the publication was dead.  When I got married and moved out of my apartment to a house, the C&D collection went to a recycler.

So there, facing my Gateway 2000 486DX2/50Mhz with it's unfillable 200MB hard drive and copy of Wordperfect, I new what I had to write:  A screed about why I preferred cars that could turn, accelerate, and brake, and why all the idiots buying land yachts and that newfangled Ford Explorer were...idiots.  How driving was something transcendent, something that was a privilege that represented a melding of a driver and a machine.   I'd watched Ayrton Senna.  I knew what that sort of pairing meant.

I got an A on the paper, with a snarky comment from Mr. N that 'My son is the same as you; I fear for his life when he gets a Driver's license."  Cars, then, remained my passion undimmed from that day to this.

And they're dying, not with a bang, but with a whimper.  

But that's a story for another day.

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