I got an e-mail from a friend recently, in which he noted that he drives a 500 horsepower Mustang which gets far too many gallons per mile. While peeling rubber like Treasury peels off billions for bailouts, my friend usually smokes a cigar, while jabbering away on his soon-to-be-taxed cell phone that’s partially paid for by his employer.
How did I feel about this e-mail? Envious. But how did he feel? Paranoid. Because he knows that his time was back then, not now. Like an upper middle class T-Rex, he awaits the arrival of a serious kick-in-the-asteroid which will make him extinct. His were the good old days, of living to excess and loving every minute of it. These are the bad new days of hope and change as in, "I sure hope I can change." Our Gross National Testosterone is headed south along with capitalism and the economy.
I think we first started going wrong when the tail fins began shrinking. Why, back in my day……sorry…geezer moment. Rather, I seem to have read in some history book that, once upon a time, we all drove muscle cars, with seven or eight carburetors and hair growing on the exhaust manifold. And those Detroit brutes had tail fins. Boy, did they have tail fins! Big jobs that could slice the arm off a hitch-hiker — tail fins which put a 747 to shame. And chrome? There was chrome everywhere. They put chrome in the ashtrays (yes, cars came with ashtrays, which were filled with butts) and on the mufflers, leading out to the quad chrome tail pipes!
And you know what else? We were proud of all that. Chrome, to us, was like the Y chromosome (hence the name): Don’t leave home without it. As far as we were concerned, women judged the size of our tail fins like they judged the…size of our hands, or other leading manhood indicators. Oh, we saw our naked conspicuous consumption, but were not ashamed, there in our Eden of Excess. Til that snake made us eat from the apple of political correctness, and we were banished. Damned shame.
I’m glad John Wayne didn’t live to see this, so he never had to browse through his metrosexual wardrobe for just the right designer eye patch. Colored green, no doubt. Everything today is green, or had better become so. Paper or plastic, back in the day, referred to the options for paying off this wretchedly wonderful excess. The world was our ashtray, and our urinal. It was good to be a man, and if Mother Nature got in the way, we’d punch her right in the face. Or maybe try to bed her.
I miss driving the axles of evil. Today, unlike my friend, I putt around in just another amorphous blob of what resembles silver-gray silly putty. You need a balloon on the radio antenna to find it in a parking lot among all the other blobs. It has precious little chrome and no tail fins. Or personality.
But, at least it spares me the Gross National Nag — the Hummer harangue. "Why do you drive that obscene gas guzzler" has joined, "Put out that cigarette" as the mantra of the manless society. I wish airlines would give us nagging and no-nagging sections, before I wind up planting my carbon footprint across some PC jerk’s backside.