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The Thing about the Car Bug and Turning 50

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By the time you read this I will have hit a very major milestone in my life. I will cross over the half-century mark. I know when I turned 40 just last year, or was that 10 years ago? I was shown the secret handshake for those that are four decades old. No one has told me what secret comes with turning 50, maybe just getting to 50 in one piece is the secret in itself. They say you are as old as you feel - who knew that 100 would feel so good!


Enough about my age - 46 years ago I was bitten by a bug. It's venom has no known cure and continues to ravish my body with no bounds of decency. I remember the day as if it was yesterday. 46 years ago, I was 4 years old (yes, 50 - 46 is 4, I have that much of my mind) and it's late summer, one of those perfect evenings with the sun just setting, crickets beginning to chirp, an evening that can only be found in Vermont that time of year. My friend's older brother just
purchased a used, new to him, red on red 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS. He pulled up to their house and there it sat, gleaming, almost glowing, in the early evening dusk. The red paint seemed two miles deep. The white band down 
Little%2Bboy%2Bstaring.jpgthe side screamed 'I am fast, very fast' and I remember staring at the chrome SS logo on the rear quarter panel thinking that it was alive and rumbling like the engine up front. The red interior, center console and the beyond describable chrome insert in the back seats set my heart to fluttering. my face went flush and I just stared. Nothing in the world had ever been so beautiful. I mean I always liked cars, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, remote control, battery operated, but that day -- that moment - 


I was infected with the real car bug and the fever has never subsided.

I know people often write about what it means to be a 'true' car guy, or girl. I am writing today to say that all that is written is true. As I have grown
older my affliction only worsens. My wife, my children, my non-car friends have to live with my obsession. Walking through a parking lot and seven rows over I spot the roof or maybe a small part of the trunk of a cool car and off we go, all walking over to see the car that dad says is cool. Why? They don't know, but dad says it is. I drive a BMW 2002, a box on box design and think it is one of the sexiest cars ever made so clearly what it means to be a cool car is different in my mind.

Car%2BBrain.jpgI have shared with my wife that I wish I could shut off my car brain. I wish there was a cure because I know it is difficult for those that I live with and around. I have tried to starve the disease and feed the fever and vice-versa -- nothing works. While driving I see every car that goes by and comment on most of them. While at home Velocity or NBC Sports Network channels are on the television and as for the recordings on my DVR, it is at least 4 to 1 cars over everything else. Races, car restoration shows, car information
shows, car shows about car shows, auctions - it makes no difference, if it is on I will watch it. Sometimes when I am 90 minutes into a 3 hour race I realize that my family has had to listen to roaring engines for the entire time and I feel bad. I watch auto auctions, Mecum, Barrett-Jackson, Joe’s local car, tractor, boat and lawn mower auction, really any auto auction that is on. Again, hours of the auctioneer crying out 

'Who will give me 55, 55, do I hear 60, 60'


and I think to myself, 'This is not fair to my family'. But, I simply can't change the channel.

For those of you who live with and put up with the truly car obsessed you deserve medals of honor, purple hearts, and other lofty awards for your
 service. It isn't easy but you bear with us even when we should have been ignored hours, really, years earlier. My own wife, Cathy, 
bored%2Blook.jpegand my children, Ethan, Eliza and Seth, thank you for allowing me to babble on about cars, have two in the driveway that are twice the age the children with a third car on the way. You have allowed me to be me and have never complained - thank you. Please know that if I could control this demon I would, but it runs free and I am powerless to stop it.


For those of you who are car obsessed with a significant other, family, friends, you too need to thank them. Go ahead, do it right now, I can wait. To us knowing that a 67 Mustang did not have side markers but a 1968 did yet forget your anniversary or your child’s birthday seems totally normal. Dear car friends, it isn’t. We owe it to the rest of the world recognize that.

Did you say thank you yet? Did you give them a big hug? That's all you can do. Now, go back to the garage and get working.

That's the thing about the car bug, you don't know who it will strike, but when it does, there is no cure and the beast must be fed.


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