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  • Car Talk

    November 17, 2005

    There is an on-going discussion at our house and it goes like this: The Car — Sacred Machine or Roving Diner?

    One parent believes the car is a sacred moving metal sculpture and should be revered as a mechanical temple. Into “the car” (whispered) no food nor drink shall ever pass. No Goldfish, no crackers, certainly no French fries, no nuggets, no Mcfood of any kind. The wheels of such shall never come to rest upon the unholy ground of Sonic. Verily. Those seeking to enter into the inner sanctum of “the car” must first repent of their Happy Meal ways and remove any sinful traces of the stickiness of life.   One day a year the SUV high priestess must tie a bell around her waist and enter “the car” to make atonement for any Goldfish that have gone astray.

    But the other parent’s car is where two tater tots and five Goldfish miraculously multiplied into enough food to feed 5,000 one afternoon. This car is also home to an array of separated and divorced socks (and those still trying to work it out and get back together), bits of partially digested board books, an extensive collection of fast food toys, petrified French fries and other unidentifiable sticky things.

    This parent — the one whose right arm is a full three inches longer from handing French fries and other essential nutrients into the backseat – believes a car is just a hunk of moving metal that reliably provides transport to and from the places from whence these foul things found on the floor board come.

    The parent who makes the daily run to Wal-Mart with the toddler in tow to gather yet more things that will ultimately find their way onto the floor board allows said toddler to “drive” the car while it’s parked in the garage so that 13 metric ton of groceries can be unloaded without the assistance of one who toddles.

    The other parent, the one who drives a clean car, arrives on the scene shortly after the the toddler begins playing a jazzy hip-hop tune on the horn. This parent, the one whose arms are roughly equal in length, thinks this is an abomination and usually says, “It’s not a toy, it’s a car.” Then the other parent, the one with seven bags of groceries hanging from various appendages usually says, “Dude, it keeps him busy and out of my hair while I’m hauling in groceries. It is a toy. A very big toy. Now grab some of these groceries.”

    And that’s where this discussion usually ends.

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