But the nurse takes you in back, like any good car dealership, puts you through a wash, and you’re good as new. Literally.
You know that new car smell everyone loves so much? You have that when you’re a baby, too--- that new human smell. All the bells and whistles work when you’re a baby, all your features, for the most part, are at their factory settings: the alarm and the heated seats. Your upholstery is so soft.
A newborn’s odometer has, like what, two miles on it? People are always extra careful with a baby. They watch where they park it for the first three or four years because they’re worried about that first scratch.
Those first ten years of your life you’re still trying to figure out where your controls are, what all the buttons do. “What happens if I pull this knob?” After 15 or 20 years you can still drive yourself pretty hard: cold tacos for breakfast after a night of tequila shots. You can handle any treacherous condition--- dirt roads, snowstorms, college.
After 30, 35 years, you don’t realize it but your warranty’s run out. You didn’t get the extended warranty because extended warranties are for suckers! Then wouldn’t you know it, that’s when stuff starts falling apart. Your brakes aren’t what they use to be and your transmission starts to slip.
By your mid to late 40s your chassis gets creaky. Rust starts to show, maybe you’ve got some body damage. You could really use someone to pound out those dents and give you a paint job. Even with regular maintenance, the tune-ups and the oil changes, you’re still piling on the mileage. You tear a rotator cuff, maybe, or your tires (along with other parts of you) go bald.
This would be the point in the life of a car when you’re thinking: do I keep sinking money into the ol’ clunker? Or do I spring for a newer model? But people don’t get that choice. You’re kind of stuck with the ride you’ve got. And you’re dreamin’ if you think you’ll somehow become a “classic.” You’re no ’69 Camaro.
“You’re built like a car. You’ve got a hubcap diamond star halo.”
---Marc Bolan, T. Rex
What's your odometer say these days? Are you duck-taping plastic wrap to your taillight when it cracks? Do you have to jiggle the key in the ignition to get started in the morning?
Well, whatever your current Blue Book value, make sure you sign that donor card so they can gut you for parts before the scrapyard where they’ll crush you into one of those big cubes.