It was a grey and misty afternoon when we reluctantly, and with great trepidation, approached the gauntlet. As we drove through the car lot we passed the lines of salesmen salivating at the prospect we could be luxury SUV buyers. They stomped out their cigarettes, adjusted their ties and readied themselves for the challenge.
Their chosen one was following our car through the lot before we had even parked. His slow pursuit quickened as my husband exited our vehicle. “What can we help you with today, sucker?” the salesman asked as he approached. “Are you interested in our 2007 Behemoth? I would desperately like to buy a big screen TV with my next commission check so I will sell this beautiful Behemoth to you for the deceptively low price of $49,998. If you have good credit, or heck, even if you are just breathing, you can qualify for our “Take You For Everything You’ve Got” 98 month loan program at a very special interest rate that we will make so complicated you will never really know what rate you are paying.”
“No, thank you,” my husband replied. “I am more interested in this ugly, cheap, appliance white, gutless wonder of a car that my wife thinks is practical, budget friendly and will most certainly lobotomize my road rage tendencies.”
“That totally sucks dude,” responded the salesman. “Do you think we can trick her with this sports car over here? It’s painted this shocking color and has obnoxious stripes all over it? It’s got a 6 CD changer and tinted windows. The chicks love it and it will make you feel 20 years younger.”
“Does it have the 7.0 engine with titanium connecting rods and dry sump oil system that does 0-60 in under 4 seconds and then stops on a dime with 6 piston front calipers?” my husband inquired.
“I honestly have no idea what you are talking about,” the salesman admitted. “I just try to look really impressive in this suit while pretending that I actually care about you and your family.”
“Well, it’s for the best,” conceded my husband. “My wife has been around me for a very long time. I’m pretty sure I’ve trained her well enough that she can tell a super fast, dangerous sports car apart from a completely uninspiring box on wheels that will suck all the manhood out of me.”
Feeling badly that my poor husband had been dealing, all alone, with the high pressure tactics of the salesman, the kids and I go over to help him out.
“This beautiful, safe family car we have here would be perfect for a beautiful family concerned with safety, such as your own,” the salesman says to me. “I will tell you now that I think it has an air bag, I’m pretty sure it has won a safety award somewhere, and it comes complete with some really strong brakes. For stopping.”
“Ooooh yes!” I coo back to him. “And isn’t it nice that the speed thingy with all the numbers on it is white too! It matches the outside paint! I like matching. Now, is that white a winter white or is it more of an off white?”
“Ma’am, it is actually called ‘the worst color for a car because it will never be completely clean ever again white’. It’s exclusive to the just about to go bankrupt American car company that has most of this car made in Taiwan.”
“Well isn’t that just soooo clever.” I affirm back to him with a polite, will this ever end, smile.
“What do you think of this nice car, little lady?” the salesman then says to my almost a teenager daughter in a mistaken assumption she was happy to be there and was interested in contributing to the conversation.
“Whatever,” she grunts back to him.
The salesman turns to my son. “What about you, munchkin? I bet you know as much about cars as your daddy pretends to. I bet you'd love to have this car!”
“Well, I think it’s a horrible idea to buy this car!” he firmly states. “First of all it’s white. So if you were in a snowstorm and you didn’t bring a map and you turned the wrong way down a road and then got lost and it kept snowing really hard and you got stuck and the national guard had to come look for you in their helicopters, they would never find you because you would be the same color as the snow and no one could ever see you, not even the search dogs. And second of all, it’s white. I don’t think my dad will like white because it will always get dirty and my mom will always be yelling at him to ‘wash the stinkin’’ car so it will look like we care about it and people won’t think we are poor white trash.”
And on that note the salesman slowly turned back to my husband and said, “Well, you poor, poor man. It looks like it’s unanimous. Your family loves it. Shall I get the keys and we’ll go for a test drive?”
Resigned to his fate, my husband agrees. And as the kids and I start commenting on how big the trunk is and how shiny the tires are, the salesman and my husband trundle off to get the keys.
Check This Out!
Leonard Cohen is an iconic author, poet, songwriter and performer whose life is profiled in the movie Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man. The music is great. The story is moving. It's a nice change of pace.