McKeithan Column

Published 3:50 am Saturday, October 11, 2008

By Staff
Great-aunt understood the value of style
In the mid-seventies, we inherited a ’69 Plymouth Duster from my great-aunt Fanny. I asked my mom recently why this octogenarian had been driving a sixties muscle car. “She was quite a card,” was the reply. “Aunt Fanny had style,” she continued.
Fanny’s Duster was passed down the sibling ladder as the designated “first car,” as often happens in families. When the run-down car finally got to me, the Duster had become decidedly un-cool. But, she was my ride and I was proud despite her knack for stalling in the middle of busy intersections. Good times.
She had a nickname I cannot repeat in this G-rated column. I mistreated that poor thing. I threw all of my trash in the back and the floorboard slowly became a compost pile. My friends would climb in and kick up discarded burgers, trash and other foodstuffs in a cloud of methane.
I’m told this car was the first ever impounded by the local health department.
But, that’s OK. I may not have had a nice car — but it never kept me from having lots of beautiful girlfriends. (No … my personality took care of that.)
Fast-forward a lot of years later, and I still drive an un-cool car. My ’99 Ford Crown Victoria is only popular with old ladies and the highway patrol. It is a fun car, though. I like to pull to the side of the road and watch all of the passing cars slow down. Sometimes, I’ll tailgate someone who thinks they’re about to get pulled.
Editor’s note: Mr. McKeithan does not realize people aren’t intimidated by his pranks. They think it’s just an addled old lady behind the wheel.
Midlife crisis
I feel I DESERVE to drive a nice, trendy vehicle after all of these years. I told my beautiful wife (MBW) of my plans to buy a “really cool Jeep where the doors come off and everything … because I’ve never had a cool car, honey.”
MBW: If you buy a Jeep, everyone’s going to think you’re having a midlife crisis.
Me: But I AM having a midlife crisis! Please don’t ruin it for me.
MBW: You’re already playing in a ridiculous rock band.
Me: Well, at least I’m ignoring all of the groupies — you’re all I need.
MBW: Well, lucky me! Yippee! I’ve won the husband lotto! When does the confetti start droppin’?
(I didn’t get the cool Jeep.)
Car goes to the shop
A previously unknown yellow dashboard light was blinking recently. I took my Crown Vic to the shop where I met a deeply confused car mechanic.
Me: Got a problem … the ‘air suspension’ light is blinking … need it fixed.
He: Ooohh. That sounds serious. We have a $90 diagnostic fee.
Me: What? I can give you the diagnosis … it’s the air suspension … that’s why the light’s on. You owe me $90.
He: Sir … it doesn’t work like that, you could have a faulty discombobulator.
Me: No, I think I have a faulty dashboard light.
He: That’s why we must do a diagnostic test to find out why the light’s coming on.
Me: It’s coming on because the bulb is lighting up.
He: That’s because there’s a problem.
Me: Yeah, that’s the first thing I told you.
He: (Silence)
Me: (Silence)
He: (Sigh)
Me: (Burp)
He: So, what do you want me to do?
Me: I want you to unplug the light.
He: But that doesn’t fix the problem.
Me: I think YOU’RE the problem, cowboy.
I quickly departed after a wrench just missed my head. I covered the dashboard light with duct tape. Problem solved.
Car to be totaled soon
The tires on my “cruiser” are wearing down due to the frequent spinouts and u-turns from playing “State Trooper.” Buying new tires makes no sense because they’ll be worth more than the car. Soon, a tire will go flat and the car will be “totaled.”
Before long, you’ll see the following classified ad in our awesome local paper:
FOR SALE: New tires. $300, white walls with “retro” rims all attached to a ’99 Crown Victoria (Must take delivery of car to get tires.)
Great-aunt Fanny would be terribly disappointed in me.
Disclaimer: Mr. McKeithan has NEVER impersonated a Highway Patrolman in ANY manner. His claims of doing so are hyperbole. He is well-known for obeying all traffic laws including prudent use of turn signals. He has the utmost respect for troopers, other law-enforcement personnel and anyone else who has a real job.
Ray McKeithan is associate publisher of the Washington Daily News. If you have any questions or comments about column topics or content and operations at the WDN, please send an email to: or call 252-940-4205.