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The following story is one I wrote for the local newspaper way back when...it ran on June 5, 1995, under the headline, "Blue Booger treats owner well."

To finish the story before it starts, this car was a dark blue 1986 Pontiac Sunbird.  I eventually retired this car and then GAVE it to a coworker of mine.  I could never take money for it, nor would I just give it to a family member or anybody I cared about.  This mercenary took the car off of my hands, washed it, and then sold it for I think $300 to some unsuspecting victim.  Grand larceny, it was (taking money for this car).  I couldn't do it, but somebody else did.  The story is reprinted here by popular demand, so here it is, as it ran in the newspaper, and as it happened in real life-

 

Blue Booger's legacy went unrealized for years.  As with all things, time eventually separates the mundane from the exceptional.  Blue Booger is my 1986 model car.  He has 153,000 miles showing on the meter, but that's not nearly all of them.  On occasion the mileage meter starts making a rattling noise, and while it's doing that, it's taking miles off the car about four times faster than it should be putting them on.  A mechanic told me that was impossible, given the construction of the mileage meter.

Booger is genuinely possessed.  There's another demon in the windshield wipers.  They just decide to make one swipe...whenever.  On a dry windshield and without warning, that is terribly startling -RAAAAAAAAAANK-RAAAAANK.  Touch the blinker arm and it might do it, too.  Booger tries to look out for me - turning left?  Here's a clean windshield to see through.  Put headlights on bright?  Hey, obviously you can't see well.  Here's some wiper action.  I finally put a manual switch on the wipers to stop that from happening.  I never should have done that.  It made Booger mad.

I had forgotten that Booger had already been banned from my favorite car shop.  One of the mechanics there told me to never, but never, bring that (multiple expletives) back in there again.  Booger had been his same recalcitrant self under the knife one time too many.  At the time, I didn't understand.  He simply hates mechanics.

So later on I tried to change Booger's spark plugs myself.  How hard could that be?  I cross-threaded one of them.  Booger tormented yet another mechanic before that one was over.  So, I'll never work on him myself.  I'll take him somewhere to get even the simplest things done.  After all, I could hardly check the oil without getting hurt, or without something else going wrong.

At an oil-change shop, the guy stared at the engine, then looked over at me.  Looked at the engine, looked at me.  Finally he said, "Sir, do you want us to change your air filter?"

Being the savvy consumer that I am, I said, "I dunno - what does it look like?"  The guy reached in and brought the filter out, holding it just like you'd hold somebody else's stinky sock.  It had a dozen bird feathers, 50 leaves, a hundred giant bugs, and a pound of dirty black junk on it.  I was astounded.  All I could say was, "That's not my filter!"  The guy showed me the inside of the breather housing, and it looked much the same.

I had not hit a flock of birds, driven through a leaf storm, or been to Louisiana where there are so many bugs so big.  Where was Booger going at night while I slept?

Booger's battery wore out.  It was the way and course of a normal battery's lifetime.  I had no reason to believe that Booger was on another rampage.  I took him to a service station.  I waited inside and sipped a sweet ale while the simple task was performed.

Time dragged on.  I looked outside and the owner and his helper had a 2-by-6 board prying on the battery, trying to get it out of the car.  They had the brackets undone, but Booger was not about to surrender that battery.  It took both of them nearly an hour to get the old battery out, and five minutes to get the new one in.

The owner took it lightly: "Sometimes things go wrong."  I told him the story about Booger getting banned from the car shop downtown.  He laughed, "I'll never tell a good customer to not come back."

I started to go to work one morning, and Booger had a flat tire.  Nice it should go down in the driveway instead of on the highway.  Booger looks out for me.  I put the little go-cart wheel spare on there and went back to the same service station.  The owner found the problem in seconds.

Then he tugged and pried and used every tool imaginable to get the foreign object out of the tire.  It was an odd-shaped sliver of metal, wedged in there and twisted some weird kind of way.  Even Booger's tires are impossible to fix.

Now Booger's got a new thing.  He runs good down the road, but don't dare ever stop.  Don't stop for a stop sign, or a red light, or even some little old lady deciding where to turn.  Booger will shut down.  The sequence goes, SERVICE ENGINE SOON light, gurgle, gurgle, gaLUMP.  End of show.  He'll crank tomorrow like a brand new car, but he won't crank now.

Everyone I talked with said it was a classic case of a catalytic converter gone bad.  So, I took it to a muffler shop and the guy there agreed that's what it was.

I went back to get Booger and the guy said there was absolutely no problem with the catalytic converter.  The problem was with the muffler.  So he put a new muffler on.  Sure enough, Booger sounds a whole lot better now when he cuts off.

I went back to see the guy at the service station, the guy who had replaced the possessed battery and fixed the possessed tire.  I told him about the car cutting off, and what the guy at the muffler shop had said.  The man said, "You'll need to get rid of that car."  That was the same thing the irate mechanic at the big car shop had told me earlier, in so many words.  He was NOT going to work on Blue Booger again.

I was entering the parking lot at work one day recently when Booger started coughing and stinking.  I had him in reverse and was backing up when he cut off.  He rolled lightly up against the parking bumper.  Made it.  Again.  How could I ever get rid of a car that takes such good care of me?

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