Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cool Duds

To this day Michelle and I recall and giggle about something her brother Nathan wrote on one of his school book covers years ago. I think he was in 4th or 5th grade. Michelle and I were in high school and were dating at the time.

It was one of those homemade book covers we all used to make made out of a brown paper grocery bag. They were a blast to customize- you could write all over them in pencil, pen or marker. My favorite things to draw on mine were things like the Styx and Boston logo's, a TransAm, and various other cool things from the late 70s.

Nathan wrote in giant block letters on the front of a text book "NATHAN IS A COOL DUD." We teased him incessantly for forgetting to add in that last E. He made the letters so gigantic there was no room to squeeze it in.

Yesterday our whole family watched two real-life 'cool duds' in a sports car. As we were leaving a parking lot we watched them saunter to their sports car. They were too cool for school. Pants dropping down towards their ankles, goofy shades, pissy looks shot at anyone and everyone. They got in their car and started to head out of the parking lot right behind us. I watched in my rear-view mirror as the driver gunned his accelerator in the parking lot in the hopes of emitting an immense squeal and catching a few glances from several attractive young girls in the area. They achieved their objective and thick black smoke poured out accompanying the spinning screeching tires.

The parking lot empties into a long access road with a chain link fence on one side, ending at a major thoroughfare where, after a stop sign is observed, you can easily turn right. If you need to turn left you must wait until traffic clears on both sides, then cross over 3 lines and a median.

We were at the stop sign waiting to turn left when the two duds finished their exhibition in the parking lot and headed to the access road on their way to hurry up and wait behind us.

As they turned left onto the access road the driver must have thought it would be fun to burn some more rubber so he FLOORED his super-cool sports car accelerator, screeched a hard left, and then lost control. His back end skidded out to the right, he over-corrected, and then slammed front end first into the chain-link fence with a loud bang and a cloud of smoke. He backed out quickly, slamming the accelerator again in reverse, and then popped back into forward and rushed full-speed at us. As they approached they slammed on their brakes, skidded out of control again and missed hitting us by a couple inches. They were not happy some suburbanite mini-van was blocking their way to a cool looking death.

As we prepared to turn left they shot out from behind us to our left and tried to cut us off, but when they got to the median they realized they couldn’t see through us to check traffic. They had no choice but to wait until we took our turn. After we did, they sped up on our butt preparing to swerve out and cut us off. Their bravado was short-lived.

I heard it first. Rattling and clanging. I looked in the rear-view mirror and then saw it. Bits of plastic and metal hanging off the front end of the car. Strips of car guts starting to flow out and get caught up under the front tires. They had to call it a day, and pulled off to the side of the road. I really enjoyed myself. Watching duds and goofball idiots is the best kind of people-watching.

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