Growing up, my step-father always chose my (used) cars.  He’d tell me how much, I’d pay, and I’d have a new-to-me car to drive.

This was not always a successful endeavor – one car had the engine blow up about a week after I got it.  But Charlie went back and got me a different car.

The thing is I never had to speak to a car salesman.

I was pretty independent except for this one aspect of my life.   (I still hate car shopping, and feel totally inadequate when I have to do so.)

When my roommate wrecked my car when I was living in LA, I was at a loss as to what to do, so for a few years, I simple did without a car (not easy in the LA where the car is God).

Eventually, though, my stepfather found me a used VW Rabbit and he and my mom brought it out to California for me.  (They had a 5th wheeler and towed it.)

Bright yellow.


Unfortunately, that Rabbit was just one big yellow box of woe.

I got the only vehicle made by VW that was a mechanical mess.

First, I couldn’t get it smogged – the original owner had unhooked the catalytic converter – and to replace it was more than the car was worth.  So I had to drive it around with illegal Michigan plates.

Second, the clutch went out – a lot.

(And I know how to clutch – my stepfather was a semi driver, hauling cement, and he made sure I knew how to drive a clutch properly.  Also, I grew up in Michigan in a town that is divided by a river, so you have to cross bridges – bridges that are sometimes open to let ship traffic through – and you better fucking know how to clutch, or you are going to be rolling back into the asshole who is on your back bumper waiting for the bridge to be open.)

And third, the car had a bad case of Michigan rust.

Not so much that you could see – but the bottom was being eaten through.

At one point, you could literally see the road going by under the driver’s side of the car – while sitting in the car!

You should also know something about LA.

When it rains, it pours, and for some reason, LA is never ready for there to be any substantial rain – even though it happens every fucking winter – repeatedly.

The streets flood – repeatedly.

It’s stupid, but it’s just part of life in LA.

So I’m driving to a party, and it’s been raining.

And I end up going through a flooded part.

With my car with the rusted out driver’s floor.

Instant cold water douche!

I was soaked to the waist!

And I had to put an alarm system in this car!  For some reason, it kept being broken into.

Sadly, nobody actually stole the car – they would just break into it.

Finally, the valves gave out.

And I was done, done, done.

So for me the happy event after the Rabbit died was to see it towed away for the junk that it was!

And yes, this is a photo of the actual car – don’t be fooled by its innocent demeanor.



  1. We used a VW Rabbit to move to Austin TX and start my real estate career. The VW ran out of some fluid and groaned it last few miles to freeze up and die late one night in our the driveway It helped my budding career when it was replaced by a Ford Galaxy.

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