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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cash for Clunkers

I have fallen victim to Old Car Syndrome. Old Car Syndrome is a very common disease among the male and female college student population. There are several key symptoms that can be identified among those who are diagnosed with this disease. Some of the symptoms include depression, anxiety, doubt, embarrassment, loss of friends, loss of self worth, fear of driving, road rage, and in rare cases death. A person is eligible to be diagnosed with Old Car Syndrome if they own a car that is more than ten years old. But don’t be too alarmed if you have been diagnosed with Old Car Syndrome. It turns out that there is a cure for this unfortunate disease. Continue reading and I can help solve all of your worries.

When I was sixteen years old I was blessed to be given a hand me down car by my generous dad. It was a 1994 Hunter Green 900 SE Saab hatchback and in my mind the greatest car ever created. I obviously didn’t know much about cars. My new speed machine was a manual transmission (stick shift), had leather seats, had a sunroof (basically a convertible in my eyes), and there was a radio with a tape player built in to it. It was a four-door car with lots of trunk space, which was nice for carrying all of my stuff and my friends and all their stuff. She drove like a dream, like a really good dream.

That was in 2003 and my car was nine years old. Now in 2010 my car is sixteen years old. That was then. This is now. My car is so old and in such poor condition that I was rejected by the Cash for Clunkers deal and was even laughed at when I asked about it. My car is no longer Hunter Green but has faded to a lighter shade of lime green and looks as if a small child tried to paint it and gave up in most areas. The paint on the hood is completely gone and has turned rust color. Now that I think about it rust is the reason for the color.

The antenna that used to raise and lower in the back has been completely snapped off, permanently creating static on the radio. The back windows no longer go up and down and only one of the doors in the back will open. The leather seats have cracked like drying mud and in places where the stitching has come apart there are metal staples holding it together. Sometimes those staples will nip you in the butt while you’re driving and you won’t have the slightest idea what hit you. I always forget they are there and freak out when one bites me, thinking that it’s a spider. The front right rim on the car is different from the rest because the original one was bent so badly that I had to replace it with another. The entire engine has been replaced and when you start the engine you have to rev it up or it will die. When it doesn’t want to start it doesn’t. And when it wants to start it does. The old beater really has a mind of its own.

There is only one real cure for Old Car Syndrome. The simple cure is to get a new car. Now going about doing this is trickier than you would expect. There are several solutions to the problem. You can either pray for another hand me down (hopefully under ten years old), hit a hole in one at a golf tournament (easier said then done), ask for a car on your birthday (highly unlikely), and most realistically get a damn job.

-Hayden Fulstone


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