Today marks 40 years! Not a wedding anniversary. I got my first Camaro! I was 17, about a month into senior year of high school. My best friend and I went to pick it up. Sliding into that seat, cranking up the stereo (with the balance bias to the rear) and the slight rumble of the dual exhaust... I was in Nirvana.
I hated Camaros. It was the era when 4x4s were first popular. I wanted a lifted truck. I had just gotten a van that only made it a few weeks. The front end was peeled off like a sardine can, one morning on the way to school. I was looking at trucks, in the local trader paper, reading the ads to my girlfriend, over the phone. Ad after ad was a truck, usually one I couldn't afford. The memory is very distinct,"Look!" I sarcastically exclaimed,"1974 Camaro!" then laughed. What came next was unexpected..... " I really like Camaros.", she said in that mind altering, transfixing girlfriend voice. Needless to say, Eddie got a Camaro! It wasn't the belly button 67-69 lot, nor the split bumper second generation. Actually, the bastard child, big bumper, slant nose revamp for the 74 model year. It was the Type LT, red with a vinyl top, 350 automatic. Sort of plush, with its velour headliner and higher optioned interior. Hell, I didn't really care much. She liked it and that was cool to me. Hahaha. It had headers on it... with six bolts undone, I thought I was Grumpy Jenkins at Englishtown. One day, we all hatched a plan to drive to school with open headers. The next morning, I jump in the car, fire it up and probably pissed off every house I passed on the way to school. When I got there, the principal, "Gary the Guard" and a Jefferson County cop was waiting. I don't remember who else joined in the grand exhibition. I do remember being tardy for class, (due to the principal making me hook my exhaust back up) before I was allowed in the building. I held on to that car for a number of years, working on making it a double throw down ISCA winning show car. It sat in my father-in-law's corn crib, until my ex brother in law crushed it with a tractor and had it carted off. The girl, she is married to someone else. My best friend, he is still around, and hangs out at a lake in the woods. He's the smart one! Since that first one, I have had well over 40 of those cars. Street cars, orphans and funny cars, it didn't matter... something about the marque. In my quest to relive the nostalgic memories, I have 3 of them sitting in my shop now, waiting to be the time machine.
A few weeks ago, I turned 57. I absolutely don't feel that old. I pretty much enjoy every day I am on this rock. Really proud of my kids and their accomplishments. That, in itself makes me believe... I did okay, so far. I have friends who are my age, who have retired. I have other friends much older than me, who work every day. I prefer to keep working. I can use the dough. I also enjoy it. If I sit too long, I am afraid I will get fat and lazy. I also believe it keeps you sharp and focused. If I can't die until my projects are finished... well.... I will be here until I am 138! One aspect of getting older, is starting to set in. My tolerance for nonsense and oddball habits, is non-existent. Pushy people are another thorn in my side. The inordinate number of them seem to be ever increasing. The pandemic has also given life, to yet another quirky twist. As time goes on, it's existence and toll is starting to exceed the conspiratorial beliefs and turning into a sad fact of life, 3 of my immediate family have now contracted it. My older son contracted it 3 weeks ago. Although, he has been ruled to be no longer contagious, there are lingering effects, I see throughout his day in the shop, that leaves me with the desire to slap the piss out of anyone who denies the virus I just hope for the health and safety of all.
I touched on something, in my last appearance here, which exposes this aging process, as a breeding ground. One of intolerance for any situation which causes inconvenience... in other words, a curmudgeonly, stubborn crab ass. Ignorance is deplorable. Pleading it, is no excuse for the laziness of not educating oneself. Tom Jobe once said, "Anything you need to know, is in a book." To take it a step further... in this age of information... GOOGLE! . Now, you may have to be a little more discriminating, in the dissemination of fact, or technical information from lay people. Then... there are those, who assume what a person doesn't know. They don't bother to ascertain, ask or study your moves. They just don't bother, relying only on their self-appointed command of whatever they feel it is they know to be fact... their own ignorance. In our chosen field of fancy, this affliction they possess, will carry unneeded costs, wasted time and ultimately could get people hurt. Without calling into question and bringing to light, these offenses and the corrections that followed (even more spent to achieve). I will try to efficiently contribute some worthy advice. Stick to your goal, objective and what your project is to finally result in. If you don't say no and try to be accommodating... it's on you. If your desire to be a nice guy/gal in order to keep peace... it's your money and you may as well put it in a coffee can and set it on fire. This hobby is expensive and full of people who will have no ill thoughts about spending your money. If you make it clear, the path you want to take and they start doing it their way. Send them packing. It's not hard to identify the perpetrators. This hobby is full of heroes and villains, know-it-alls and self proclaimed experts. The easiest way to find out the reputation, ability and skill of someone is to ask. Don't be ignorant, just ask if you don't know. Typically, like anything else, if it seems too good to be true...it is. There are plenty of picture posters, tragically hip name droppers and coattail riders. Photos can make anything look good... just look at dating sites! I have found the help I need, is not the one who tells me what I don't know. It's almost always the one who says," if you need know anything, call me." Otherwise, they sit back and watch your project. They ask if they see you are having trouble with something. They are also the ones who will not hesitate to tell you when to stay away from someone. Word travels fast in this circle, it never hurts to ask in private.
Tuesday, is election day... for no matter whom it is....vote. That is unless you already have... if you don't, you can't complain.
That's all young Americans!
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - by Eddie Buck
Photo by Ralph Reiter