“My ego is not tied up in my car,” said the high-flying executive on the fast track in his company. “I could drive an old beater and it wouldn’t bother me.”
I simply nodded my head because how do you tell a man he has fooled himself? You can’t. Well, you can, but it often doesn’t work. Especially when he’s jangling keys to his brand new and loaded-to-the-gills Benzie and he’s pointing out the window wanting you to notice it.
I had hoped Tim (not even close to his real name) would get to the reason for our meeting, but he took my silence as a challenge. I didn’t jump all over his statement like an eager acolyte rubber stamping his “I’m one of the little people” attitude, so he felt compelled to keep talking about his ego and how unpretentious he was. He said he pretty much forced himself to drive a swanky car and wear swanky clothes and vacation in swanky spots and buy his wife swanky presents.
I nodded again and, for good measure, said, “Oh. Uh-huh. Yes.”
This did not work and Tim (I’m not lying, this is not his real name) continued in his attempt to let me know he was on my level, not trying to lord it over me, no sir, he could drive an old car just like me, yes indeed. In fact, he was quitting all those — and here he lowered his head and confessed — bad habits, you know…. Then he wiped at his nose and sniffed. Ah. Cocaine. That explained a lot of our recent projects.
Maybe Tim was prescient. Maybe he knew he wouldn’t be keeping his job much longer and he was simply getting himself used to the idea of living lower on the hog. I believe he may have known because Tim was fired a few months later along with his secretary.
Yeah, seems Tim and his wife, and his secretary and her husband got kinky together. Not at the office. No, no, no. It was all off-premises…that anybody knew, of course. I mean, how do you prove a negative, right? But they were all using drugs and Tim was coming to work high and…it wasn’t pretty.
Tim disappeared. I heard once that he moved to NOLA and got a job there, but I don’t know. Can’t find him on the Internet anywhere and for a high-flying mover and shaker always looking for a job, you’d think he would at least be on Linkedin.
Fooled? Not by these numbers.
Anyway, if I could find Tim (I swear this is not his real name or even close though his real name does have an ‘i’ in it but it has more letters including a ‘w’) I would share with him some interesting statistics about the little people driving their cars longer. From a report by J.D. Power as reported in USAToday:
- The number of vehicles on the road that are at least 25 years old is about 14 million. That’s up from about 8 million in 2002. Those are vehicles made in 1990 or earlier.
- Meanwhile, the number of vehicles that are 16 to 24 years old is 44 million. That’s up from 26 million in 2002, according to IHS.
I am one of those people. Baby Doll is a 2002 Pontiac Bonneville who has recently gotten lots of new parts including an engine. Yes, doing that was cheaper than paying a monthly car payment for several years. And no, I didn’t want to buy a used car and inherit somebody else’s problems. I’ve looked after Baby Doll and she’s looked after me. I plan to drive her until I die — barring anything catastrophic, of course.