The Story of My First Car

As a stupid kid my parents decided to reward my hard work in school and general good behavior (what they knew of it) by giving me a car of my own. I know, spoiled rotten. The concept was that I’d gas it and repair it myself and learn about budgeting and planning for known expenses and such.

Before you imagine any more spoilage to my young ass, consider the evil genius of my Dad, who looked around carefully and showed me the car-selection process. Used cars, mind you. So eventually of all the used cars around us at the time, I was provided with a 1974 Impala. This land boat had four doors and was probably larger than some counties in New England. I swear you could have installed a golf course and pool somewhere between the back seat and trunk, and it was an appealing (irony goes here) shade of brown. This car was probably the anti-chick-magnet mobile, but it was all mine, baby.

To date, this car was the single automobile that I have owned for the least amount of time. Oh, you didn’t see this coming, did you? Right. Anyway the ultimate demise of the Impalanator was a palm tree. SoCal, right? How fucking poetic does it get? The story goes like this:

I was taking an AP Biology course my Junior year, and one project we had was to find twenty or so individual species of native California plants and then use this huge reference book to detail the complete taxonomy of each one. Keep in mind here that most of the shit growing in folks’ backyards anywhere in the country is not native to the location in question. Anyway, this was a lot of running around and prep work. I nearly had my project complete as the deadline neared.

Coming home after school, I had the near-complete project on the passenger seat. At a stop I almost didn’t see in time, my extreme braking caused the cards and box to slide onto the floor of the car. I let the cross traffic pass, and then leaned over to grab the box as I eased onto the gas. Predictably, the steering wheel followed me, and five seconds later, the Impala was dead.

Palm trees are remarkably tough plants (and the one I hit was not native, by the way). I was luckily unharmed, and so was my Biology project. The Impala, however, died of a bent frame in that instant. My pride took one in the pants too. Needless to say, Dad was somewhat less than amused by this, but he did mention years later that he was impressed that I decided to break the news to him myself.

Now, in case you’re wondering where the humor in this story is, you’ve waited long enough. I destroyed my first car not in some stupid intoxicated wreck, stoned and crashed, or even something cool like a stuck pedal due to a girlfriend’s underwear jamming it up. No, folks, yours truly wrecked his first car by being a nerd.

79 Responses to “The Story of My First Car”

  1. This reminds me of an incident with my ’93 mustang I used to have. I did the same thing, but instead of hitting a tree, I just dove down into the ditch, and then, in an attempt to regain control, ended getting back onto the road and diving into the other ditch. I didn’t know a mustang could do what a jeep can…

  2. In the film “Defending Your Life” Albert Brooks meets his maker in a similar way, only he was driving a brand new car and reaching down for an errant CD and he hit a bus. But at least you have the nerd thing in common.

    Oh, and if you haven’t seen the movie, that’s not much of a spoiler since it happens pretty much right in the beginning. So no angry “spoiler” letters, people.

  3. OMG IMPALANATOR. How have I never come up with this?!

    And I am totally NOT laughing at your uber dorkdom, by the way.

  4. Ok first of all , that’s like the ultimate nerd fail (^.^).
    Second , I don’t get people who take bio and then do engineering :p

  5. And I thought this was going to be a post about how you came to love your Impalanator because of the huge backseat and how great that was at the drive-in movies. Or were there no drive-in movies when you were a teenager?

  6. mkultra76 Says:

    Love this! My first car was not the super cool (used) Dodge Daytona that I had my eye on–that I could afford half of, as per the agreement with my parents. It was a Dodge, but I got a goofy little Dodge Aries. My dad wasn’t letting me near a Daytona. It wasn’t until many years later that I thanked him for that. 😉

  7. I drove my Dad’s, hold your breath, ’69 in tone and a huge boat. I only drove it when I first got my license at 16 as it would die at every stop sign and red light. Stall…then die. Very embarrassing…and stressful. I feel for your nerd-fail. Hope the duct tape around your glasses didn’t unstick as you saved your project from imminent danger…that would have sucked… 🙂

  8. The first car i wrecked was one my uncle lent me. I borrowed it at 12:00 AM and hit some railroad tracks on the search for a convenience store open that late that sold porn.

  9. My first car . . . a 1974 Plymouth Duster in a lovely shade of green, purchased in 1980. No A/C. No nothing. But it got me around and I learned to change the oil myself. 😀

  10. Palm trees aren’t as glamorous as they appear, you’re so right. I remember the rare times it would rain in So Cal and their fronds would be all over the street.

    • Every third year or so in the high desert we’d get an inch of snow but everyone would go batshit nuts and wreck driving to church.

      • Oh my God that’s funny. You know what we call an inch of snow in New Hampshire?


      • They still go batshit nuts with snow. 😉

      • Shimoniac Says:

        Slightly off topic here. Speaking of driving in snow. I’m a Canadian, had a co-worker from Scotland. He lived here 25 yrs., went back home to see Mum, Da, and family. While visiting, Scotland had a snowfall. He says it was ankle-deep, moderate blowing. So he decides to go to the next town to look up old mates and haunts. (Places he used to get shit-faced)
        Came home, pleasantly rosy and vaguely wondering about the lack of traffic on the motorway. Enters the house and Mum is tearing up a box of facial tissue crying. He sobers up in a hurry, worried maybe Da had a heart attack, or something.
        Mum sees him, screams, and it turns out she was worried about HIM. Local constabulary have closed the roads, dozens of wrecks, many injured. She thought he’d been killed, or worse, on the roads.
        He points at the snow and says, “That’s a warm spring day in Canada.”

  11. Hey, you’re nominated for the Liebster Blog Award. Go and see on RFB (mind the rhyme!).

  12. My first car was a 1974 pea green AMC Hornet complete with a hornet hood emblem that I bought from my grama. You could fit no less than 8 people in the car and I’m pretty sure a few dead ones in the trunk. It was huge and I had to work on it in the school parking lot quite a bit but I loved it. I think I had it for like a year before we had to take it out back and shoot it.

  13. jennygoth Says:

    lol you dont drive tanks do you ?xxjen

  14. John Erickson Says:

    I know that shade of brown. That’s the colour my Vega started out. As the years went by, it gradually became “Ace Hardware Rusty Metal Red Primer”. Quite close in colour, though a flat (matte) finish. (My dad used the same little Binks air-powered paintgun he used on our HO model railroad. Took HOURS to cover half a fender. GOD he was patient!)

    • My Impala was more of a fecal matter brown…

      • John Erickson Says:

        Yup. Same shade on the Vega AND our 68 Impala wagon (with a straight-6 engine so gutless, my dad traded it in less than 2 years after he bought it – THE shortest time a car has lived in our family, my wife’s bug-ridden 1987 Z-24 included).

  15. savorthefolly Says:

    My first car was a shit brown toyota. I never wrecked it but i’m sure I lost a pair of panties or two in it.

  16. Ah memories. 🙂

    My first car was a ’69 Torino. It was that dark avocado green and awesomely easy to work on. I had it less than 2 years … some moron ran a red light and totaled it. 😦

    Have I mentioned how much I hate Southern California drivers?

  17. weren’t you born in ’69 ? Brainrants? Kinda old …..

  18. I had a much different car experience than you people. I spilled my drink, went to get it, and ran right into a corn field. Corn is far less damaging to a 1978 Honda Civic, plus I made a shockingly easy maze in that thing.

  19. […] post from my friend Brainrants’ (who runs a super-funny blog over here) first run-in with a tree. -Btw, two links to the same blog in one sentence means check it out. You’ll like […]

  20. […] this post from my friend Brainrants’ (who runs a super-funny blog over here) first run-in with a tree. -Btw, two links to the same blog in one sentence means check it out. You’ll like […]

  21. […] in me is torn between “Interplanetary Rant” (23 Mar 12) on the injustice served Pluto, and “The Story Of My First Car” (21 Nov 11) detailing the demise of my first automobile due to my inherent […]

  22. whiteladyinthehood Says:

    Oh, Nerdboy….this was a good one, too! I remember reading this one, but I think I was still too scared to talk to you too much. I had a guy friend that had an Impala (have no idea the yr) it was gold and had 4 doors – you could easily get eight people in it! We used to have a blast in it! (I totaled out my first car…because I was screwed up dumbass)

  23. I’ve been here before. I just forgot to *like* it. I sieved all your old stuff. It’s still ironically funny. This may have been the first one boy-child Shimoniac commented on. Child, hah! He’s almost as old as you. 🙂

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