Sunday, March 15, 2009

Metal Makes the Man

"So, which kind of automobile do you drive? What would you like to drive some day?" were the ad-hoc questions asked in many interviews of potential employees by bosses, and were the same questions popping up in cocktail-party talk in the 1940s to the '60s. In those days, before foreign cars became popular with the American public, cars made by the big three (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) dominated the national market. The various brands of autos actually were used as unofficial gauges to determine a person's economic-social status and even his potential as a worker. On the bottom of the totem pole were drivers of Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge. A little higher on the scale were owners of Pontiac, Mercury, and Plymouth, topped more or less by Buick, Oldsmobile, and Chrysler. The top cats drove Cadillac and Lincoln.

This categorizing no longer holds sway today. Younger or wealthier persons are more likely to be driving smaller cars, foreign cars, or vehicles designed for specific, practical purposes. This is also why, of course, younger drivers laugh at old farts or little old ladies who can barely peer over their steering wheels as they drive their big-boat Buicks, Caddys, etc. Give the ancient ones a break---they're simply living out their live-long dream. And when you see me passing by in my '69 Delta 88 Oldsmobile, stand clear, but do honk your horn at me. Don't expect me, though, to acknowledge you.

-Old Gargoyle

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