By Topher Paul
What I thought was going to be a complete waste of my precious weekend turned into a nice little Saturday complete with the purchase of a brand new car. I know what you’re thinking: “Owen, you’re 7 years old, what could you possibly know about buying a car?” As it turns out, quite a bit!
You see, while Greg and April were mindlessly walking the showroom, being taken in by things like gas mileage and MSRP, I had an opportunity to do a deep dive with my new favorite person, Drew. He’ll be the first one to tell you that Drew has been in the business for 20 years, and he has sold every type of vehicle to every type of person. He knew from the second we walked in the door what type of wheels Greg and April would be driving away 7 hours later.
My first question was a slow-pitch softball right in his wheelhouse: “So, how many juice boxes does this baby hold?” He didn’t even blink before pointing directly at each of the 7 cupholders, and with a smirk, slowly lifted up a panel in the 2nd row to reveal a hidden cooler. I could tell that his confidence was built on two decades of experience and a degree in communication. I almost felt bad about asking my follow-up question, “but where can I shove them when I’ve finished all but just a few drops that I want to dribble out into a hard-to-reach place to create a sticky spot upon which dirt particles can clump up?”
Drew paused, ever so slightly, before identifying a few locations for me to store my treasure. Then he folded in arms, which we all know is non-verbal form of communication to express defensiveness. I had him on the ropes, but honestly, I was just trying to ask about juice boxes. I decided I needed to ease up a bit, so I chose not to lure him in with any set-up questions. Rather, I just rattled off a rapid-fire list of questions, hoping he might be able to get a picture of what I was looking for.
Will the color show dirt so I can write my name in it easily?
Is there enough leg room for me to put my muddy shoes on the back of the seat in front of me?
What is the storage capacity for the following items: loose papers from school, dirty socks (not pairs, just a bunch of singles), fast food kid’s meal toys, fast food kid’s meal toy wrappers, straws, miscellaneous puzzle pieces, multiple reusable water bottles, plastic water bottle caps (the reason Greg makes us use reusable water bottles now), objects that nobody can remember where they came from, broken art projects, phone charger blocks, pennies, birthday gift bag items, stale french fries, hardened Play-Doh chunks, unsharpened pencils, pen caps, and candy wrappers?
Do the industrial strength floor mats come standard, or is there an up-charge?
How do the acoustics sound with incessant fart noises? Video games? Renditions of Baby Shark?
Will I be able to easily reach the “Oh Shit” handles, and how loud are they when they bang against the roof?
When I vomit in the car, are there ample crevasses for chunks to hide?
Can window locks be disabled easily?
How easily can I scratch the paint with my backpack/hockey stick/bicycle/pogo stick/pitchfork/long sword?
There’s no such thing as booger-resistant upholstery, right?
When I put stickers all over the window, will they come off easily, or will April need to use a razor blade?
Would we be able to install a PA system that amplifies complaints and arguments from the back seat?
I must have overwhelmed poor Drew, because he stood there stunned like Bald Bull.
Slowly he regained his composure and looked around to make sure nobody was watching. “Kid,” he said “I’m gonna let you in on a little secret…they ALL have exactly what you’re looking for.”
Greg and April continued to waste their time checking out all of the vehicles despite the fact that they are all exactly the same. I decided to speed things up a little bit by asking politely for my iPad and then screaming when they told me it was at home (yeah, no duh!). They settled quickly on the exact model Drew and I had been leaning on during our conversation. It was perfect. Hell, they all were perfect!
Drew and I fist bumped and I was ushered into the waiting room while Greg and April went into a small backroom to fill out paperwork for 5 hours. On our way out, Drew handed them the keys and an extra keychain (just for me). He winked and said, “Enjoy your new car, it’s the safest one on the road.”
I knew he was full of shit, but it was exactly the thing they needed to hear to distract them from the havoc I was about to lay on this bad boy. Now, where did I put my gum?
About the Author
Topher Paul is a father of three, punk and rap enthusiast, and (cracks knuckles) beer league hockey champion. He is a high school English teacher, and although he has zero accolades, he is widely considered the “cool teacher” by kids who may be more mature. He enjoys making people laugh, but is a social media failure who you can find on Twitter @topherpaul11.