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Your First Car, Oh

Your First Car, Oh

Speed Demons #6
May 1957

Your First Car, Oh Your First Car, Oh
For a long time you have been dreaming about owning a car. In her own particular way, your wife has been dropping hints that the time has come for you to be as others. Even the superintendent of your apartment house has a car. If he can do it, so can you. And there's so much you can do with a car. Take week end vacations in the mountains. Go visit Aunt Ella or Uncle Jim. In fact everyone in the family except you happens to be the owner of a car.

But you need money or at least that is what you think. So you buy a big piggy bank and tell the idea to the wife. Being a practical woman she gives you the answer: "By the time you have enough pennies and dimes saved, cars will be outmoded and then you will have to start all over again saving for a spaceship." But this doesn't discourage you a bit. You try to figure out other ways of saving money more quickly.

"I don't have to buy cigarettes. I'll mooch them from the boys at the office."

So on Monday you say to Bill, "Got a cigarette?" This is repeated with Joe, Mike, Ted, and Lou. By Wednesday they are wise to you. Bill meets you first: "Got a cigarette?" This is repeated by Joe, Mike, Ted, and Lou. So that plan doesn't work.

"Maybe I could save a few cents by not buying a paper." You could go to work on the bus and try reading the other fellows sheet. He has a racing form so it does you no good. Then you spot the corner trash can when you get off the bus.

"I can get a paper free that way," is what you tell yourself. You pick up a paper and also get some jam all over your hand. Someone threw away a broken jar of jam. The paper happens to be one from last week. So you buy your daily paper.

At the plant you remember Dave. His wife always gives him a lunch box. When you get home that evening you talk to the missus.

"Can you make me some sandwiches from left overs to take to work?"

"What left overs?" sends a chill down your spine. No go on that idea. What car to buy? You will have to go to the savings bank and draw money from that special account. The one in which you have been saving to buy a chicken farm some day in the future. The rest of your financial problems will be taken care of by the finance company.

All your friends will be more than willing to give you some advice. Those that have cars will either tell you to buy the same car they own or another. Those that haven't cars and never drove are experts. Your wife solves the problem.

"I went to Grand Avenue and visited the Latest Motor Car Company's showroom. The upholstery matches my new hat. That's the one for us. Get it."

It's the way she utters those last two words that make up your mind for you. The same kind of determination as when she once said.

"Mother will live with us."

You land on the other side of a desk with your wife at your side. You sign all the papers. The car will be yours in about three weeks.

"Of course you can drive," remarks the salesman.

Your face turns a deep red and he doesn't even wait for an answer. He knows what to say.

"I recommend the No Crash Auto School. They will do a good job for fifty dollars."

But you want to save the money. You remember what all your friends promised.

"Any time you want to learn, let me know."

This way you will save money. That's what you think. So you call up Joe, Mike, Ted, Lou, and Bill. Each gives you the same reply.

"I recommend the No Crash Auto School. They will do a good job for fifty dollars."

That's how you land behind a student training car. The instructor, Mr. Henderson, has met your kind before. He's patient and knows eventually you too will be a menace on the highway.

"Is there any sound advice you can give me?" you ask him.

"Just remember that every other driver except yourself is crazy and you must be very careful," he informs you with a glint in his eyes.

So the lessons begin. You watch a movie. You read a book. You listen to some lectures. You sit behind a trainer cab in a room. And finally you get behind the wheel. Your first day you will never forget because of your dream that evening. The following events happened in the dream:

1. All cars were headed for you to smash you.
2. The traffic light has six different colors and flavors.
3. When you tried to park, the curb vanished.
4. Your car went over a cliff, bounced, and returned.
5. The man giving you your riding test looked like a werewolf.

You continue taking your lessons. Comes the great day when you take your test to get your license. First you get the sheet with the questions. For five minutes you read the sheet. Nothing is clear. An attendant peeps over your shoulder and gently remarks.

"You have the sheet upside down."

You get through that ordeal. Then comes the practical test. You have hired a car from the No Crash Auto School. A tall thin man tells you to get behind the wheel. Now comes that bit of determination, the do-or-die spirit.

"Park there." he orders you.

"Fire hydrant. Must park at least ten feet from it on either side," shows you are alert.

"Make a right turn now," he tells you.

Can't do it," you inform him. "Light is against me."

Finally it comes to an end. You can't tell by his expression whether or not you passed. However a week later the miracle does happen. You made it! Now all you need is the car.

That great day arrives when the salesman calls you up on the phone with the great news.

"She's here. Come and get her."

Your wife goes with you. While you sign the necessary papers she does some last minute checking on the car. Counts the wheels. They are all accounted for. Opens the hood and finds the engine is in place. Compares the hat color to the upholstery. Thinks there is a very slight difference in shade but it won't be noticed.

Now you are behind the wheel. Your wife is at your side and you are driving down Grand Avenue. Suddenly you hear sirens. Fire engines! They seemed to be headed towards you and the car. You die a million deaths but do the right thing. Pull up near a curb to let them pass. Only they are on the other side of the street going in the opposite direction. So all is well. You manage to get to the end of Grand Avenue. Now you are on Route 22 A in the suburbs. You feel relaxed when you notice a motorcycle officer next to you.

"Pull over," he orders.

You do that and he stops. What to say? Let him have the first words.

"Show me your driver's license and registration certificate."

You follow this very difficult order. He examines the papers carefully. By this time your wife puts in her two cents.

"What's the charge, officer?"

"Nothing," he smiles. "I see it's your first day on the road. Go close your trunk door. It has been bouncing up and down. Good luck. Be a careful driver."

You continue another five miles and stop at a hot dog stand. Both of you take a quick bite a soft drink. Your wife notices a spot on the car, but brushes it off quickly.

"I'm going to learn to drive too," the wife announces.

You have nothing to say so you say absolutely nothing. You head for home and then from nowhere comes an auto out of what must have been a hidden side road. Both cars come to a stop with one millionth of an inch between the two cars. You and the other driver jump out and now face each other.

"First day on the road for me," he apologizes. "Sorry!"

You forgive him with a smile. He thought you were an old timer and you go on your way. Driving is now easier. You get to your home and find parking space.

"There's a new car ahead of you," comments your wife. "Just like ours."

You reach your apartment door and there's a big husky man waiting for you. Asks your name and you et scared.

"Four months ago you sent in a title for our new product," he tells you. "Lucky guy you are! You just won yourself a brand new car. Got it downstairs for you."

You faint. What else could you do under those circumstances.


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