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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

HOM: The Pick-Up

There is an old joke about the Japanese hiring German technicians to jump-start their auto industry in the fifties. The managers & technicians had all the work done and were ready to start rolling out vehicles but were stymied by a brand name for the vehicles they were exporting to America. They wanted something memorable, distinctive, and international but there were so many dissenting ideas that they finally decided to settle things by having one of the Germans name the company. They called in an old German and told him what they wanted him to do, if he would. He thought it over and agreed, but his one question was when they needed his decision. "Tomorrow!" they said. "Dot soon?" he responded. The next day, the new Datsuns were rolling off the lines. --- I bought my Datsun used and proceeded to get it fixed up the way I wanted it, and one of the first things I did was have Dave McCoy weld on a solid channel-iron rear bumper and trailer hitch. There was a repercussion. It's 0200 on a Saturday morning, and I was off work and heading home down Woodland Ave after a quick cup of coffee at Finnegan's when a pair of headlights came up behind me. Close behind me. Very close. I was watching the mirror instead of the road and wobbled toward the curb. When I corrected, the mystery of the UFO (Unidentified Following Object) cleared up. It was a cop, and going by the flashers, he wanted me to stop. I did. There was a short and polite conversation. He wondered what I'd been drinking and why I'd swerved. I explained that all I'd just had was coffee, & swerved because I was watching the mirror instead of the road, trying to figure out who was pushing me down the street. At that point, he got a little bit apologetic, and explained that he was trying to read the license plate over the top of the bumper and got closer than he'd planned. We both had a good laugh, and parted friends. I guess the kicker is that he is still a friend, and a sort-of neighbor, by the name of Tim Birk. He isn't a cop any longer, but a contractor, and owns my Aunt Minnie Thompson's old farm. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)