Midas Muffler and Chase Manhattan Revisited

A million years ago, my Dad bought my sisters and me a car.  The first attempt was a ’65 Biscayne.

1965 Chevrolet Biscayne
Waiting to visit the crusher

I broke the idler arm  slamming on the brakes one day.  After convincing Dad that steering was an important part of the car driving experience, he traded it in as scrap for a 1973 Plymouth Fury.

1973 Plymouth Fury I
You will be mine you will be mine, all mine

For about a year, while Buzzkill was a senior, there was a girl bureaucracy where they expected me to record my mileage and gas up the car accordingly.

Oh fuck that. I am not writing jackshit down.  You two can do that and interpolate my mileage.  And, I’ll wildly overstate just tell you how much gas I put in.

Sister one moved on to a shitbox Arrow and then a Cutlass. Buzzkill moved on to Sparty school, and then a Jesus cult/arranged marriage/homeschool to render college irrelevant.  But I digress

Today is the 33 year anniversary of my Dad announcing that he cheated on Mom with some psycho had moved out and was divorcing Mom. Also a locally famous tornado happened.  Anyhoo, the upshot of dad leaving was that the Fury stayed, but it was on us to keep it running.  (Sharing a car with me may have hastened my sisters’ quitclaims on it.  Or else they got tired of their own inability to not crash it.)

Pod Fury
How to scare off girls – gators hung in effigy, cop-like spotlights, turbo air cleaners. Or maybe just teen boy smell.

Once I chased off the girls it was on me to figure out car repairs.  Monkey Wards sold me tires with 1950s technology when the fronts failed on the highway. I discovered Midas Muffler, when I needed a new muffler or some shocks.  Goodyear thought they found a pigeon when an oil change turned into  trying to sell me a new driveshaft. (I know, powerslams were a bad idea, but they were so fun.)

1976 Mercury Marquis

Later, I got my own car. One thing I discovered is that brakes aren’t supposed to grind, especially when you aren’t even applying them.

Me: Hello Midas, I’m back!  Where’s the king?  And what pray tell, is that noise that sounds like the knees of a 50 year old rusted out robot?
Midas: Sir, your car would stop better if it still had any brakes.
Me: Yeah, sorry about that whole crashing through the lobby thing.
Midas:We actually cannot let you drive this car away until we fix it.
Me:  OK, how about some of those brake things?
Midas:How about $500 (1985) dollars?
Chase Manhattan MasterCard: Instead of strippers and cocaine, why not use me to avoid vehicular negligence and prison?
Me:  This will take 10 years to pay off if I just pay what I can afford.
Chase Manhattan MasterCard: Ain’t that America?  Yee haw.

Today, on tornado day, I took the toaster car for a brake check.  No grinding (I totally learned that one), no squealing pads, i.e., the usual brake signals. Just a little fade (that might be imaginary) and occasional mechanical noises.

Dealer:  Yeah, you’re fucked.  The fronts are overdue in that you have 2mm of pad left and are about to give yourself the wrong kind of slotted rotors – the grindy, complete system failure kind.  The backs are due too.
Me: Hey wait, my Prizm never needed brakes in 100K miles.
Dealer: Yeah, but your man hating car hating (ex)wife drove that most of the time.  QED. Plus, you both mostly drove it like there were kids in the car.  Pads, turning rotors, labor, flush and fill, all that shit=$600.
Capital One:  I’m what’s in your wallet.
Me: Oh, praise Cthulhu.
Capital One:  Capital One:Cthulhu; tomato:tomahto.
Lurlene:  Exactly, goddammit all.  So much for that crazy night of hookers and blow you promised.
Capital One: You mean Cthulhudammit all.

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