The Eighth Page

Highway to the Danger Zone

Don’t get me wrong: I love the smell of tree-shaped air fresheners mixed with huge amounts of cigarette smoke as much as the next guy, but cabs in Andover are not getting any less creepy. Any one of the drivers could be a criminal, or worse yet, a mutant. For the time being, I’m not too worried. I carry a taser around where ever I go in case they get any ideas, and I have faith that the government is secretly persecuting mutants all over the country, like Dr. Xavier and his students. But, at the end of the day, my life would be a lot better if I had my own car. The first steps to getting a car on campus would probably be getting a license, and finding a place to hide it. BORING! I wanted first to decide what kind of car to get. But, being at boarding school, I felt somewhat ignorant of which cars were cool these days. So I decided I would turn to my most trusted source of information about kids like me: a bunch of middle aged businessmen who run Viacom. I went down to the Taylor common room, brushed off the couch so that my twill shorts and pink polo wouldn’t get dirty, kicked off my boat shoes, and turned on “Pimp My Ride” on MTV. I came away brimming with ideas about a new car. I could put a shoe rack in the trunk. I could put a karaoke machine in the console. I could make a river flow gracefully down the back seat. The possibilities were endless. Basically, Xzibit seemed to be saying that I should buy a rusting piece of garbage, cover all the rust and garbage with brightly colored suede, and call it a day. But, on some level, I wasn’t sold on the idea. It sort of seemed like putting a week-old hamburger in a new bun and eating it. A lot of things could go wrong. I watched MTV for a little while longer and got a few more ideas. Bentleys looked pretty nice, but I was worried about fuel efficiency. Think about how much gas would cost! Then I decided to ask some people around campus for ideas, and who better than Shakespeare expert and general Renaissance man Dr. Jonathan Miller? He was staying at the Andover Inn, but people weren’t exactly advertising his number. No matter. If a Miami radio station can get on the phone with Fidel Castro by using sound bytes from the president of Venezuela, then I could use them to get on the phone with Dr. Miller. Sadly, the receptionist at the Andover Inn didn’t instantly recognize the voice, so I just asked for Dr. Miller’s room, saying I was his nephew. I was in. The beginning of our conversation mostly consisted of him saying things like, “Who the hell is this? It’s three in the bloody morning,” and that he did not have a strong preference for a certain kind of car. But after redialing several times, and exercising a few good-natured threats, he conceded that he thought I should get a Peugeot. One small problem: they don’t sell those in this country anymore! It turns out Dr. Miller was no help at all. Peugeot? Renaissance man my behind! In one final act of desperation, I asked my friend and mentor Benjamin Solomon Stone ’04 for advice in the matter. He said I’m the kind of person he thought would drive a Saturn. When I started to cry, he felt bad, and told me I should get a Jeep Wrangler or something. As always, knowledge and wisdom radiate from his head. I ran upstairs to call my parents and tell them about his brilliant proposition for a car choice, and my sketchy experiences with Andover cabs, and the ease with which I could hide a car on campus. They listened to my proposal, and then flat out said, “No.” Yeah, I got nothing.