Just scratching the surface

I didn’t think it was a big deal: a couple scratches on my bumper and a barely-visible dent on the rear hatch. Five years ago, I decided I wanted a badass car, so I bought a Jeep that can withstand direct hits from anti-aircraft missiles. Unfortunately, it’s not trail-rated, so the undercarriage is susceptible to damage from rocks, roots, and small fluffy woodland animals.

Naturally, I wanted to make sure that the rear-ender hadn’t turned my axles into twisted heaps of rusting metal. The online accident report form for my insurance company didn’t include a box for “I don’t know a U joint from a drive train, so I just want someone professional to crawl around under my car with a flashlight.”

Instead, the other driver’s insurance company contacted me, and shoved their amazing friendly customer service down my throat. (The jerks!) So my car is in the body shop and I’m driving around in a rented SUV with a home entertainment system, GPS, and free mini-bar. I was surprised the first time I threw it in reverse. There on the dashboard was a panoramic view of every crack in the pavement behind my car. I felt a wave of nausea as I started backing up and saw the world moving behind me.

How lazy do we have to be that we can no longer turn our heads? Where’s the sense of adventure if we don’t have multiple giant blind spots when we’re backing up? Don’t you hate it when people keep asking rhetorical questions?

Maybe I should be having fun with it, but I don’t want to count the seemingly infinite number of cup holders. I don’t feel like crank-calling Onstar to ask if they have Prince Albert in a can. And mostly, I don’t want my friends to see me driving something that looks like I should be taking my kids to Lacrosse practice. People have been shunned from the neighborhood barbecue and paintball tournament for less.

It will be nice to have my car looking pristine and new, but a couple scratches and the odd dent are badges of honor. After all, the car that rear-ended me was at least eight inches shorter after the accident, the radiator was at a 45 degree angle, and the hood looked like an accordion. Pit my car against any sedan, and my badass Jeep is going to come out the winner, as long as there are no fluffy woodland animals around.