About seventy five years ago (or so), I worked for NAPA Auto Parts out of Anchorage, and there was a running joke circulating around the fax machines that would define the kind of person you were by what you drove. It had some real gems such as “Ford Taurus – I drive something most lower mammals wouldn’t use as a nest.” I thought that this brand of stereotyping was insanely humorous. As the years have passed, I thought it might be prudent to update my list of vehicular judgments; here is my highly professional psychoanalysis on just a few different car types. Mind you, these are based on years of unfair and biased science. Enjoy.
This car lets the world know that what you really, really want to project is the image of someone who might get recruited by Lance Armstrong at any moment to lead some sort of globe-trotting adventure lifestyle while simultaneously promoting cancer awareness. Most of the folks who own this kind of car have (unused) bike/canoe/surf racks on top and a love of Kashi cereal. They most likely wear flip flops and there is a better than average chance that they’ve never taken this vehicle off any road more challenging than the gravel parking lot at the beach. Likely bumper stickers: “Go Climb A Rock”, “Save Mono Lake” & “GObama ’08!”
When lowered, this vehicle suggests you want to join the kind of gang that supports the Oakland Raiders and considers Limp Bizkit music to be “groundbreaking”. When left in the condition it rolled off the assembly line, this everyman’s truck tells people that you haul your own sheets of drywall from Home Depot when your wife has seen too much HGTV and decides to remodel the kitchen. When lifted and jacked it says that you dip Skoal Bandits and thrive on visions of your high school glory days when you were the tri-county bull riding champ. Likely bumper stickers: “B.A.S.S. Life Member”, “K&N Air Filters” and “My Pit Bull Wears Lipstick”
People who own this kind of vehicle often insist on calling it a “truck”. They are almost proud of the spectacularly crappy British engineering, and have no problem admitting that they are mechanically unreliable, notoriously expensive motorized lemons. The trade-off, I suppose, is that you can still be an environmental defense lawyer and drive one of these English turds without one ounce of hypocritical irony. Plus, you’ll look like you might just be going “on holiday” with your bird dogs and Jason Statham. Spectacular! Likely bumper stickers: “GB” (in a circle, like we don’t know you love the Brits), “Highland Springs Country Club Member ’09”, “Catholic High School Booster Club”
Almost a requirement if you live in Portland, Oregon, this ironically named hippie wagon is more of a lifestyle statement than anything else. You care greatly about salmon population counts, you read obscure books about “green” travel in the Far East and you telecommute when possible. These days you wear Crocs with cargo shorts (no matter your gender). You weep for Jerry Garcia’s death, and swear you smoked pot with him backstage at Shoreline in ’94. Secretly you want to operate a bulldozer and shoot a rifle, but could never handle the social stigma you’d inherit down at the organic food co-op if you actually DID these things. Likely bumper stickers: “Impeach Bush”, “Shoot Cheney In The Face”, “No One Died When Clinton Lied” and “Wage Peace”
When you drive one of these babies, you take a certain kind of pride in flipping off the EPA. You may claim that as a “soccer mom”, this vehicle is necessary to haul little Brittney and all of her friends to cheerleading practice, but the reality is that you LIKE feeling like the biggest mo-fo on the road. You go to church regularly, you spend weekends at the lake consuming lime flavored beer and Marlboro Lights and are convinced that if they ever do a “Real Housewives Of Wherever-You-Live”, they’re gonna want you on the show. Likely bumper stickers: “W ’04”, “Don’t Blame Me, He’s Not MY Messiah” and “Know Jesus, Know Peace, No Jesus, No Peace”
THE vehicle of choice if what you are trying to say is “I don’t give a shit HOW I get there”. These trucks are perfect if you’ve just turned sixteen and want to spend more on a stereo system than on the vehicle itself. If you like the sound of metal rusting, look no further than this sweet ride. Likely bumper stickers: “In N’ Out Burger”, “YES, It’s Paid For” and “Eat More Beef”