8 cylinder
Fountain of Youth

Written by Michael Badnarik

In February 1988 I purchased a brand new Pontiac Trans Am GTA. A fighter jet without wings. The engine fit under the hood the way an ice cube fits in a tray. More power than rationally necessary which allowed me to dominate the highway like a Bengal Tiger hunting fearlessly in the jungle. Zero to sixty in four seconds without even breaking a sweat. Several times, the power and performance suspension literally saved my life. I loved that car, but after thirty years and three hundred thousand miles, the monthly maintenance costs to keep it on the highway were killing me. I disposed of that car like a cowboy whose favorite horse has broken a leg, and he is forced to put it out of its misery. Very sad.

Living just above the poverty level, the only thing I could afford was a “golf cart with a windshield”. Very reliable, yes, but zero to sixty in about forty seconds… on a downhill. And an embarrassing fire engine red. I entered the highway like a chihuahua hiding under the furniture to avoid being stepped on. More significantly, I suffered a complete loss of my masculinity and self-respect. I was unhealthy, I felt older than my age, and I had very little will to live.

But fortune has smiled upon me, and two days ago I took possession of an eight-cylinder, fuel-thirsty rocket sled disguised as a white Dodge Challenger. This is the sexiest muscle car on the road today, and I have lusted over this model car for three years. During the first six hours of ownership I averaged five miles per gallon. A guy isn’t going to date a supermodel and then sleep on the sofa! Likewise, I’m not going to sit behind the wheel of this speed machine and not confirm its ability to accelerate. There were lots of stop lights before I could get it home. The first tank of gas disappeared in less than a day. However, my virility and self-esteem have been restored, and I feel much younger than my actual calendar age. For the first time in a long time, I’m happy to be me. And Ponce de Leon was looking for water. Silly boy.
 

Oh, yeah. Texas just survived an unprecedented winter where people went without heat and water for many days. My apartment was flooded by a broken water main, and I abandoned my home with three inches of water on the floor. But… who cares? I can sleep in my Challenger if I have to. This morning I take possession of a new apartment unit which is actually better than the one I had been living in. Life is much better than it has been, and the trend appears to be upward. Hey! Maybe I’ll start skydiving again! Yeaaaah, Baaaaby!

You May Also Like…

No Dream is Impossible

When I was in college - oh, so long ago - I used to wake up at 05:59 every morning... literally, thirty seconds before the alarm clock was able to make a sound. I would collect my towel and toiletries and walk down the hall to the shower, which I always had to myself....

You knew her as “Mom”

Elaine Margarite Gima was born on March 15th, 1934. On August 29th, 1953, she married a skinny little soldier and became Elaine Badnarik. For most of her life, almost everyone knew her as Mom. It is easy for me to imagine why my father was attracted to her. She was...

When Eight Bells Toll

Avast, ye Mate! Drop anchor, pour yourself some grog, and I'll spin you a yarn. Eight Bells signals the end of a nautical watch, which could mean, four, eight, or twelve o'clock, AM or PM. In this particular story, it was meant to refer to midnight. Most of my sailing...

7 Comments

  1. Ellen

    Bravo, Michael!!!

    Reply
  2. Stephanie Marrero

    Congratulations, Michael! I’m so happy for you. When are you taking me for my ride?

    Reply
  3. Bill Walker

    Nice wheels.
    Remember: You paid for the whole speedometer – you use the whole speedometer. 😉
    Hopefully you’re lucky enough to live reasonably close to some sort of petroleum supply… 😛
    (Thanks again for signing my 1911 – so many years ago)

    [mjb: I will get my money’s worth out of the speedometer, I’m sure. And this is TEXAS. We pump gasoline right out of the ground and pour it into the tank.]

    (Gasoline being pumped out of the ground in Texas.)

    Reply
  4. Donna

    Happy for you Michael! I really like your car especially the color. I am excited for your future. Have a great journey!

    Reply
  5. Mette

    Okay, you keep your speed demon and I will keep my packard! Slow but comfortable. Now if I can save up to put air conditioning in. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Bill Martin

    Yes, I remember your Firebird very well. It was suspiciously similar to one that was featured on a TV show. Of course, you wouldn’t have liked that one because it was self-driving. Congratulations on getting 300,000 miles out of it. Beats my record. The most I ever got from one car was 250,000. That was an Olds 98, nice car but a little under-powered.

    Gotta comment on your five miles per gallon. I had a couple of muscle cars, one was a Ford, the other a Pontiac, and both of them were thirsty. But FIVE MPG???? Michael, dude, maybe you should consider a tune-up. Just a thought.

    Thanks for keeping me on your mailing list. I’m still in Central America. It was OK until the Plandemic started. But I understand that’s the situation all over the world except for Tanzania and Belarus. Hmm-m-m.
    Later,
    Bill Martin

    [mjb: My car was exactly like “Kit”, minus the goofy LEDs flashing in the grill. And yes, I prefer to drive it myself. As for the 5 MPG, that was during the “verification stage” where every green light was treated like a drag race. Now that I am more mature… it could happen… I am satisfied with the slow rumble when it starts, and my MPG is up to 18. Of course, I didn’t purchase this car because it was fuel efficient. It seems to work “better than Viagra” (the title originally planned for this anecdote).]

    Reply
  7. Logan

    I know exactly of what you speak on this fountain of youth. I too have my own such fountain, as every time I get in my 1975 Monte Carlo with 500 HP under the hood (and 160 MPH on the speedometer too) I feel young and regenerated.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *