Hello Everyone. I hope you all are enjoying this “hump day”. I would like to remind you that while some of my writing is non-fiction, the story shared on “Ugly Volvo Wednesdays” is pure satirical fiction and not intended in any way to defame, condemn, or violate any real person, place, or product.
Chapter 6—How Ol’Bruiser Got Her Name
When we returned from Grandma and Grandpa we found many things unrecognizable. First was my dad’s shop. It no longer had the comforting smell of engine oil, nor the dank décor of oil stained surfaces. No, instead it smelled like a combination of industrial Gunk©, paint thinner, and something I can only call “rage”. The décor was still dank, but it had a green tinge to it—a tinge just slightly lighter than the hue of the Incredible Hulk. Secondly, my dad had this air of fatigue and exhaustion. His eyes had the haunted twinkle of a mad scientist, and he seemed to mutter and giggle to himself when he thought no one was watching. Finally, the car—at first we couldn’t spot it. We did wonder, however, which of my dad’s car club friends were visiting, because of the strange car in the yard.
That was no strange car. Well, it was strange, but not stranger-owned strange. Gone was the rusted out, purring piece of crap, and in its place was this eccentric, faux-showroom-new car. It was two-toned. The top half was blue, and the bottom half was black. I would find out later, that the bottom half of the car was so badly rusted, that the only thing that could be done was to apply several layers of tar on top of the fibre glass layers. I guess the tar was sticky enough to keep the fibre glass from going brittle and shattering.
My dad strutted over to this specimen, puffed out his chest and asked us, “Well, what you think? Pretty good eh?!” We were rendered speechless, but my dad would not let it go. He kept asking for comment, and we were stuck there gaping at this specimen until we could offer him a response.
My mom squeaked, “It l-looks l-like a …a….um….big bruise”
My dad jumped up and down on the spot laughing and arms flaying. “Yes!!! That’s it—EXACTLY!”
That was it—Ol’Bruiser’s baptism. Bizarrely auspicious, odd, and clinically insane all rolled up together and wrapped in a big red straight-jacket shaped bow. That car offered my dad all kinds of liberation to his driving style and parking techniques. He did not care if he bumped into posts, or scraped along shopping carts. All his meticulous hard work had rendered that car absolutely indestructible. His driving skill evolved from tempered and Zen-like to frenetic and Evil Knievel-like. Some remember this time as my dad’s descent into madness. Maybe it was, but through it all he did hang on to several shards of clarity and wisdom.
Looking back, I suspect it was thanks to Ol’Bruiser that my dad developed his Jekyll and Hyde attitude when it came to cars and driving. When it came to cars, their machinations, and the general theory of driving, my dad was like Dr. Jekyll: a kind and gentle source of wisdom and insight. When it came to the act of driving, my dad was like Mr. Hyde: a frothing at the mouth mad man that evoked terror and tyranny any who crossed his path.
Back at the dealership, my dad became a hero of urban legendary proportions. He was like Jesus, resurrecting and healing a car well beyond anyone’s fondest hope. They treated him with the deference one treats a mad scientist. He was both fearsome and admirable. From that point forward, there was no such thing as a quick visit to the parts desk—he was always being asked to share his story of the “One Hundred Dollar Car”.