Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Son in Retrospect

In high school, Older Son had a boom car, the kind with a bass that vibrates your fillings from three blocks away. We always knew when he was on his way home—so did all the rest of the world.

We pointed out the danger to his hearing, but he persisted in increasing his volume by adding even more speakers. Apparently he didn’t hear us.

A more immediate danger was burglars. His car was broken into several times, twice during the day in the school parking lot, once at night in the same lot, and a couple of times in our own driveway. On the last occasion, a passing patrol car decided there was something suspicious about two guys working on a car at 3 a.m. under an on-and-off security spotlight.

The cop nailed the thieves in the act, then rang our doorbell. The whole family got off to an early start that day.

Older Son finally got a car alarm, but the insurance company dropped him for excessive claims. I was threatening to do the same.

Needless to say, my son had a small fortune tied up in that car. It ate up all his Christmas and birthday money, whatever he could earn, plus whatever he was able to wheedle out of his father, a closet car stereo nut himself.

Then there was the fellow student who promised stereo heaven, but disappeared after Older Son forked over an eighty-dollar down payment. Checking the stereo shop where the friend supposedly worked, Son found out the guy had been fired. And his roommate had kicked him out for not paying rent—which made Son realize his friend did not, as he had said, live with a wealthy father and a garageful of show cars.

The whole experience seemed an unnecessary pain to me. Not until I visited high school one morning did I really understand about the booming bass stereo.

My pride and joy had parked out in front and was sitting behind the wheel with both doors open and the speakers blaring. A couple of guys and six giggling teen-age girls were gathered around.

“He uses it to lure women,” Younger Son explained. “He’s like a fisherman. The car is the hook and the bass is the bait and all he has to do is sit there and reel them in.”

No wonder he didn’t care about his hearing.

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