It's been a long time since I've had a really good ugly confrontation in public, but I'll be darned if it didn't happen to me the other day while I was sitting at a left hand turn signal waiting for the arrow to turn green. There I was behind the wheel of my trusty old '66 Chevy C10 minding my own business when all of a sudden a guy in a trendy little import car pulled up along side of me and started screaming something about the gray smoke that was pouring out of my truck and filling the air with pollution. For just a brief instant I wanted to jump out of my truck and help the gentleman exit his car by extracting him through his steering wheel spokes so we could discuss the situation face to face. As it turned out it wasn't necessary because after a quick glance around I discovered the smoke the guy was so upset about, was coming from a late model Audi A4 stopped directly behind me. It was one of those "what would Jesus do?" moments when only a few seconds later the arrow turned green and I was able to leave the irate import driver stewing in his tracks. Proceeding from the single left hand turn lane onto Highway 39 there's a choice of four different individual lanes to travel in. I hung back in traffic and allowed the gaseous Audi to pass me and then I pulled in behind him. As we headed south towards Huntington Beach I could hardly breathe in the steady stream of exhaust smoke and burnt oil smell billowing from the currently registered car-yes that's right, currently registered, but the staggering amount of smoking late-model cars cruising around California with current tags is a subject for another day. I want to stay on course and discuss our government's most recent plans to banish classic vehicles in much the same way my buddy in the trendy import stereotyped my '66 Chevy.
January 6, 2009, which was only a week or so before this was written, Washington lawmakers gathered to draft a large economic stimulus package to help create jobs and rebuild infrastructure. They wanted to include a nationwide scrappage program which would give U.S. tax dollars to consumers who turn-in older cars to have them crushed, as a misguided attempt to spur new car sales. Since I'm wrapping this editorial up before the January 20 deadline House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wanted to have the bill approved by Congress, so that President Obama can sign it into law after he is inaugurated I can't tell you guys what the outcome was. I can tell you that for anyone concerned about the availability of raw materials in the future to build a customized classic truck from, this is a problem that will not be going away anytime soon. So if you would like to give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a phone call and voice your opinion on Cash for Clunkers without conducting yourself like the ill behaved citizen in the Audi please give the honorable Ms. Pelosi a call at 202/225-0100.
I imagine if the Cash for Clunkers program does meet with the Obama administration's approval it will no doubt lead to a domino effect regarding other prime examples of obsolete scientific know-how in need of global banishment. In my opinion next in line should be those smelly old houses some people like to fix up. Who knows what posses a person to want to restore an old house because it doesn't take a nuclear proctologist to recognize old houses are chock full of carcinogenic mutagens and resource wasting technologies. In the spirit of Nancy Pelosi's Cash for Clunkers I would like to do my part and offer what I call the Gold for Ghettos program. It's the next logical step to help our newly elected government deal with neighborhoods blighted by Victorian, Craftsman, and Rustic Art Deco abodes. Mirroring proposed gun confiscation plans in the same vein it would be just as easy for our Congress to track down owners of old homes through historical landmark registries and send them a check for a few hundred bucks to reimburse them for their ecologically banned domicile, and then create a workforce from the ranks of unemployed global citizens and build green houses for everyone. I'm not one to make predictions, but I'll bet during President Obama's inaugural speech we will all be asked to make some deep sacrifices to help initiate the change he so often spoke about during his 2008 campaign, and I think that's good because old houses are smelly. -John Gilbert