Empty is as full as it gets

Posted Oct 19, 2002
Last Updated Oct 26, 2011

It all started in high school. Our government found that I was worthy of a driver’s license, and my parents found me worthy of a car. That’s when I took the step into the world of cars.

My first car was the Great American Hoopty. A grey Ford station wagon with a red interior, it happily escorted me and my friends to school every day. Its most distinguishing feature was that it had shocks that had gone out long ago: every time I ran over a speed bump or hit a pebble, the machine was rocking up and down traumatically for the next six blocks. I usually told people that it was the hydraulics, but somehow that didn’t stick. Maybe people didn’t buy that because the radio was out, and everyone knows that you have to play rap music at 150 decibels to have hydraulics.

During high school I didn’t have a job. So driving was an effort of prudent manipulation of friends. If they all wanted me to drive them somewhere—and who wouldn’t want to drive in a car that makes every trip to the store exciting?—I had to charge a fee for gas. So I guess you could say that I did have a job as a taxi driver.

But even with the help of friends, I always seemed to be low on gas. I don’t know why that was the case, especially since back in those times gas was only extortionately high, not deadly like today.

And the trend never changed. After that car blew up along Route 42 I acquired other vehicles, all of them stories in themselves. They have carried on a tradition of sucking money out of my pocket and creating great times for me and my friends.

It seems that whenever I leave a gas station, having just left behind a considerable percentage of my last paycheck, I turn the corner and my gas meter is struggling valiantly to cling to a respectable rank on the gauge. But the effort is futile. Something always distracts my attention from the gauge for a moment, and every time that happens and I look back at my dashboard, I find that the tank is empty again.

Empty is as full as it gets.

Great American Hoopty

A series of humorous accounts of cars owned by Shawn Olson.

  1. Empty is as full as it gets
  2. The Great American Hoopty
  3. The Blue Van
  4. A Trip Down Hoopty Lane

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