A long ride through an unholy Excursion | VailDaily.com

A long ride through an unholy Excursion

So I was driving down the road in my 10-cylinder, gas-powered SUV, eating a triple cheeseburger and driving with my knees, cranking up the volume on the Lynyrd Skynyrd CD, extolling the glories of all things American and fiddling with my sunglasses as I looked in the rearview mirror as I exclaimed aloud, “You good lookin’ son of a gun, don’t you never die!”

As my Reason for Living set new records for eye rolling, she was more than happy to point that the light on my gas gauge was lit up. It reminded me why we’re fighting the War on Terror.

I’m a True American, convinced that cheap gas is one of our Inalienable Rights, right up there with right to fire massive weapons at small animals. You can never have too much ammunition, drive a vehicle with too much horsepower.

I’m also a middle-aged white guy, and one of my spiritual gifts, along with juggling cats, is my talent for looking reality straight in the eye and denying its existence. Which leads us back to the 10-cylinder, gas-powered SUV. In America, the country that invented rock and roll and the V-8 engine, this baby does them one better ” or in my SUV’s case, two better.

And also because I’m a middle-aged white guy, I share the belief with all my Caucasian kind that the “E” on the gas gauge stands for “Eeeehhhh, just a little farther.”

But there comes a time when a man can no longer ignore the harsh realities of life or his Reason for Living’s gentle reminders ” even in a place as cool as western Colorado. It’s at those metaphorical crossroads that a man cuts the best deal he can. Blues legend Robert Johnson made his deal there. Richard Nixon did, too.

It’s time to take that road less traveled by and get in line at the gas station.

Life holds some harsh realities, like the kid who was released from juvenile detention hall and his first move among the free was to borrow a cell phone and my teenage daughter. Or getting fired up at her and telling her she’s grounded until she goes to college, and she grabs an application for Landmark College in Putney, Vermont, the nation’s most expensive school (Just tuition: $37,738, which is less than we paid for the SUV in which we’re riding). Or reading what we’re really paying for our house, which is a bunch, although the house probably gets better gas mileage than my 10-cylinder, gas-powered SUV.

But buying houses and gas are the cost of doing business as a True American, which seems to be going up every time some Middle Eastern sheik gets his turban in a twist.

The gas pump plugged into the Queen Elizabeth III: The Mother’s Ship blows by $140 like a Porsche passing a Pinto. I begin to shake like a pooch passing peach pits. I also begin to wonder what other uses a vehicle that size might have, because even as a True American I’d much rather split the $140 between riotous living and the collection plate at church. Sheik Ali Over Yomamma doesn’t need any more of my money; he’s rich enough.

Among the uses for a Ford Excursion that no one in their right mind would ever buy and only rarely drive:

– A tasteful planter: It’s possible we could use it to grow organic vegetables and other cash crops because if Y2K didn’t bring society to its knees, $7 gas certainly will.

– Echo chamber for a recording studio: The echoes will be mostly the sounds that used to come forth from a society that thought of the Great American Road Trip as a holy pilgrimage.

– An addition to the house: Since it’s about the size of a master bedroom suite and bigger than the average domicile in most Third World countries, the Excursion might make a dandy centerpiece for that home-improvement project you’ve been dreaming about. It’s certainly roomy enough to accommodate an air-hockey table. You could sit behind the wheel and make “vrooom” truck noises. The way gas prices are headed, that’s the only sound it’s gonna make. Or your kids can practice those guitars. Maybe they’ll become rock stars and the price of gas won’t matter. And like we said before, your house likely gets better gas mileage.

– Septic tank: It’s about the right size, and if the price of gas keeps going up, my Excursion and I would be full of the same sort of stuff.

Randy Wyrick needs more uses for his Ford Excursion because no one in their right mind would ever buy it. Send them to rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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