It's been said that men who lust after muscle cars are simply trying to compensate for undersized penises. While I'm sure that's largely untrue, as with so many other things, there's always an element of truth when we choose to dig a little deeper. I've seen some pretty mousy little guys pull up in the parking lot of a shopping center in a big old pickup with tires taller than they. I'm sure at least some of them are employing the outward displays of motorized machismo to compensate for an undersized weenie.
Thankfully, even in my youth, I never gauged my masculinity by what I drove....(though I did once own an underpowered 56 Chevy with mag wheels that looked hot and invited challenges to race at stoplights on Blackstone Avenue, the main drag up in Fresno, California...alas my Chevy 6 cylinder with an undersized 235 engine was not up to it.)
But we outgrow the "hot rod" stage of our earlier lives and settle into the more mundane routines of work, family and the pursuit of happiness, don't we? Yes we do. But I have found that, as we grow older, we are not much wiser than those days when we lusted after a 327 V8 engine under the hood. We simply replace the objects of "bragging rights" with something else.
To wit, in my old age dotage I've found myself competing with the neighboring fellas right here in Sun City...hot as Hades in the summer, for bragging rights on how long our Air Conditioners have held up under the onslaught of savage summers.
I found myself dragged into the AC bragging rights shortly after I moved in. After I got to know neighbor Don and neighbor Dave we would sit out on the front stoop of Don's house, quaff a beer, swap a few war stories and so forth. One evening, when we had exhausted manly things to talk about, Don proclaimed to have the most reliable Air Conditioner on the block. He said he could abuse the hell out of the son of a bitch and it just kept pouring cool air to offset those 115 degree summer temps. Don said he changed filters when he damn well felt like it, about as often as he went in for a prostate probe. That got Dave fired up and he said "well shit, it's been five years since an AC man came out and did a damn thing to mine!" Being the new kid on the block, I didn't have much to contribute to the conversation so I wisely kept quiet.
But the next morning I took a look at my aging Goetl AC unit and noted that it looked really ancient. So I grabbed a ladder and went out and took the plate off the AC unit, wrote down the model number, and went in and ran the specs on line. Found out my AC was built in 1988 and was already 17 years old and still "truckin".
So the next time we gathered for a beer, I looked over at Dave and asked him how old his Carrier unit was. He told me it was six years old. I smiled, then walked out into the driveway of Don's house and looked up at his roof mounted unit and asked him how old his was. Don said he'd had his installed four years ago. I smiled again, went back and plopped down into my lawn chair, took a sip of my now warm brew, and proclaimed my old '88 Goetl was old enough to be their AC unit's grandfather! That shut up old Don and Dave and I never heard another brag about their central AC's!
But, as men must when they gather into enclaves, the subject of sewer line longevity came up. That's a hot topic in our senior community because the sewer lines were first installed back when Eisenhower was President and the aging sewer lines were beginning to fail, having reached the peak of their life cycle. It was not at all unusual to see big old open trenches out in the front yard of our neighborhood as one after another sewer line bit the dust and had to be replaced.
As usual "blowhard Don" started it. "Did you see where Ogden's yard's all torn up? His sewer line blew Sunday night just about the time his wife was taking her Sunday night dump....Ogden said his wife bout had a heart attack when the back flow hit her in the ass at her most vulnerable moment!
After we all had a good chuckle, Don said "my sewer line is just fine...and believe you me I ain't ever slighted myself with a good old gob of toilet paper when it's most needed!" Dave then chirped in and set he and his wife use wet wipes and if that doesn't tax the system he didn't know what did and his sewer line was just fine. I didn't say a thing to either of them as I was still basking in the glow of having the longest running AC unit around.
Alas, the following year both Don and Dave had the plumbing crews out...digging big old long trenches leading from the house to the city sewer lines. Both were shelling out $5 grand apiece to have their sewer lines replaced. I didn't have the heart to rub it in at our "beer meets" but I have to confess I did stand at my living room window and look out there at those open trenches with a big smile on my face.
Many years have passed since. Don moved up to Prescott and, sadly, Dave has passed on to his reward. I still have my '58 sewer line and my '88 Goetl AC unit...now 27 years old. I thought of Don and Dave on Monday when my old Goetl failed me for the first time on a 112 degree day here. So I "Yelped" for the highest rated repair company and they came out and replaced a capacitor and fired up my old Goetl and got her running again.
But, I suspect the other old codgers were looking on when the AC repair truck pulled into my place. No doubt, somewhere down the block there's another enclave of old codgers seeking "bragging rights" on their home AC or their most ancient but reliable sewer lines.
I guess men, both young and old, have to have something totally silly to brag about. And yes, my sewer line is still working fine...thank you.