What’s in Your Garage?

Here’s a quick one…

I was reading on the internet that GM may be coming out with a Z28 in 2011. Cool. I had a 1968 Camaro when I was a kid, so I’m thinking it would be a kick to go and test drive a new Z28. But, alas, I am such a troubled soul—here’s where the thought soon took me:

There are a few basic places a person can fall in the Ford/Chevy debate, and the first one is this: There are people who have never owned a Ford (or Chevy), and have never driven one, and who swear it’s because Ford (or Chevy) is a far inferior product. There is no real reason for this belief, other than the person has been taught that it is absolutely true— quite likely from somebody else who has never owned the brand, either.

So I’ve made up the following theoretical dialog, based upon conversations I’ve heard, to help make a point. (And by the way, I have no idea about the actual performance of the new Camaro and the new Mustang. I’m making this up, so don’t comment and call me an idiot because of what I say about a couple of cars. Please. This is just a metaphor, okay?)

The fictive dialog starts like this:

Ford Lover: “Chevy’s totally suck.”

“Really? Why?”

“Because, man; they suck.”

“Yeah but, why? Why do you say that?”

“Because, man. They totally suck! Fords ROCK!”

Now consider the following continuation of the dialog:

Ford Lover: “…My neighbor is a total idiot. I’m not even inviting him to come watch the game on my new big screen.”

“Really? What he’d say? What’d he do?”

“Nothing, man. I haven’t even met him. He doesn’t have to say anything. Dude. Come on. He drives a Chevy. It’s there in his driveway.”

“I don’t understand. That’s why he’s an idiot?”

“Absolutely. Only an idiot would own a Chevy.”

“Oh. Wait, why does that make them an idiot?”

“Because, man. Don’t you get it? Because Chevy’s suck. Chevy’s suck, he drives a Chevy, therefore, he’s an idiot.”

“But, he’s driving a 2011 Z28. That’s a pretty cool car. And the reviews say it’s pretty impressive.”

“No that’s a bunch of crap. GM pays those people to say that. No way it’s as good as my ‘stang.”

“You mean yours is faster?”

“Yeah. Way, dude. Mustangs have always been better than Camaros. Camaros suck.”

“Yeah but the reviews say it outruns your model of Mustang in the quarter mile by…”

“Doesn’t matter. A quarter is nothing. I’m talkin’ on the street, man. That’s what matters. Quarter doesn’t matter at all. I’m talking cornering, braking, mileage, all that stuff. Full package ride. No comparison.”

“Yeah but the reviews say the Camaro beats your model of Mustang in all those categories, and gets similar MPG, too, so…”

“Yeah right if you want to pay TWICE AS MUCH for a stupid Camaro, man. That’s jacked. Only an idiot would pay that for a Chevy.”

“But if you want a performance car and you want to spend under 40k, then, it seems like the Camaro might make sense…”

“No, man, you’re not getting it, okay? No amount of money for any performance is worth it if it’s a Chevy. It doesn’t matter how it performs. It doesn’t matter what mileage it gets. It doesn’t matter how good it looks on paper, how good the fake reviews are, or that a bunch of idiot Chevy lovers say it’s awesome. It’s a Chevy. It sucks. Anybody who really knows anything about cars knows that. My neighbor’s an idiot. The ride in his driveway proves it.”

“Okay, but, I read articles in Car and Driver and in Road and Track, and out of twelve test drivers, eleven said they’d take the Z28 hands-down over the Mustang, and so it seems to me your neighbor…”

“Aw geezus. You’re not listening to what I’m saying. Those car magazines get paid off, okay? You can’t trust a car magazine to tell you what’s best, okay? You have to ask people who know, you know? The people who have the facts.”

“People who know? Like, you and your friends you mean?”

“Yeah, like me and my friends, folks who have driven the cars, you know? People who know that the Mustang is awesome, and that the Camaro sucks. It’s so obvious, man. You have to be blind not to see it.”

“So you’ve driven the Z28, too?”

“No, no way! I wouldn’t be caught dead in that piece of crap. Are you kidding? I mean, people who’ve driven Mustangs, man. Like, all their life. They know.”

“But, so, the people who’ve driven a Camaro, like your neighbor, he doesn’t know? I can’t ask him?”

“No of course you can’t ask him to tell you. He doesn’t know his butt from a hole in the ground. All he’s ever driven is a stupid Camaro, so how could he know about Mustangs?”

“Wait. So, I don’t get it. If you’ve never driven a Chevy, then how can you… how do you know…”

“Awww you know what, man? You’re starting to piss me off. Are you a Chevy man? ‘Cuz you’re sure starting to sound like one. Naw you know what man? Just forget it. You’re one of those people who’s, like, blind to the way things are and you don’t want to see the truth. You know what? Just leave, okay? ‘Cuz I’m done talking to you. You can go hang with your fellow idiot over there next door.”

This discussion is not very far from reality, and indeed, you may have heard a similar one for automobiles, sports teams, brands of computers, musical groups, or almost anything else you can think of. Now, imagine how much more out of hand, how much more ridiculous, how much more sad, and how much more pointless the above conversation would be if the individual asking the questions was exactly like the Mustang owner in terms of his myopic perspective, his logic and his knowledge, but was a Camaro fanatic?

This resultant conversation would be a representative analog of the vast majority of the political and religious discourse I’ve witnessed.

So what’s in your garage, and why is it sitting there? Just something to think about the next time you look at another person and call him an idiot.

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