Posts Tagged ‘free’

Auto Correct

May 22, 2013

Sunday May 19th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   In the continuing education program that is called life, I think I can cross off yet another lesson I have learned painfully and in the most difficult way. That seems to be the only way to really get the message, and this time I have certainly gotten it and then some. This one will stay with me.

   I have learned and learned well that there is a big difference between being ‘thrifty’ and being a flat out cheapskate, and also that there is NOTHING ‘free’. I thought I had known that already, but apparently I needed a refresher course from the universe. Hopefully this will be the last one.

   What a humongous mistake it turned out to be to accept the ‘free’ 1994 Nissan Sentra from my friend Richard Caan. Richard is a great guy and only had the best of intentions, but his gesture of friendship turned out to be a painful kick square in my ball joints that kept kicking for months.

   On paper, it looked to be a win/win situation. He had just been paid out a healthy chunk from a fender bender his sister had that wasn’t her fault, but the car was still drivable. They had planned on donating it to charity, but Richard knew I put a lot of miles driving to gigs and thought I could benefit from a low mile Japanese car that had never given his mother a problem while she had it.

   In theory, he was correct. Nissan Sentras are supposed to be notoriously dependable and have a stellar track record from all I heard and read. For whatever reason, I got the exception to that rule and I had nothing but one incredibly painful and ridiculously expensive crisis after the next with that rolling turd for as long as I had it and it sucked both my wallet and my spirit completely dry.

   The body work before I could drive it cost $750 for a replacement hood and right fender. If that would have been it – and Richard and I both thought it was – that would have been a sweetheart deal. The car only had 105,000 miles on it, and by all estimation I could have driven it for years.

   Other than the fact the car was red and the hood and fender I had replaced were blue, it wasn’t a bad looking little roller skate. There was one hubcap missing when I got it, but I replaced it and even with the hillbilly two tone it wasn’t as bad as some of the tin cans I have owned in my life.

   Then, the gates of hell opened wide and everything went wrong. First it was the exhaust system that fell off in Springfield, IL. That cost a ridiculous $825. I still can’t believe the exhaust system for a golf cart like that costs that much, but at the Midas Muffler Shop in Springfield, IL it does.

   I didn’t think the exhaust systems of Air Force One or the Space Shuttle would cost that much, but I thought since I planned on keeping it a while I’d invest and that would be it. HA! That was just the beginning. The brakes were a bit spongy, and that cost $350. I needed a new battery and battery cables, and that cost $125. The right headlight blew out and that was $45. It didn’t stop.

   Then I had a problem with the driver’s door. It wouldn’t stay closed in the dead of winter, and for a while I had to crawl in through the passenger side and get sodomized by my own gear shift. It was $150 to fix that. Then the alternator blew on my way to a gig and that was another $250 – plus a tow.

   I don’t even want to add all that up, because it would just depress me more. I was being flat out cheap rather than thrifty, and it was a big mistake to think I’d be able to get a free car. I really do appreciate Richard’s kind offer, but if I ever get another one from anyone I’m going to run in the opposite direction as fast as I can. I have learned my lesson. NOTHING in this life is ever ‘free’.

Out with the old...

Out with the old…

...in with the next one. This is my 124th vehicle.

…in with the next one. This is my 124th vehicle.