Author Topic: The Tree (Save your kids)  (Read 1416 times)

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Offline OkieJohn

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The Tree (Save your kids)
« on: February 06, 2008, 11:02:13 PM »
Young ones are always asking what first car should I buy. Here is my answer.

In a small town in  Oklahoma, there is a large oak tree. This tree is huge. It has been estimated to be more than 400 years old. A tree this size shape and magnitude is a very rare thing in Oklahoma. It is almost 15 feet in diameter at its base, and almost 130 feet tall. The people, who live here, love this tree. It had been used, in the past, to administrator justice to several outlaws from its large burly branches.

As the town grew, Main Street, was extended until it reached the “Hanging tree.” This left the towns people with a quandary about what to do with this beautiful tree which they loved so much. The decision was made to just move the street over and go around this wonderful giant. This, left the tree, right in the middle of Main Street, but no problem the speed limit on Main is only 25mph anyway.

A friend of mine named Fred, was the mayor of this small town. He was also the town Dentist. Fred and I and other members of the city counsel spent long hours together, designing improvements to the city’s water treatment plant, and applying for money from the EPA to get the job funded.

Fred had a 16-year old son, named Daniel, which he was extremely proud of. And why not? The kid was a 4.0 student, captain and quarterback of the football team, a member of the high school debating team, and involved in several charities around town. He was a remarkable young man.

On Dan’s 16th birthday, Fred took his son to the local Ford dealer and bought him his dream car. It was a Mustang. Now this was not just any Mustang. This car had to be special ordered from Dallas. It took three days for delivery. Three days later, Fred and Dan go back to the dealer to get the car and there it set. A brand new 2003 Cobra Terminator, with it’s Eaton blower and six speed tranny, all shinny and new glistening in the sun.

Now Dan loved that car. He washed and polished and shined on that car every day. One of the first things he did was head off to the local muffler shop and installed a couple of cherry bombs, so people could hear him coming. His first three months with the car, got him several tickets from the local police, but daddy fixed that, I mean he is the mayor.

It was the night of the big home coming game. Dan and his girlfriend Susan were crowned Home Coming King and Queen. The team won the ball game. Everything was right in the world. Dan and Susan, decided to do a little cruising in town with two other members of the team, Hooky and Jo-Jo.

Now Main Street in town is about 3 miles long. There is a Sonic on one end, a Burger King on the other, and a Taco-bell located in between. Cruising consists of driving thru the parking lots, over and over and shouting and screaming at the friends you see. Hasn’t changed since I did it in the fifties.

The following comes from Susan, “We had been driving around, just having a good time, and all night long, Hooky and Jo-Jo had been teasing Dan about how he was a ***** because he didn’t go fast in his great car. We were setting at the red light when Jo-Jo said, “We going to tell everyone at school that you got a bald ass and you suck dicks if you don’t floor it.”

When that light turned green, Dan made a decision that would cost him dearly. He floored that little Stang. Those Cherry Bombs exploded, the wheels distorted and broke loose, belching smoke and fire. That blower kicked in and that little horse flared its nostrils as it bucked and strained and tried to lift its front hoofs off the ground. It was 10:30 at night, and the sound of that launch woke people up three blocks away. That little Mustang did just what it was designed to do. It took off down that street, screaming and belching fire, paying no attention to the four people who rode on its back.

For some reason Dan never backed off. He left 41 feet of rubber when he hit second gear and another small patch when he shifted to third. Maybe the teasing he had received that night just made him lose it. Maybe, it was the six beers they had shared that evening.

One mile away was the Sonic. Across the street waiting in the darkness was the “Hanging Tree.” There were nine cars at Sonic that night. Everyone heard the takeoff of that little Mustang. Everyone knew who it was. People were scrambling from their cars to see what Dan was doing. That’s when the bomb went off. At least that’s what the witness’s stated to the police. “It sounded just like a bomb.”

The state accident report stated the car hit the tree at 105mph. Susan went through the windshield so fast, she was 65 feet away before her air bag went off. Dan’s head went through the windshield and when his air bag exploded it severed his neck. His body then flew from the car and he landed against the tree about six feet above the ground. The car flipped as its nose dug in and its roof caught Dan against the tree, breaking every bone in his torso. The force of impact ripped the car down the middle splitting it into two halves. It took a lot of DNA testing to identify Hooky and Jo-Jo’s parts so they could be buried. Three tow trucks spent 14 hours collecting pieces of that Mustang. Several of their friends in the Sonic parking lot were treated for shock at the scene.

Susan was the only one spared that night. No longer the beautiful Home Coming Queen, her face was disfigured by the windshield. She suffered two broken legs, a broken hip, the loss of one arm. She landed in an Azalea bush which saved her life. Her life will never be the same. She limps now, and she claims every step reminds her of Dan and the fun times they had.

There were people in town who wanted to cut down that giant oak tree. People always want to place blame or punish someone or something when something bad happens. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed. The tree is still there, but it is no longer alone. There are three new shinny white crosses to keep it company now, along with some bright new lights, that show that tree in all it’s glory at night.

I went to the funeral and watched a distraught father bury his son. That’s what friends do. I have had to do this to many times for to many friends. Always for the same reason, too much car for an inexperienced kid.

Fred and his wife have retired from public life now. They spend all their time alone, at home, wallowing in sorrow at the loss of their only son. Fred blames himself for buying the car that killed his boy.

Many of you come here asking what kind of car should I buy. Well here is my answer

Buy the cheapest piece of crap you can afford. You don’t know how to drive, face it. I know it, your parents know it, insurance companies know it, and the AAA knows it. I don’t care how well you did in Drivers Ed. You let you emotions control your lives, and your driving. Until you have driven on the road for a couple of years then you don’t know how to drive. You are going to hit things. You will run over things. You will make bad decisions every time you get behind the wheel. Why buy your dream car and worry about it ever mile, or have to look for a special parking place so it won’t get scratched? You have plenty of time. Don’t be a Dan and put yourself in the position of having to prove something to someone.

An old car can be fun. You can have a picnic and get all your friends to help paint it the school colors. Then everyone will know you. You will be known as the dude with the cool school car. People will know you from blocks away. You can have fun with it. It will be cheap and the insurance will cost less. That way, you will have money for other things, instead of making those big car payments every month. What good is a car, if you can’t buy gas for it. Use your first car for what it is, transportation, a learning step, and opportunity to learn and develop your skills as a great driver. When you bang your first car up a little, and chances are good that you will, it will be something to laugh about instead of cry over. Driving a really nice piece of crap can make you a hero in school. You can stand on the roof of a nice piece of crap, and watch that ball game. You can drive a nice piece of crap through the woods and not worry about scratches. You don’t have to worry about washing and waxing a piece of crap, cause no one can tell anyway. Look at all the time you can have to party, while enjoying your great vintage piece of crap. Yes, a fine piece of majestic crap is the only way to fly.

Don’t even think about fixing this piece of crap up. Except for maybe some sounds of course. But you can use that new sound system in your new car. Forget about all those fancy wheels, and body kits and stuff like that. Remember this is just a learning tool. There’s no love involved here, just transportation and a learning experience, while you body adjusts to all those gas fumes. Besides, you’re saving your money for that super bomb you’re going to buy when you turn 18.

I raised four kids, a son and three daughters. My son destroyed three cars before he turned 17. He rolled his pickup three times, with his sister in the truck. A 16 and 17-year old in the vehicle and both trying to change the cd, and neither one of them smart enough to watch where the truck was going. One of my daughters (16), trashed her mothers’ car, when she hit a car while she was doing 40 mph in a Sonic parking lot. How in the hell -- can you go 40 MPH --in a Sonic parking lot-- in a frigging Sunbird? That Sunbird wouldn’t go 40mph downhill with a load of bricks in the trunk. A third daughter (19) bought a two-year old BMW. She ran it out of oil, and just left it beside the road somewhere and finally told me – 6 weeks later. “WELL Daddy, I couldn’t figure out why it was smoking so bad, and then it made this really loud noise I had never heard before.” Of course the car was gone when I went to look for it. All of my kids were 4.0 students, until they got behind the wheel, then their little minds turned to mush. My kids turned out great though. Their driving skills were the only disappointment they ever caused me.

Your first two years of driving should be fun. It will teach you how to drive and how to take care of your vehicle. If you buy an expensive car, those lessons will cost a bundle. You first car, should be just a tool, not a love affair. Remember when you were 14 and you thought “Gee if I had a car I could go to . . . ” Now your 16 and you want a car that can do 200mph. Do you see something wrong with that thinking? A fast car will just allow you to make mistakes a lot quicker. And at your young age, in spite of your wonderful lighting fast reflexes, you guys think really-- really-- slow, when you’re behind a wheel. Probably has something to do with gasoline fumes or something like that.

Having that fine car in the driveway is a b****, when you don’t have the money to go to that great concert with your friends. Check out all those kids who stay at home on weekends, or work all the time, because they own nice cars. Save your money for later, buy a fun piece of crap. You can get one for $500 to a $1000. If it breaks down, fix it, and you will learn something. Even if you spend $400 to $500 to fix it, you will still be better off then that guy with the $400 a month payment. When you turn 18 or 19, you can then sell it for what you paid for it. You just drove it for free. You have lots of friends to help you get around right now, and you have plenty of time. Buy a cheap crappy, safe, first car, and maybe, just maybe, your mom and dad won’t go through a tragedy like Fred and his wife.

Peer pressure really sucks.

Mom and Dads, please pay attention.

Offline franksolich

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Re: The Tree (Save your kids)
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2008, 07:58:03 AM »
I totally agree, John, and in fact I wonder at times if there shouldn't be some sort of law saying that those under the age of 18 years can't drive anything less than an old junk heap.

I think that's why I pay the lowest automotive insurance rates of everybody I know, why I've never had a ticket despite my driving to the moon and back a few times (in lifetime mileage), all accidents were caused by the other guy, and I've been able to drive under conditions--and in a lesser vehicle--that put cold fear and terror in the hearts of cops, truck-drivers, ambulance drivers, fire-truck drivers, ATV drivers, and all those with these "all weather" vehicles.

Even that 1973 Gremlin I complained about yesterday; it went wherever I steered it to go, while everybody else was mired in car-floor-height snow or banging into trees because of the ice.  I once had an old Chevette that conquered obstacles that bettered big 4-wheel-drives and big trucks.

I've done that because I first learned to drive on something with no windshield, no brakes, no shock absorbers, a piece of plywood covering the springs of the seat, no seat-belts, and on the terrain of the Sandhills, which was quite different than on a smooth roadway.

Some years ago (the "story" was in all the newspapers of the time, and no need to repeat it here), I had a kid from Russia living with me in Lincoln, who was seeking asylum in the United States (because of his ethnic origins and Judaism).  At one point, I decided it would be a good idea for him to learn how to drive.

I had a manual clutch in my vehicle, and not the patience to deal with teaching someone how to use it.

So I borrowed a vehicle of a friend for a couple of weeks, a Mercedes-Benz with an automatic transmission (I used to take care of houses for wealthy people when they were gone for long times, and knew a lot of people with great vehicles).

We weren't in the vehicle more than five minutes, before I figured that was a mistake.

The vehicle ran smoothly, too smoothly, and of course was well kept-up and well maintained, and this was on the nice smooth streets of Lincoln.  With all these shock-absorbers, noise-killers, safety devices, and good brakes, the kid was getting no idea of what conditions were really like, on the road.

He did okay, though; there were only a few minor, near inconsequential, heart-murmurs.

That is, until about the fourth time, when I finally instructed him to drive outside of the city, out into the country.

Without thinking, at one point I instructed him to "turn left," onto a gravel road.

He had been going 55 mph; he hit that gravel road at 55 mph.


The vehicle spun around three times, but fortunately this being in Nebraska, there was no other traffic, and the road was very wide.

Well, as I said, he did okay and all that, but in the following years, he's had two traffic tickets and one moderate accident.....none of which would have occurred if he had learned to drive using a junk-heap instead of a state-of-the-art luxury vehicle.

apres moi, la deluge
Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you
Life is short, and suddenly you're not there any more

Offline Splashdown

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Re: The Tree (Save your kids)
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2008, 09:22:45 AM »
Great post. I'm saving that one!
Let nothing trouble you,
Let nothing frighten you. 
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience attains all that it strives for.
He who has God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.
--St. Theresa of Avila

"No crushed ice; no peas." -- Undies