Magic Paint

By James Finn

zoom.jpgI can't tell the difference between one car over another.

Everyone is driving around in a repulsively overweight SUV (present company included) or some sort of gray smallish car. How the hell am I supposed to know who you are? Get a God damn "I Heart Nixon" bumper sticker that'll allow me to recognize which idiot you are.

There is one car that I'll never forget. My Mother's orange Volkswagen Squareback. At the time, that orange automobile = Mom. As far as I was concerned, it was quintessential Mom, one of a kind. When I saw it parked around town, I knew she wasn't far away.

Recently I came across a VW Squareback, an orange one. It was parked on a side street in Brooklyn.

Who lives here and what the hell are they doing with my Mother's car?

I was tempted to knock on the front door to the house, but I thought it was better to enjoy it from afar. A flood of memories came back to me.

One day, Mom asked me to paint her car. PAINT-HER-CAR. Holy cow! That sounded...important. At the time, I don't think my age hit the double digits yet. I felt privileged about the thought, and exhausted at the same time.

Little did I know that it was magic paint. Mom put food coloring and water in a big bucket, and handed it to me with a brush. So off I went to re-paint the car, in good spirits the whole time. Of course, what ever color I painted it, it always stayed the same carroty colored vehicle.


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I would paint it white, trick it out with some sirens, and drive around town chasing and capturing ghosts.

I have found that if you "huff" paint.... Magic things happen!!!!!

Well....NSS (teenage text message for "No Shit Sherlock".....)

If you experiment with paint (and by experiment I mean place into a small paper bag and inhale the contents forcefully as if the cure to any and all disease was somehow inside said paper bag) then often you can see, hear, and smell the various ghosts that linger and taunt your small Volkswagon...thereby giving you the motivation to stalk, hunt, and capture said ghosts. At least until the city commisioner makes you shut down your Ecto-containment-system grid and then Zuul runs wild all over the place.

I believe, Dr. Satan, my kind neighbor, that such an article was just published in "DUH" Magazine just last month.

Anybody else on this website even on the same wavelength anymore???? Or are me and Dr. Satan the only assholes left who still know the joy of a good rubber cement buzz?????

This is my favorite of yours yet, James. Maybe it's because the car is orange (my favorite color since I can remember), but I think it has more to do with the tone of the entire piece and the concision.

On a side note, there's a similar Volkswagen, a patchwork of orange, turquoise, rust, and graffiti parked about a mile away from the new house my wife and I just moved into. I've been meaning to snap a shot of it and post it here since I spotted it a few weeks back. It's remained stationary for a while and it was still there as of this morning, so it may be appearing here shortly.

Chris, that's just silly. Everyone knows there's no ghosts OR rubber cement in California.

Wow, thank you Chris. Was not expecting that.

No one expects ghosts, Ecto-plasm, or paint fumes to overtake things like they do, James.

It just happens sometimes.

Great photo.

Orange is the best color for cars - I used to have an orange 1970's BMW,
and Chris used to have an orange Chevy Blazer. Wild times!

No, Jack, I'm sorry.

There were NO "wild times" in that orange Blazer... Unless by "wild" you mean endless hours of penthouse forum, Lubriderm, kleenex, and an overactive imagination.

We used to drive around for hours in that shaggin wagon getting rejected by the ladies...

The Kleenex was to soak up my tears, lest any of you perverts get the wrong idea.

And the lubriderm was to keep my hands soft (for the ladies) *Steinbeck reference

Well, I'm at dr satans house right now, so we're off to the hop...and, if time permits,

If time permits...wall-e.

Great piece, very thoughtful. I think we should maybe have us some "Squareback Days" on this site -- a mini festival of art and literature devoted to this particular variant of the VW 1600... You might think the L.A. contingent might have an easier time of it, but there really don't seem to be very many of these cars left on the street here.

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This page contains a single entry by James Finn published on January 28, 2009 4:21 PM.

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