My first car was a 1969 Orange Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. It was wonderful! Well, to a 16 year-old boy it was wonderful. Truth is, the floorboard had so many holes rusted in it that I could see the road I was travelling on. The heat was non-existent, the windows often came off track (and sometimes fell out), and I could hear a mocking laugh from the windshield wipers when I turned them on. But I loved it. I first saw it as I pedaled past a used car lot in my hometown in Kentucky. Every town has that cheesy lot – with all the ropes of ugly plastic flags hanging from pole to pole and a small building housing a used-car salesman who looked and dresses exactly like Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati. When it came time to buy, my father took me to the lot to confront Herb with the admonition to let him do the talking. Yeah, sure Dad, I’ll be quiet. That guy saw me coming. Maybe he’d seen me ride my back past him, lusting after the orange beauty. Anyway, he wouldn’t budge off the asking price of $900, so my father staged the fake walk-out – a negotiating tactic he should have warned his naive son about. Of course, being an idiot, my immediate response was to yell, “But I want that car!” I don’t think I grabbed onto his leg and rode him while he stormed away, but I might as well have. Guess what we paid for the car…$900.
It lasted 9 months. $100 per month, which was a lot of money to a kid in the mid-80’s. I had just picked up my friend Will on a Friday night when it breathed its last. Like its inconspicuous color, it died in grand style. The engine threw a rod and caught on fire. My response to the flames was to yell, “Save the speakers!!!!” I had just bought them for a considerable sum and installed them myself. So with the back of the car on fire and a crowd gathering, two 16 year-old morons dove into the miniscule back seat to rescue the speakers. I honestly don’t know if we saved them, but I do remember trading the piece of junk in on a white Oldsmobile that my classmates dubbed “The Egg.” Quite a step down from my orange glory.
I tell that story for one reason – my laptop died a few weeks ago and I wanted to offer a piece of advice to would-be writers like myself. My advice is to buy several external hard drives and flash drives and save everything often OUTSIDE of your laptop. If you are savvier than me, use a cloud. Save often. Daily. You never know when something you love is going to die.
I got everything off of it except for a couple of my most recent edits and ideas. Of course, the lost files were literary genius, I’m sure – the most witty and superb crafting of verbiage ever formed in the English language. Whatever they were, they were destined to be my breakthrough pieces. And now they are lost.
I’m very happy with my shiny, new, green laptop, named Shrek by my kids. A far better name than my second automobile.
Save, Save, Save… Don’t trust one drive, save and oversave. Save early and often.
Oh, and don’t go back into a burning car for speakers. That’s a bad plan.