It was a new year, now - our first as an online purveyor of things folkloric. It seemed not entirely inappropriate to browse through some of our older columns to reprint some of the choicer ones online - we were in the process of acquiring a new audience of readers, after all, and as of January '98 the idea of eventually putting all our older columns online in an Archive had not occurred to any of us.

The L.A. Auto Show was hitting town in January, so I returned to our January - March '92 newsletter to retrieve the following piece.

Some Automotive Urban Legends


As this newsletter goes to print (figuratively or literally, depending on if you picked this up at the bookstore or are reading this online) the annual L.A. Auto Show has hit town. While ruminating over such space-age innovations as the return of the VW Beetle and the introduction of cars made entirely of plastic parts, I was reminded of something that appeared in these hallowed pages way back in January '92 . . . In said spirit I do hereby submit a few car-related anecdotes, and if any of them sound familiar, I'll bet they happened to the cousin of a friend of yours!

A man sideswiped a parked car, in front of many witnesses. The owner not being found, the driver got out and wrote a note, leaving it on the windshield of the damaged vehicle. When the owner eventually returned, he discovered his injured auto and the note, which read: "The people watching me think I am leaving my name and address. But I'm not."

Then there was the security-minded, somewhat overly fearful car owner who devised a foolproof way to guard his parked car. He sunk thick steel staples into the concrete floor of his garage, ran heavy chains through the steel and all around the car's frame, and secured the resulting morass of metal with several locks. He then covered it with a tarp. A week later, he unlocked his garage and removed the tarp to take his precious vehicle for a ride. Underneath the wiper blade, he found a note. It read: "If we want this car, we'll take it."

The car had been turned around.

Lastly, who can forget the kid who got a new Camaro for his sixteenth birthday, and that same day got into a drag race, in the middle of which, while speeding down the road, he cleverly threw the transmission into "R" for "Race" . . .