Thursday, April 8, 2010

Passing the Time

My son and I regularly watch the most awesome program on television.

It consists of guys racing their really cool cars down a drag strip. It’s called Pass Lane or Pass the Time. Pass something. Pass Over maybe. I don’t know. It’s a game show where guys bet on how fast a car will go down a drag strip.

We love the show because it is very noisy, and we haven’t a clue what they are talking about. Everyone speaks Enginese, a language I have never learned.

The panel of car nuts asks contestants things like “Do you blow nitrous?” or some other technical question. If it was me I’d answer with a burrito joke at that point, but what comes back is some kind of mechano-dialect, unknown to us auto-illiterates. “We’re burnin’ STS-112 with Holley carbohydrates and a deferential of 3.14 on the rear end.”

Something like that.

“What size pistols you got in the engine?” is the next question.

“It’s got flat-head aluminum Schindlers with torque-aligned wobble cams and a 120 offset small block nitro…”

I have no idea what they are saying but it sure sounds impressive.

After questioning, the driver goes to his car and spins his tires in a manly, smoke-producing display of pure testosterone. The panel of experts analyze the smoke, grunt, nod knowingly, then jot down their guess as to how fast the car will go down the drag strip. No Monty Hall Door Number Three intellectual distractions here.

After some more masculine banter the car noisily departs down the strip, nothing falls off the car (unlike my reality), a time is recorded, and someone wins a hundred bucks.

Like I said – it’s a great, simple, show. Simple enough for even us guys to understand.

Naturally, I rehearse what I’ll say when I make my appearance.

Big Announcer Host Guy: “With me now is David Crawford from Kelowna, BC, Canada. You’re looking slim and masculine I must say, Dave (Hey – it’s my fantasy). Tell us about your car, you big brute.”

Me: “Well, it’s a classic 1992 Toyota Camry sedan, stock, four wheels usually, engine, dipstick, sunroof, and it’s got a trunk the kids can climb into from the back seat.”

Expert #1: “How long you been racin’ that thang?”

Me: “I’ve been racing since school started, about twice a week when the kids sleep in, I figure.”

Expert #2: “Any modifications to the chassis we should know about?”

Me: “Well, the drivers door kind of sticks after that unfortunate cyclist incident. And there are some funny dents in the passenger side door from the BB gun which was not fired by me. Honest. You can’t prove anything. Apart from that it’s stock.”

Expert #3: “What kind of carbonation you got in there?”

Me: “10w-30.”

Host: “Well let’s see how Dave does in the quarter mile, panel. Enter your guesses and we’ll watch the excitement.”

A blond hottie approaches my car and pours what smells like bleach onto the tires – “For your burnout!” she says helpfully.

“I can only squeal my tires going around corners in parkades!” I shout. “Thanks anyway! Oh, and don’t tell my wife I was anywhere near bleach! It’s a long story to do with laundry!”

I put my powerful racing transmission into “D”, drive up to the line, the light turns green, and I stomp on the gas pedal in typical gas/brake Toyota confusion.

My head lurches back from the power of the g-forces. And from driving over the guy checking a leak under my engine.

The car accelerates with bum-numbing velocity until I cross the finish line, having attained a top speed usually limited to school zones. I don’t think I even registered on the radar gun. A postage meter might work better for tracking me, I think.

You know, much as I’d like to, I don’t think I’ll be racing one of those big long cars anytime soon.

There’s just not enough trunk space for the kids to play in, so it’s not practical at all.

No comments: