Where in the Bill of Rights does it say you're entitled to a car?

“Jon, the car’s smoking.”

Whadda mean, ‘The car’s smoking’?

Yep. Smoking, from the nice puddle of oil that’s leaking out of the hole in the engine block. The hole caused by the rod that was thrown. The rod that was thrown because the oil was too low. The oil that you, as the driver of the car, were supposed to check on a regular basis as your mom and I told you to do.


The next part, I am not, as Dave Barry says, making up.

“So, can you take me out in the truck so I can learn to drive stick and take the truck tonight?”

You have been driving all of two months, and in the course of that two months, you have managed to run a car so far into the ground, we are going to have to file a mining claim. And you want to know if you can take the truck? The truck from which your mother and I have squeezed nearly a quarter-million miles because, rather than spend it on a vehicle that was built after the first Bush administration, we feel obliged to pay for your basketball camp, DVD rentals, car insurance and CD players (the last of which we bought to replace the one you lost that you had borrowed from me).

“So, can I get another car?”

You go right ahead. Please, go and get another car. Let me know how that works out.

“I mean, are you going to buy another car?”

I’m buying you a new pair of shoes. I know as a 16-year-old boy you believe that it is your birthright to have a car to use at your discretion. But you have no such entitlement. You have a right to food, clothing, shelter, love and free and unfettered use of the lawnmower (a right that in my opinion you don’t take advantage of often enough.) You do not have a right to a car.

“How am I supposed to get to school and practice?”

That big yellow vehicle that drives by our house every morning will stop and pick you up, provided you are waiting at the end of the driveway at the appropriate time. And as much as your mother and I delight in interrupting our schedules to drive you one place or the other, we prefer that to picking up a gross of disposable cars at Costco.

OK. With that episode, God, I’d appreciate it if you would consider my Karmic debt for nearly totaling Mom’s car now paid in full.

I’m not sure about the Bill of Rights, but I believe one of the earlier drafts of the DoI mentioned something about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of Fahrvergnugen.”

Your 16 year old calls you by your first name?

Seems pretty clear to me.


Why does that somehow fit right into the OP?

Actually, it goes back even further, to our English kin. Remember the Magna Carta? Well, “Magna” is Latin for “Get a new” and the rest is “Car, duh”. So “Get a new car, duh!”

Make him walk. I’m sure he’ll enjoy the novelty. :slight_smile:

This was exactly my first reaction reading the OP :slight_smile:

Hell, I rode the bus throughout high school. Didn’t get my first car until I was 20 years old, and it gave up the ghost at the end of summer. I didn’t get a real vehicle of my own until I was 24 years old. In retrospect, I take better care of the car I have now because of that.

Which is itself a holdover from Hammurabi’s Code:

"If a man steal another’s camel, he is to repay that man according to his station in life. But if a man has his own camel and another man causes it to suffer, or to be of no use, that man will have the same debt.

If, however, a man forgets to put oil in his camel, his parents are under no obligation to put themselves into financial trouble to buy him a new one since he fucked up the first one"

Admittedly, some of the poetic majesty is lost in the translation.

When he’s not being sullen, he call’s me Jon, but that’s only because I’m his stepfather.

And Punha, you know of any low-mileage camels?

You ain’t entitled to a car, that’s for sure, but in modern society the phrase, “you can’t get there from here” is actually a truism for pedestrians.

It’s not a matter of distance, it’s a matter of right-of-way. There are plenty of places a person cannot safely walk. For example, foot traffic from Falls Church, VA to Tysons Corner, VA is effectively separated by the bridge over I-66. (And I know this because I walked to work every day back and forth over that bridge. Once I could have sworn a van’s side-view mirror brushed my pony tail. If you can hide an axe-handle behind your ass, you can’t negotiate the 18-inch wide footpath next to highway-speed traffic and not expect yourself to be knocked into the rushing highway traffic below.)

Homeowners are also dangerous in that some of them don’t want pedestrians walking across their manicured lawns, which puts pedestrians in the street.

And here is something you should defintitely know: pedestrians are at a greater risk walking than they are riding as a passenger in a car. As I mentioned some time ago, more pedestrians now die in Fairfax County than do the victims of drunk driving.

Moreover, you’re taking away your kid’s independence and social life at a time when some of that kid’s best and most vivid memories are being constructed. I didn’t go to prom; I didn’t go to the senior ski trip; I didn’t go to the beach one summer, all because I couldn’t pull together the logistics to hop a ride, because my parents were trying to “teach me a lesson.” That may have kept me safe, but remember this: The lesson I learned was that my parents were fucking assholes, and it took me years to unlearn that lesson.

I guess it comes down to this. If you’re gonna teach your kid discipline, don’t take away the most instructive tool you have. Your kid will do anything to get away from you right now. Your job is to make sure that kid comes back, alive and pleased to see you. A new beater might just be the trick.

I’d pretend to be offended by that if I could summon any creativity.

We have a few llamas around here, though since it’s rural-fucking-Virginia I don’t think I could give you a cite unless I drove back to the house (we’re house-sitting. Again. And they left little food), got the digital camera, then either obtained a huge fuckin’ light source or waited until morning, then took a picture, uploaded it to the…

He’s not listening anymore, is he?

What’s that? He’s walking to Saudi Arabia to get one? Says it’ll take less time?

Sofa King, you would steal my thunder…

[sub]“pretend to be offended by that” is a joke aimed at jon, not you:)[/sub]

I remember my father’s very clear statement to me:

It was not a discussion & there wasn’t even a need to use my name nor his.

I’m not taking away a damn thing. And I don’t think I’d be doing him any favors by buying him some death trap just so he can go cruising.

I’ll tell you what I told him, and with the same emphasis: “WE CAN NOT AFFORD ANOTHER CAR!”

We are putting his sister through college as well as trying to save money for his college education. Buying him a car doesn’t make me less of an asshole, it only makes me an asshole with a wallet.

He’ll survive, even if he has to find a girlfriend with a bus pass.

I wasn’t aware that the only way to get a car was by getting it handed to you on a fucking silver platter. Ever hear of working? Then maybe you could pay for that car your damn self.

It’s not unheard of you know, I did it. And I’m only 25 so no, I don’t have any “barefoot in the snow” stories to share, either.

Come on Jon don’t be a prick, buy the kid a bike. Tell him if he gets a girlfriend you will go havisies on a tandem. If that isn’t good enough, you understand that MickeyD’s is hiring.
His other choice is go get an engine from a junkyard and do a swap. On his nickel of course.

You have to oil a bike.

Man… he needs another car? Too bad he should buy it himself. I don’t have a car (partially cuz I never learned to drive) but then I’ve been living on my own. I could either have a car or a roof over my head. My 17 year old brother on the other hand has a car (his 4th) that he bought himself, and pays his insurance on himself. Yeah Dad or step-mom will spot him sometimes to make sure it gets paid on time but he damn sure pays them back.

Of course he also works full time hours while taking his last few courses to graduate grade 12, and has been working for the past 3 years to save up and pay for that initial car and insurance. He really wanted that car.

[sub]It’s his 4th but he does buy beaters on the cheap. As he works in a shop and knows a fair bit about cars he keeps them in real good running condition and sells them to get a newer car every so often. At present I think he’s driving a car almost as old as he is and I’m amazed it gets him on the highway for road trips to visit Mom or to Jasper but it does.[/sub]