By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note: There was never any doubt about which music I’d recommend for this article… it was “Little GTO“. It was first recorded by Ronny and the Daytonas in 1964; later it went cosmic with the rendition by the Beach Boys. Right from the first line — “Little GTO, you’re really lookin’ fine…” this tune moves. You’ll find it in any search engine. Watch out… when you play it you’re 18 all over again…
This is a story that every boy who was not cool in high school can relate to. It’s a story about that day you were down at the beach (if you were in Beach Boys territory it had to be Zuma). You had gone with your best bud Herbie, but he was the president of the Chess Club. You couldn’t say a word to him; all he knew was Harvey Mudd. He’d never understand… there was no point in telling him…
Then, there it was… first for just the shortest instant as it made the turn towards the beach… … you knew exactly where it was.
Then, the sun in your eyes, a burst of color — it was ice-cold metallic blue… something cool against the heat of the day…
Then the first glance, that mobile palace of an insouciant prince of the road… his eyes dead ahead. You knew he wasn’t looking at you… but he knew you…. and every other person on that oiled body packed beach — were looking at him…
… and at the girl lucky enough to have the privilege in being his prop du jour. She had been carefully chosen by the driver… right down to the way her lightly frosted hair blew in the wind (no detail too small)… but only the clueless missed the point: the focus was not the girl… but the girl in the car…
“… let ’em know… that I’m the coolest thing around”.
And so it was….. as you ate your heart out… knowing you ached… for the car, the girl… and the profound satisfaction of being a prince in command of a certified muscle car. No wonder you barked at Herbie and told him to shut up already about Harvey Mudd, when everybody knew he couldn’t do any better than Santa Monica Junior College. He looked hurt… maybe you’d make it up to him later…
Blu Sera 385 Spiders.
Every American boy cherished his own particular image of triumph and in every story there was a car… the car… the vehicle he not only wanted, but dreamed about, obsessive, in the places in the night only he could know.
For the subject of this article, let’s call him “Alt”, that object of acute, obsessive desire was the Ferrari 348 “Blu Sera” (Metallic Evening Blue) Spider, made only in 1994 and 1995. Alt discovered through assiduous research that the other Spider colors, red, yellow, black, and white were common, hence instantly dismissed as inferior and infra dig.
Alt also discovered that the rarest interiors were grey (always spelled the English way, never “gray”). Like I said, NO detail was too small. We’re talking about The Dream and no one dreams of acquiring anything but perfection.
In due course Alt graduated from high school and put childish things behind him; only the “Blu Sera” wasn’t a childish thing… it was a part of him, something that tugged at his heart and wouldn’t go away. Godlike though it was, it might have been sent by the Devil, so insistent was the thought reiterated over and over in his brain. He wanted it. He had to have it. He couldn’t live without it. It was just as simply complicated as that.
Oscar Wilde, who understood the nuances and depths of desire, would have told him, “The only way to overcome temptation is to yield to it.”
Enter The Wife…
As every boy learns as he grows into a man with a boy’s desires… girls, even the wife who adores you… don’t get the “car thing”. A car, for them, is nothing more than a gas-guzzling necessity designed for moving screaming kids from Point A to Point B. If there’s an attractive gray interior (the English spelling means nothing to them), that’s terrific, but what matter? They know the kids will be autographing it with their spills and sticky hands. No, few women (maybe none) understand that a man makes eternal vows to only one thing: his dream car… adored in “sickness and in health”, committed till “death do you part.”
Alt had a dream. Alt had a wife. Alt had a problem.
There was no problem, of course, until his Dream became reality. And because of the rarity of this car, every arcane detail enhancing its desirability and decreasing its likelihood, there was no problem… except the problem of a man thwarted by what he could not possess. And this he could live with, just.
Then came the day, on Ebay, when the dream became reality, not something of paint and metal but a partner of power and sensuality. It was intoxicating… it was within your grasp… it was a lot of money. But there was no problem — yet. First, he had to be sure that this car, seemingly so perfect, right down to its grey interior, was The Car, His Car. He dogged the Ebay site, sick at the thought his baby would get away, but like all lovers he wanted what he wanted on his terms and his terms only. He watched, biding his time… and waiting. The car, his car, remained unsold, available, closer to his grasp.
First visit to his beloved.
Alt arranged to visit what looked to be, what quite possibly might be, the car of his dreams. He didn’t tell his wife he was going; why upset her until he knew this one was The One. He rationalized that this was better so, for her own good.
And so he went, dressing up as if for a first date to someone he had long desired.
A wealthy collector owned the car, by great good fortune so close to Alt, he could easily drive there without arousing comment. He went (perhaps too quick for strategy)… and the car, deftly arrayed to best advantage, met him. It was there… in ice-cold blue… waiting for him, just as he’d always imagined.
The owner, who had no doubt his own experience with temptations and obsessions, wisely stayed out of sight… until he saw Alt run a caressing hand over the metal morphed by a master into enticing flesh. The collector knew… Alt knew… it was a done deal… but there were the niceties to go through and the thrill of acquisition to mask. The value of the object demanded complete compliance to the code. And so it went…
Now Alt remembered The Wife and made this bow in her direction. “I have to clear it with the old ball and chain,” he said, feeling stupid, belittled, diminished at saying so. But the man who held the keys to Alt’s desire casually said “you should have brought her; we could have settled it now.”
But Alt couldn’t explain (though the collector knew) that bringing her was impossible, like bringing her to the boudoir of a more favored lover. Impossible.
But the acid in the response, the condescension, aroused Alt… and so they went toe to toe, the discarding lover, the acquiring lover, to arrange the terms of transfer, soon acceptable to both. It had been done by gentlemen, now friends.
There was now only one obstacle left, the biggest, the wife. He mulled over his options… arranging with the seller to make delivery in three days. Alt needed some time…
And on the third day, Alt arranged with the cooperative seller to meet him a block away from his house, there to take possession; the seller to exit in a car driven by his son.
Now, not as suitor testing a vehicle, but as owner of what he always wanted, Alt got behind the wheel and drove to his home…. there to surprise the old ball and chain.
He didn’t need to be told her Irish was up. He knew. She was about to say Something Disagreeable… but Alt knew his business.
He ushered her into the front seat (no prop du jour) and told her,as if in a Confessional, about his dream, that he could put the girl of his dreams in the car of his dreams. It was schmaltz… overdone… but there was something in his eyes that made the girl melt.
And there was something in his hand, serious bling in a magnificent box, to seal the deal.
“C’mon and turn it on, wind it up, blow it out, GTO.”
About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Dr. Lant is also the author of 18 best-selling business books.
Republished with author’s permission by Graham Lee – The Income Zone
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