How my cars got their names

I don’t name my computers or much of anything else, but for some reason I name my cars.

Actually, they kind of name themselves. I never understood when someone told me you can’t just give a car a name. But I do now.The first car I had that had a name was Trigger. It was a white 1992 Dodge Spirit. I was driving along one day and had to come to a stop quickly, so as I applied the brake, I said, "Whoa, Trigger!" The name stuck.

Trigger’s successor was Leonard, a 2000 Dodge Neon. Leonard’s name came from looking around too much in the parking lot. I know I’m not the only one who loses cars in parking lots.

Looking for the car reminded me of playing Redneck Rampage, whose object–er, excuse to give a plot to an FPS game whose true object is to blow up as much stuff as possible–is to find your brother Bubba. As you get close to the end of the level, you hear this hoosier saying, "’Ey Leonard! I’m over here!"

But the car didn’t look like a Bubba. It looked like a Leonard. So Leonard stuck.

My current car is a 2002 Honda Civic. Its name is Scourge. It got his name about a month after I got it. I took it in for its bi-annual St. Louis Ripoff in the Name of Armchair Environmentalism, a.k.a. the Emissions Test. It failed. Never mind the car was a year old and completely refurbished. It failed. Because of the gas cap. Never mind that a Honda Civic can tool around town without a gas cap at all and it’ll pollute less than the 9-MPG monsters I see all over the place in the southern metro area of St. Louis.

Nope, St. Louis’ pollution problems aren’t caused by people driving vehicles inspired by the Hum-vee. It can all be traced down to one gas cap, belonging to a Honda Civic.

It was obvious what the name of this lean, mean, Japanese polluting machine had to be: Scourge. You see, Scourge isn’t gray. Scourge was actually white when he came from the factory. He just looks gray because of that smog cloud that permanently surrounds him.

Scourge passed after I bought the gas cap. And when the time came for Scourge to be tested again, they just checked his papers, collected the 40 bucks, and waved him right through without a test.

Tell me this isn’t a scam.

But I guess if I hadn’t paid that initial $40, I would have never known Scourge’s name.

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