June 26, 2005


Yes, Okay, I DO Name All My Cars. STOP WITH THE MOCKING E-MAILS ALREADY. I get enough of that from SCOTT.

My family has ALWAYS named its cars. We had Guacamole Gus the Bus (bilious green VW van) and Didey (filthy white sedan) and Merry Miracle (the car that would not die). It was a big thing---the ritual naming of the new car, made even more special because it was a rare event. Jacksons are genetically programmed to drive cars until they start shedding huge chunks of themselves out of pure ancientness, and we don't admit we need a new one until we find ourselves trotting down the highway clutching a disembodied steering wheel with a scrap of sweaty vinyl seat back clinging to our thighs.

My very first car was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit -- a VW rabbit, natch. Because, see, you may not have known this, but WALT DISNEY before he came up with MICKEY MOUSE created a rabbit who looked really a lot like Mickey except with longer ears. I did not make this up. My Oswald was NOT lucky and in fact overheated violently if you stopped him while he was running. Even for a minute. Oswald could overheat at a long red light.

I didn't have a car in grad school, but when I married Scott I got a half interest in a sadly unnamed and unloved station wagon who kept running because it knew no one would care much if it died. Scott was fresh out of grad school and making an entry level salary, I was still IN grad school and making some money baby-sitting to buy little luxuries like toothpaste and Top Ramen (can't have one without the other, really) so we shared the car. We reached a financial nexus when Scott was promoted; suddenly we could afford to become a two car family. OH FRABJOUS DAY. I selected a new aquamarine Saturn (new to ME, anyway) and I spent DAYS ferreting out the perfect name for him, which, I think Scott had SUSPECTED he had married a complete whack job before, but it was smart to go ahead and confirm it for him before we had kids and he was truly stuck.

Finally, it came to me. He was FAUX FRAUNCH. See, because he was sexy enough to be French, but he was made in TENNESSEE, which made him FAUX French, pronounced as FRAUNCH by my friend Yvonne's Alabama aunt who told us, very earnestly, when Yvonne and I were 15, that if we ever 'went out with some rowdy-type boys, who were taking to drinking and what-all, and we didn't want to drink and all, being that we was the nice girls we was, we could simply order us a Perry-er water, because that was real sophisticated, and wouldn't nobody look down on us for not having beer if we was having Perry-er water.' Then she leaned in all confidential-like and said, "That Perry-er water is FRAUNCH, you know!"

I drove him until he fell into chunks, at which point my mom got a caddy (woo) and gifted me with her old car, which was only just beginning to molt. It was a huge Huge HUGE Buick that my mother had named Lovely Pearl or something else girly. My mother's cars always have romantical names. I gave the Buick a sex change (all my cars are boys) are renamed the new him "Boating for Beginners" after an early Jeanette Winterson novel. I called him Boating for short.

Our currant cars are a a Honda named Clovis Sangrail (Clovis is a recurring character in Saki's work, and the Honda is CLOVER green, so), and of course my Kia, Vincent Van-Go, he of the retractable ear. OH WAIT I forgot, Scott gave the Honda to my brother and dad gave Scott his SUV which is named, imaginatively, Suvie. My father DOES name his cars, but being my father (pragmatic to the point of mental illness) they have very FUNCTIONAL sorts of names. He now drives a HUGE Toyota truck, and it is named B-BOT---Bob's Big Ol' Truck. Scott's car shall remain Suvie because Scott says he LOVES "Suvie", which is Scott-code for "I don't want to spend three weeks discussing the cars imaginary personality in order to organically discover its inner name."

When the Kia dies I want an Orange Saturn Vue. By the time I drive the Kia into the ground, they will be making Vues in orange again. Betcha. HE WILL HAVE ONSTAR!!!!!!! I shall call him Pompeii and love him forever and ever, or until his engine melts into a single smoking lump and his doors fall off.

Posted by joshilyn at June 26, 2005 7:29 PM

I wanted my current car to be named Silver (as in HI HO and AWAY!) but my daughter insisted the car is female. So she is Sylvia. But oh how I miss Dino the Broncosaurus (from my youth) and all the other aptly named vehicles.

I mean, sure, you're mentally ill in LOTS of ways... but the car thing is just good common sense. ;)

Posted by: Mir at June 26, 2005 7:58 PM

My last car was an ancient ford escort wagon in that funny pinky-gold color - her name was Pearl. I didn't actually know her name was Pearl until we were trying to climb an extremely Steep Hill, while vastly overloaded with a lot of very heavy junk, and I found myself encouraging her: 'Come on, Pearl, you can do it! Come on, Pearl!'
My current car is a dark red (the dealer called it maroon, but I insist it's dark red, because maroon is really a shade of purple, and besides, that's what Bugs Bunny called Elmer: "What a maroon...") Mercury Tracer whose name is Ruby Jones. My husband had resigned himself to the fact that I will name my cars, but he thinks I've truly crossed the line in giving the car a LAST name...

Posted by: Gayle at June 26, 2005 8:30 PM

There are people who don't name their cars? We currently have Veronica Silverheels, my Taurus, and Little Red Wagon, our red Subaru Forester. Before that came Jethro the SUV, Sprocket the tiny blue Mitsubishi, and Norman Greenbaum, Auntie's jetliner-sized Oldsmobile. We also name our trees....I think perhaps we are bigger whackjobs than you. By the way, driving cars until they either run themselves off cliffs or spontaneously combust is a sign of Anglican thriftiness. "The cheapest car is the one you have" was my father's mantra, and toward the end of his life he added up all his cars and expenses, and he got away CHEAP. Great justification when your children start complaining that your car is embarrassing. HA THE FUCKING HA!

Posted by: Jilly at June 26, 2005 8:38 PM

Okay, you know my secret shame. My new Honda Civic Hybrid (mid-life crisis mobile) is Baby Beluga (yes, he's white).

I love Vincent Van-Go. I used to have an one-eared dog named Vincent. Calloo, callay.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at June 26, 2005 9:13 PM

We name our cars, too! My husband has a black Jeep Wrangler named Scrat after the squirrel/rat combination character from the movie Ice Age, and my yellow Jeep Wrangler is named Sunnee, because she's sunny-yellow. I bought a license frame that makes her say:
It's Always
In My Jeep


Posted by: Shannon at June 26, 2005 10:02 PM

We got our minivan the first year that I fell in love with hockey, so I call her Puck Bunny LOL.

And yes, I think that people who don't name their cars are in need of serious therapy ;)

Posted by: Angel at June 27, 2005 1:47 AM

There are folks what don't name their cars?? We have White Lightning, and Cozy Car, and the Hulk.

Posted by: lizardek at June 27, 2005 3:43 AM

You mean everybody doesn't name their cars?
We have always named our cars, starting with the brown cavalier that i named Christine ( she would never run properly for me, just for my Hubby) and as of this weekend we now have GEESEE ( pronounced G-C)
She is a grey corrsica, and IS the little grey cloud that foloows my husband every where!

Posted by: kim at June 27, 2005 8:56 AM

Sorry for the typos, my finger hit the post button before i was ready......( shakes head in shame)

Posted by: kim at June 27, 2005 8:57 AM

I'm one up on you. I once named my dishwasher. Marvin. Long story.

Anyway, best of luck with the OnStar!

Posted by: Lani at June 27, 2005 11:52 AM

Oh for shame on me. I've named my cars since just after the earth cooled. I inherited this gene from my mom. Her vehicles are all male.

Her's all have names like Brute, Beast and for years have had her leaving notes to my father on the bathroom mirror..."Whity, the damn Beast won't start for me this morning." (damn is the height of my mother's cussing abilities) To which my father would scrall his postscript "It did for me." This of course would start the three days of silence in our household - because my dad would take Beast (a 1960's something Econoline fishing as a treat for giving my mom hell.)

I've got more imagination than that. My names take time to cultivate, time to devine it's true inner bearing. Where as my hubby seems to name his the same thing everytime. At first I thought he was just cussing, but then realised it has to be a name because the string of words are always said to his little blue Aspire in the exact same order of execution. No really, execution, I think he is trying to kill it, because my mom told me if I said any of those words the Lord would strike me down. But Ducky and the #@!! are still alive and well, so mom must have been mistaken and it's really a name.

Oh my Blue Ford Ranger stepside pick up - ZuZu. It's an awesome colour of blue - and it just goes and goes and goes.

Posted by: Cele at June 27, 2005 12:06 PM

We have something of a history of naming vehicles. Our first mini-van was "Vanna"...original, eh? We never could decide on a name for our patriot blue Jeep, so it's nameless. My first car was a titilating shade of raspberry, so it was named "Pinky." Finally, my current silver Honda is affectionately referred to as "Silvia". Nerds of the world, unite!

Posted by: Andi at June 27, 2005 4:24 PM

I'm going to go stand in the "pragmatic to the point of mental illness" corner with your father.

Posted by: laura at June 27, 2005 4:41 PM

Alas, I am not so much a vehicle namer. The exception to this is Spot, my camo-painted LandCruiser FJ40. And even that obvious but appropriate naming was at the insistence of a friend who does indeed name all his vehicles. The most memorable of these was the Road-walkin' Warrior. White-knuckle rides through those concrete barrier-sided construction zones were no extra charge in the much abused Ford 3/4ton pickup, whose name was inspired by the obscene amount of uncorrectible slop in the steering box.

Posted by: David at June 28, 2005 12:30 AM

My minivan is named Cleopatra, cause I am Queen of De Nile. Aren't I SOOOO creative? *sighs*

I feel like you today... loving and hating airline people.

Posted by: Heather at June 28, 2005 1:43 AM

When I was a kid we had a green Chevy Imapala the size of a hamlet named Rigor Mortis- for years my dad drove it with a chunck out the back fender. We also had a 76 sky blue LTD station wagon called the Hauler. My first car was The Grandpa because it was a large, yellow, American sedan that my brother later renamed the Lepar since the paint would fly off as you drove down the road. Since then I have had the Bonnie and Monty. We had The Beast (a 67 Camero), but my husband changes cars like shirts, so I've given up naming his.
It is not an affliction, it is a trait:) !

Posted by: Chris at July 1, 2005 9:11 AM