First, I should give a full disclosure: I really have no idea what “normal” is, and honestly, I couldn't be happier about that. What the rest of the world does is frankly none of my business. If the normies want to spend a Sunday watching football, slapping their “broskis” a metric shit-ton of high fives and spilling Bud Light onto the floor of their “man cave” (insert rolling eyes) like a bunch of chimpanzees, more power to them. Just because I can't relate doesn't make it wrong, it's just different. And the reality is, I am the abnormal one, not the Chads and Kyles of this world. It's their world really, I just live here and attempt to navigate it.
If you're here, reading these words right now, you are probably in the same boat. You too are likely afflicted with the same sickness as me. You too are most likely.. a hot rodder. And as such, you may have noticed the fact that you're a little different than most of the people you encounter on a daily basis. Your coworkers, the guy behind you at Home Depot, other dads at your kid's tee-ball practice, the mailman, the guy next to you at the traffic light on your way to work, the newscasters on your TV at night, the guy that picks up your garbage every Monday morning, the cop that pulled you over a month ago. Hell, probably even your own family... What's different? The difference is that none of them give a single squirt of piss about the one thing you obsess over. Not in the least. It may seem crazy to you (it does to me) but the truth of the matter is that the general public gives not one shit about our old, outdated hot rods. Even within the small circle of “car guys” - that is, guys who are interested in cars, we are an even smaller sub-group.. A niche within a niche is what I like to call it. Here's what I mean:
(This is how "normies" feel about your dumb hot rod)
Your average “car guy” is really just that, average. Let's call him Dan. Dan lives in your typical suburban neighborhood. He has a perfectly manicured lawn, grills a mean burger and calls his son “big guy.” Dan has a normal job, maybe outside sales, and looks you in the eye while he shakes your hand. He drives a newer Dodge 1500 pickup with a tonneau cover to keep his golf clubs safe and sound. His wife drives a Honda Element, he brags about the cargo space it has.. There's a basketball hoop in the driveway to satisfy any desire for an impromptu game of “HORSE” with his son, Tyler, who by the way is turning out to be “one hell of an athlete,” according to his dad, who nobody asked.
(Poor Tyler over here doesn't have a chance.)
Our man, Dan wears a dress shirt and slacks during the week, but looks forward to a T shirt and jeans on the weekends. That T shirt is tucked in, of course. And there in the middle of all of this nauseating normalcy, his pride and joy: A 1965 Mustang.. BUT, don't you dare call it that. According to him, it's “a 64 and a half, one of the rare ones..” Behold: Dan, “Every man,” and typical pseudo car guy. He's the guy in the commercials for prescription drugs on your TV – you know, the commercials where the guy and his family are shown doing perfectly normal, happy things, while the voice over says, “Side effects may include vomiting, thoughts of suicide, sudden and uncontrollable rectal bleeding, or death.” That's Dan there in the garage carefully taking the air cleaner off his Mustang, wiping his brow and giving his son a noogie in slow motion. That's who a lot of car guys are: just normal guys. Painfully normal.
( …….. )
(Could you imagine giving a shit about a Mustang?)
Then, there are guys like you and me.. The incurable. The hot rodder. We cannot help it, and we don't want to be helped. It's not just a hobby, no, not by a long shot.. It is, as cliché as it sounds, a way of life. It's all we think about. It's all we do. We rarely have other interests. Shit, we can't afford other interests. Dan spreads his joys out, divvying up small portions here and there to things like playing golf, watching football, fishing, and oh yes, keeping his Mustang in tip-top condition. After all, he views it as an investment.
(If we could just go back in time..)
While he does that, we obsess. Our days are spent thinking about hot rods at work, nights spent with wrenches in our hands. Weekends are for swap meets and drag races, for working on our cars. We don't make an all day event out of changing the oil on some boring muscle car while the TV in our temperature controlled garage blares with mindless sports announcers – just an excuse to be away from the wife – no, we crank up the tunes and get to work.
(Not everyone is a fan of how we live..)
We BUILD cars, that is, from the ground up. Most guys are fine with their garage: It has a foosball table, a work bench, a bunch of neon beer signs and a Lazy Boy in it. But that won't do for us – we have to have a SHOP. We don't give a shit about how Dan spent half a Saturday figuring out how to store his kayak from the ceiling using a rope and pulley-our work spaces have welders in them, not recliners and posters with baseball players on them... We're building CARS, not fuckin' bird houses.. The only breaks we take are to eat and to scan the internet for parts, and of course, that “next project.” Never mind that we aren't through with the one we're working on now-we MUST check to be sure there isn't something else out there right now that we can't live without. We have to make sure. It doesn't matter how much space we have, whether it's a small garage, or a gigantic shop, we are always out of room, but still out there looking to see what's available. We store cars elsewhere when we run out of space. We hide them at our buddy's place because he has more room at the moment. Besides that, we don't want our wives to know we bought another car.. We can't help it. The hot rod thing is a disease. There is no cure, it only stops for us when we die and it occupies most of our bandwidth until we do.. It's an obsession like no other, one that if you allow it to get ahold of you, will take over. We let it, we surrender to it. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
Could you imagine being “normal” ? I can't think of anything worse!