One time, some friends and I detonated a Volkswagen. It was a field car. When it started having problems, my friend Danny's dad would fix it a little bit, but it was getting worse, and he gave it to Danny when the cost to fill the tank up with gas was greater than the value of the car. It rusted in a weed patch until Danny and I got it running, albeit with a little bit of a smoking problem. We could start it, give it a shove, then jump in and run it about 30 feet through the field, bumping over rocks and squishing through cow patties, until it died. We'd finally find a magical combination of electricity, fuel, and air that would get it running again for about 30 more feet. The blue smoke that came from the little exposed engine clung to the weeds and filled up the valley.
The next day we took the doors off and the seats out to make it lighter. We spray painted "General Lee" and a crappy rebel flag across its roof in Ford blue. It ran, and we pushed it up a hill until it was tucked under some manzanita bushes. From that hill, we figured we could get it to "launch velocity" by the time it hit the "ramp" that we'd constructed. For safety reasons, we'd donned old motorcycle helmets and gloves.
Danny hit fourth gear and stabbed the accelerator after we'd rambled it all the way down through the brush; it had to be going 30 miles an hour before its half-deflated tires hit the knotty wood ramp.
The front wheels came off. We considered that a successful flight. But, with our safety helmets on we hadn't noticed that the gas tank had torn open on our pre-jump run. And while it was lodged on top of the ramp and tipped downward toward the front, it was leaking gas all over the plywood and weeds.
We didn't notice Danny's dad pull up. It was 20 minutes of frantically attaching garden hoses, filling buckets, sweating, and choking back tears. Eventually the fireball subsided and we sat down in the mud next to the wet, charred VW bug and panted with relief.
Dan's dad stepped out onto the porch, and we scrambled to our feet. "Sorry, Dad," Danny fumbled. "We, uh, we had a little problem with the, uh..."
Danny's dad turned to go back inside and over his shoulder he said, "Good job, Bo and Luke."
WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK
Thursday, November 2
VH1 Jump Start
VH1 7:00 a.m. If you're a morning person, please, please, please watch VH1 Jump Start until a video called "Lips of an Angel" by a "Hinder" comes on. Your reward will be higher blood pressure and anger that not even three cups of coffee could produce. This is the worst song I've ever heard. This is sour owl piss in your ear. It's almost a privilege to share the same time in history. It's like JFK getting shot for our generation.
100 Greatest Songs of the '80s
VH1 8:00 p.m. This would be awesome if it was a no-holds-barred cage match. Milli Vanilli vs. "Rico" Gerardo "Suave." Two men enter, one man leaves! Bring me the eyebrow of Vanilla Ice!
Friday, November 3
DISC 8:00 p.m. It's Friday night. You're about half-drunk from happy hour. You think your week sucked? Survivorman lived in the desert for seven days with only a nine-volt battery and a nacho. Sure, your boss is a jerk, and the new clients were up your ass about the missing shipment, but you didn't have to barbecue a scorpion or kill an iguana with your underpants.
Saturday, November 4
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)
TBS 10:00 a.m. Sometimes, I pray to the ghosts of John Wayne and General Patton: "In a world of soccer, makeup for men, and this terrible crap, I'm working, oh, gentlemen, I am working. My back aches and my fingers are bloody from fighting the further womanification of America, but it sometimes seems that I am alone. Grant me strength, gentlemen. Grant me strength."
Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One for the Road
COMEDY 10:00 p.m. First rule of comedy: Don't beat a joke into the ground. What was funny once isn't funny on the 900th time. I'd like to choke the CEO of Comedy Central with a tape of Ron White's "Tater Salad" skit to get my point across.
Sunday, November 5
In Depth: Ray Kurzweil
CSPAN 10:00 a.m. Ray Kurzweil says that there will be a time when medical science will add more years to our life than we have left to live. In simpler terms, we will be immortal. Then it's only a matter of time before I have a bionic monkey tail and I can survive in the cold vacuum of space. Then I will shut my brain off electrically and drift the thousand-year voyage to Andromeda to populate a planet of slave clones from a chemistry set I've carried in a backpack. Man, that's gonna be so sweet. Monkey-tail slave clones, I said!
Monday, November 6
Texas Cheer Moms
TLC 7:00 p.m. Give me an "S"! Give me a "U"! Give me a "C"! Give me a "K"! What's that spell? What's that spell? What's that spell?!
Tuesday, November 7 Celebrity Paranormal Project
VH1 1:00 p.m. Joe Piscopo and Picabo Street investigate the death of a prison warden. Let me repeat that. Joe Piscopo and Picabo Street -- a former mediocre comedian and an Olympic downhill skier -- team up to examine the mysteries of afterlife. What? What the hell is going on? I want to know who the hell was sitting around one day and said, "You know what I'd like to see? Joe Piscopo and Picabo Street..." Give that man a raise. He's weirder than I am.
Wednesday, November 8
SciFi 10:00 a.m. I met Lou Ferrigno. If I had been thinking about it, I probably would've tried to feel strong by just being around him. Like when I was a kid, I swear I could whip some major ass at tetherball when I was wearing my Hulk underwear. But, the only thing I could think of when I was shaking Lou's hand was, "look at the size of his head! Good God, that thing's huge! I wonder if he can buy hats or if they have to be specially made or what. Look at that thing."