I Drive A Piece Of Sh*t, And I’m The Happiest I’ve Ever Been

by Liz Henry
Originally Published: 
happiest i've ever been
Liz Henry

There’s something fun about driving a bona fide piece of shit. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched too many movies. Like, when I’m driving my 1988 Buick Regal Custom that cost me $500, it’s like I’m channeling my inner Lebowski.

If The Dude had a rug that really tied the room together, this car is probably the most honest thing I’ve driven — it ties my life together.

I think there’s zero expectations when you drive a piece of shit. If there are any, it’s that you’re a mess. I know when I drive past the mother of a childhood friend, she thinks my life is shitty. I mean logically — and based on the car I drive — this isn’t a far leap. Without a doubt, if I saw someone driving my car, I’d think their life had gone terribly wrong, too.

And my life has gone terribly wrong, but that’s not the point except it kinda is. You can, in fact, have a life that has gone so terribly wrong and in so many different ways that you’ve polished a turd and turned it into, nah, nothing. It’s still pretty shitty.

But you can, on really good days, feel like you’re living in a movie that didn’t quite make it in theaters, but has a cult following. That’s how I feel.

Now, when I pull into my kid’s school I’ve dropped the pretense of right angles and overcompensating first impressions and I’m Uncle Buck — all Ph.D. in hard knocks with a piece of shit car as my participation trophy for trying to play it straight.

They don’t make cars like this anymore. They don’t make people who want to drive large cars with ashtrays and bench seats and tape decks with a turn radius like maneuvering the Titanic. We like money. We like being healthy. We like staged lives.

I was there. It felt empty. I’m happier driving the piece of shit.

I don’t have to pass for anything but what I am, where I’ve been, where I’m going. When I pull into the driveway of the house I don’t own riding on one donut and three hubcap-less tires, it’s “DEEZ NUTS” spray painted on a concrete wall behind the house greeting me like I’m a modern day Gatsby who’s keeping it so motherfucking real even my literary devices have a sense of humor about the nosedive my possessions have taken.

Liz Henry

Passing is too much work. It’s exhausting. I may drive a shitty car and DEEZ NUTZ may be my beacon, but I’m in the best shape of my life. Not physically. Fuck that. I can’t bend over to save my life, and I got winded on the treadmill while two 60-year-old dudes tag-teamed me last week with goo and electrodes while I was half-naked for a cardiovascular stress test, but I’m living. I’m rolling around in a death metal couch, with my smart phone plugged into obsolete technology, and I’m as chill about it all as an Earth, Wind & Fire song.

Marc Maron, my favorite comedian, said, “I personally don’t have a lot of respect for people that don’t have the courage to lose complete control over their lives for a few years. You know, right down the fucking hole.”

Buddy, I’m there. In the fucking hole.

Alright, not exactly. But three years ago I was definitely Kenny Powers sans the drugs crying in my bed like a little bitch over my mommy didn’t wuv me enough and my daddy was an asshole, and this is all tragedy not comedy. So yeah, I was there, but now I’m three-quarters out and What About Bob babysteppin’ and doing the work.

When you lose control, you don’t have the time to keep up appearances. If you get fatter, you buy a bigger size. If you’re at the cardiologist, you disrobe at your largest, give a look like feast your eyes fuckers, blast me with the medical jizz, and let’s get this over with. You give up wearing a bra and shoes because you now work from home and anything within a mile of your house is considered “the cafeteria.”

You like this kind of honesty. It’s DEEZ NUTZ honesty. It’s riding on the donut till the wheels fall off of my 1988 Buick honesty. It’s I bought the ticket now I’m gonna take the ride honesty. It’s Lebowski with some Creedence tapes honesty. It’s pure, electric joy honesty.

Some folks climb a mountain to get where they’re going and the rest of us, well, we’re clawing to get the fuck out of a hole we didn’t dig. Either way, it’s worth it. Solidarity.


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