Toon & text by John Auchter
My dad let me use a car for the winter term of my senior year at Michigan Tech. It not only was a generous thing to do, it was also very smart, saving him from making multiple trips between Flint and the hinterlands of the Upper Peninsula to drop me off and pick me up.
It did, however, come at a cost.
One day in the spring soon after I came home, Dad was in the driveway puzzling over the car. He called me over and asked, “John, what are all these nicks in the paint?”
I said, “What do you mean?”
“Well…,” he paused, “I can see if you got behind a gravel truck or something that these little cuts would be on the hood and maybe the roof, but they seem to be all over. What happened?”
I had to think for second, but then I remembered, “Oh! They’re from the snow shovel.”
“Um, snow shovel?”
“Yeah. I didn’t need to use the car while I was at school, but I made sure to drive it at least once a week like you told me. By the weekend, it would be completely covered in one big mound of snow, so I’d take my shovel and poke around in the drifts till I found it.”
Dad just stared at me.
I pantomimed holding a snow shovel and jabbing downward, “Kush, kush, kush, ting! Kush, kush, kush, ting! And sometimes I didn’t remember exactly where I parked it, so I’d have to dig enough to see the paint color.”
Dad laughed and gave me a pat on the back. Possibly the only positive reaction ever for a son who reduced the value of his father’s automobile.
I tell you this story for two reasons. First, to establish my credibility in understanding the potential harshness of winter. So even in a “best case” scenario where the United States nuked North Korea without them nuking us, there would still be horrific consequences (a possible nuclear winter among them).
And second, to avoid having to think about a President of the United States who would brag of such things.