The Legend of The JATO-Powered Rocket Car

Anyway, that’s my story, take it or leave it. And even if everyone who sees it thinks it’s bullshit, I’m glad I told it. If I never decided to sit down and tell it, my wife probably never would’ve given me this nifty computer last Christmas. As a result, I not only got to write most of it from the comfort of my own bedroom, but I’ve also re-established contact with Jimmy. E-mail is a terrific way to stay in touch with people, and as soon as I told Jimmy I was going to write this whole thing down, he started spouting out facts and details I’d long since forgotten. That’s one of the reasons this story is running so long. So I suppose that if an apology has to be made, it should be a joint apology from Jimmy as well as me.

One last thing before I call it quits:

When I originally ran this story up the flagpole for Jimmy, he looked around on the Web for the “Darwin Awards” I’d told him about, and was as shocked as I was at how far and wide the Rocket Car story had spread. But he also seemed a little miffed about the whole thing. He seemed to think that if anyone deserved the Darwin Award, it was us.

It’s tough to tell just how serious a person is when you’re carrying on a conversation via E-mail.

I pointed out that not only was the Darwin Award completely intellectual in nature (I doubt like hell a gold-plated trophy exists anywhere), but it was not the sort of thing a person goes out of his way to win.

Jimmy thought differently.

Have you ever seen those silver Jesus-fish emblems that Christians decorate their bumpers with? Well, not too long ago, someone came up with a variation on the emblem, sort of a counterpart to the Christian fish. It’s the same outline of the fish that the Christians use, but instead of saying “Jesus” (or whatever) inside the body of the fish, it says “Darwin”. And the fish itself has little feet on the underside. The message (for those academic enough to grasp it) is supposed to be a rebuttal of sorts. Evolution over creation.

Very cerebral, eh?

Well, I’ve seen these things around from time to time, both the Christian version and the Darwin version. And to be honest, neither one made much of an impression. But this past Easter, I got yet another package from Jimmy, the first one in a long time. I thought it was another video, but when I opened it up, I found it wasn’t. Inside was a Hallmark card congratulating me on a happy 20th anniversary. Along with the card was one of the fish emblems, the “Darwin” version instead of the standard Christian model. But not exactly the Darwin version. Instead of little feet at the bottom of the fish, this one had little wheels. And there were curly lines coming from the rear of the fish. Lines that looked like jet exhaust, coming from a tail that looked surprisingly like a JATO exhaust nozzle.



Maybe Jimmy had a novelty store make it up, or maybe he made it himself. Myself, I like to think the latter. But I ran right out to my car (a boring old Toyota Camry, gasoline-powered), wiped down the trunk lid, and stuck it on. And even though nobody else knows what the hell it is, I get a chuckle every time I look at it.

It ain’t a gold statue, but it’s good enough for me.

Next: “Afterword”

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