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Turning 40
What kind of car should I get?

By Bruce Bahmani
June 7, 2001
The Iranian

Okay, I really really need your help on this matter of utmost importance. It could really set the tone of my life for the next 48 to 60 months with buyout option. Let me fill you in on a couple of details first, then hopefully you can help me decide what to do.

First, I am turning 40 this year. While that may not sound like anything important to you, or even to me as I am writing this, but for some deep, ego, pride, fear-of-death reason which I cannot explain right now there is something very disconcerting about this event.

Anyhow, I am turning forty okay, can we move on please! The other thing that is happening is that my kids are almost past the car seat stage of development. To those of you who do not have kids, this may not seem like anything, but those of you who know, know! The third thing that is happening is that I need a newer car.

There you have it, it's all there laid out in front of you like a lovely sofreh of sabzi, panir and warm fresh tanoori bread, and oh, by the way the tea is on it's way!

Seriously, what kind of car should I get?

You might think, hameen? Var parideh that's the big dilemma in your life? This is what you have asked us to help you with? There are all kinds of politics that need our attention.. The presidential elections are on Friday! There's that message to the people from Reza Pahlavi to think about!

In comparison to these awesome things in the world my vehicular selection may seem petty, and while I may agree, it still doesn't solve my problem. What kind of car should I get?

You see, to men cars are, well, an extension (no not that extension!) of our very being. We are hunters, explorers, we like to go fast and need action in our lives. We live on adrenaline, and thrive on chaos and instability. Meegee na? Ask our wives about that last point!

A car is one embodiment of that nature which makes us men. Another is our choice in cologne but that is for another article. Here's how I justify it. The choice of the car is critical to the health of the ego which is critical to the sense of self worth and confidence level which makes us better people, fathers, lovers and more importantly wage earners. It can also make some of us more attractive to the opposite sex but that has it's risks.

You can see right away why I need help. I have clearly lost the edge and can't make this decision by myself. Eight years of constant child rearing will do that to you. SOS! Send help immediately. The passenger is drowning.

So car commercials on TV are no help. they're trying to tell me if I get a sports car, young blonde gorgeous women will be all over me. Goosh konin be man, doesn't the modern American marketing machine understand that these things don't affect the common Iranian man? That their demographics and focus groups are no match for what is arguably the most powerful force in the universe?

They fail to understand that as Iranian men we are pre-ordained by God himself via our parents to marry Iranian women and next to El Diablo there is no meaner being than a pissed off Iranian wife who has caught her husband in a red Miata with a blonde Laker Girl. Where's Jesus Christ, your personal savior now? Aghaa jaan, I am married to an Iranian woman. Trouble hameeneh keh hast, we don't need your help!

Also when I pick the kids up from school during my half of the week, tying one of the kids to the trunk rack might be a problem. So sports cars are out.

Back to the boob tube for more edification. Next they show all kinds of really good looking gray haired men driving all manner of Lexi, Acuri and miscellaneous Luxuri.

Oh, I forgot to add one thing: I'm also cheap. Forgive me but I can't see paying upwards of fifty grand for a car and not get a sunroof okay? The thought of the 10 cows that gave their skins just so I could freeze in the winter and burn myself in the summer doesn't make any sense to me either. Call me finicky but I'm just a poor son of a camel driver anyway so a luxury car is out.

Change channels and here we go, back dropped against the most beautiful majestic mountains the computer can generate and the clearest, purest waterfalls that animation can produce, cocked at a saucy angle, hands on it's bulging hips, saying "Hah! Mountain! You are no match for me! Hah!" Man's gift to man, the SUV! Bah! Bah! Tears actually swell in your eyes. Never has a more useless piece of machinery deluded so many people as the SUV. They actually have you believing that you can buy a lifestyle with this car. You've got to have 4-wheel drive even though you live in California where it never snows, they tell us. Kashk.

And the choices! Voy naneh, you've got micros, compacts, mid-sized, full sized, even oversized! I think Ford makes one so big they call it the Ford Extinction. I swear this thing is so big, it has room in the back for a Hummer (khafeh sho that's not what I meant!).

These ads inisit you are not a conformist, that even though you work in the city, you lead a ruggedized life. Can't you tell by my Casio G-Shock scuba diving watch that I am a thrillseeker, an adrenaline junky, a dare I say it... I dare not! That a kayaking trip without anyone to pick you up when you get 50 miles down river is possible, that camping without fear of being hacked to death in your sleep by a psychopath park ranger, quartered, and wrapped in little ziplok packages like at the meat counter at your suburban safeway is an option, that going skiing every weekend in the winter with an average drive time of 12 hours -- each way -- is considered "getting away from it all". Boro baabaa!

And there are those Japanese SUVs too. Is it just me or doesn't anyone see a problem in the production of SUVs in a country that has no physical geography to go offroading?

The Germans are now out with their Benzes and BMW SUV's. What do they know! The only thing a German knows about getting through snow is, if you go fast enough you'll get through it.

You are left with the All American truck with four doors welded on it. The one thing we know about American trucks is that they are "Ford Tough" and are shaped "Like a Rock". When they say that, it means they are built too tough to sit in for more than five minutes and when you ride in them you can feel every rock on the road. And they are really really heavy, and big. You know how you look at a compact parking space and keep driving. Well with one of these even the big parking spots are too small. Ross Perot once spoke about a giant sucking sound. That is similar to the sound your wallet will make if you ever fill one up with gas: $70, and I'm serious.

Okay stop right there! Let's get one thing straight, I like you and all, but we do not mention the "V" word in this article. There is no way I will drive a van, ever, period, exclamation point. No. Let's move on please. I said No!

So what's left? Nothing. Absolutely zilch. Compact cars you say? Yeah I know, compact cars are kind of cool. You could trick one out, lower it, add some thick tires, it could be fun. You could take the money saved from not buying a bigger more expensive car and really build yourself a nice little sporty, fuel efficient, well for lack of a better word, rice burner. And therein lies the problem. Iranians don't like burnt rice. The whole concept that your car is called a rice burner, just doesn't sit right. The P in polo is for Perfection. Plus the feminine side implications of a small vehicle like that are just out of the question. So that's out too.

So what should I do? What would you do? You see my dilemma? A 40-year-old Iranian, married to an Iranian wife, with two kids,... what's that? Are you serious? You say I'd look good in one? Well, you're right, they aren't as expensive as some other cars and it's a good car. No, I know they are built to last forever. But you really think I'd look good in it? Not too short am I? You know they tend to ride a bit low. Of course, you've got to take care of them, but hey I take care of two kids, and I'm 40, I'm responsible enough, I think...Wow, thanks! You know I never considered it but now that you mention it, you're right! It makes total sense!

Baabaa damet garm!

I knew you would come through for me! Thanks! What a brilliant suggestion!

Guess I'll get a Beemer!

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