This is a recreation of an email I sent out to a group of friends in the mid-to-late 1990’s regarding my experiences with Camaro owners (if anyone has the original, please forward me a copy!)
I’ve been doing some pondering lately on the subject of Camaros.
Now, I have little to nothing to say on the subject from a mechanical standpoint. I am an automotive ignoramus. I lost all of my automotive repair skills when I sold my last carbureted vehicle and no longer had anywhere to spray the starter fluid. I am the idiot who discovered that he had left his lights on all day and drained his battery, and who subsequently rolled his car down a hill trying repeatedly to compression-start it….only to have someone point out that the car had fuel injectors. So I am no kind of authority on the mechanics of automobiles.
My ruminations have been of a more sociocultural, or perhaps anthropological nature. Over the space of about four years, I came across three truly outstanding displays of ignorance, all of which were not only displayed upon, but also directly related to, Camaros.
I make no judgments about these, but merely submit them for your consideration.
Incident One: In the early 90’s, while driving through downtown Pullman, Washington, I pulled up behind a rumbling 70’s-era Z28 Camaro. Proudly affixed to the right rear fender was a custom-printed bumper sticker, black block-lettering on a white background:
Video-game-console aficionados will recognize the phrase as the trademark for the old Nintendo Game System. If I recall correctly, however, the Nintendo Corporation managed to use the proper contraction of “you’re”, despite the fact that they were not native speakers of the English language.
Incident Two: While driving through Kent one afternoon I ended up behind a newer (say, mid-90’s) bright-red Camaro Berlinetta with a custom license-plate holder that read:
WHERE THE HELL FORTH ART THOU ROMEO
I found it quite amusing that this person had taken the word “wherefore” (which means “why”), and broken it into two separate, distinctly incorrect sub-terms: “where”, which has nothing to do with “why”, and “forth”, which has nothing to do with anything (at least, anything in the phrase in question). Hopefully her beloved Romeo isn’t much of a philologist either.
Incident Three: The last example was seen on the back of an early-90’s IROC-Z. I no longer remember the location of the sighting. This was another customized license-plate holder, which bore the proud legend:
The phrase, for those not familiar with it, is the title of a song by The Dead Milkmen. Those without the benefit of a Camaro in direct view right now might not be aware of this, but the word “Camaro” does not have an “e” in it. Furthermore, the word is written in any number of places on the car, in the owner’s manual, on your registration, etc. I sometimes wonder if the owner of this car saw other Camaros out on the street and concluded that the Chevrolet Corporation had misspelled their car’s name on tens of thousands of production vehicles. I sometimes wonder if he wrote them a note letting them know of their error.
The common thread running through these incidents is the effort that these people went through to display their ignorance. There are many stupid things to display on your car (“LOOKING FOR YOUR CAT? CHECK UNDER MY TIRES.”). These unfortunate Cro-Magnons took it a step further, painstakingly assembling a customized testimony to their idiocy, a grand private joke on their behalf that everyone around them could be in on.
Let’s be clear here: I have no reason whatsoever to associate the intelligence of these individuals with the cars that they drive. On the other hand, despite many years of checking out other cars’ bumper stickers, vanity plates and customized plate-holders, I have yet to find anything approaching this level of simpletonaeity on, say, a Honda Civic.