Dear Click & Clack...
I woke to find a leak under both of my front headlights. Alas, it wasn't wiper fluid, it was tears - for one of the greatest friends to all cars and car owners has gone to the auto repair shop in the sky. All cars big and small weep for this great loss.
Please know there is a gaping hole on our Saturday mornings, in our hearts, and our radiators that cannot be filled.
By now you've heard that the country lost one of it's greatest treasures - Tom, co-host of NPR's 'Car Talk' died yesterday of complications from Alzheimer's. The news came to me after a particularly crappy Monday and it really hit me hard. I'll tell you why. Not only was he part of my Saturday morning for more years than I can remember, but he was part of my family. Maybe it hit me that slowly, all of the comforts of childhood, and growing up, and constants of life are slowly leaving, changing, ending. This is just one more sad loss that brought comfort and laughter for many years. These 10 reasons are a tribute to you, Tom. Rest in Peace, & I just know you are driving around heaven in your beloved Dodge Dart or something like it.
10 Reasons Why Car Talk Was Much More Than Just Car Talk:
10. It was from him that I learned that it was for a very serious reason that my very first car, a VW Jetta, smelled like maple syrup....it was leaking anti-freeze. And here I thought my car was just a sweet little bottle of Vermont Maple Syrup on wheels. I was 16, what did I know?
8. Car Talk made it okay to run errands with my dad during the awkward teen years when conversation was painful. With the Tappet Brothers making us laugh in the background, our car rides were pleasant and easy during a hormonal period of life. It also built a bridge to NPR. I went from mouthing the words to Salt-n-Pepa on my Sony Walkman, to actually wanting to listen to the funny guys on NPR. Car Talk was the bridge, and Click and Clack pulled me over the hump. Saturday mornings with Car Talk became a ritual - a way of life - that stuck with me for years. Eventually my Saturday mornings with my dad became Saturday mornings with my husband, running errands to Home Depot with 3 screaming kids in the backseat. Car Talk helped us forget about the mundane tasks that waited to occupy our Saturday, and started our day with laughter.
7. Speaking of Laughter...Their laughter was infectious, contagious, catchy...whatever other word I can find for it. It was a magnet that drew people close and held them tight in its grasp. You couldn't help but laugh when they laughed. Tom was a brilliant man, but used self-deprecating humor more often that not, proving that even the brightest bulbs can shine on others to give them some laughter at their expense.
5. They are proof that life is 98% human interaction and 2% business. When they answered a caller's question, they spent 2 minutes fixing/addressing the car problem, and the rest of the time addressing life. What a brilliant metaphor. It's all about the human side of things - the other stuff is just a minor detail.
4. No matter if you are a mechanic, car salesman, or any type of job you have, your greatest tools are free and easy: honesty & trust. Entertainment value aside, these guys were trusted by everyone - they were painfully, brutally honest on most occasions. We could all learn that with the right amount of panache, humor and genuine care, we can build a reputation that is unbeatable. Don't take yourself too seriously, but be serious with a sprinkle of happiness and hope. A little kindness never hurt the recipe either.
3. When you love what you do, it shows. It's so obvious they loved everything about cars. How else could you so effortlessly and endlessly talk about it for so many years and keep it fresh and funny? To make radiator fluid funny is a gift - but the gift comes from love. They shared their gift with the world and the world loved them back. Brilliant.
2. They helped me understand brotherly love. Honestly, most of the time I didn't listen because I wanted to hear about cars. I'm a girl - that's borrrr-inggg to me. I loved the interaction between two brothers who not only genuinely liked each other, but they loved life and it came through show after show. I can't imagine the gaping hole Tom's passing left on the family.
1. SLOW DOWN. A near fatal accident with a semi in his younger years caused Tom to reevaluate his life. He quit his job, started a small shop with his brother and essentially changed their entire life path. He was an advocate for a slower speed limit but I think it was just a metaphor for our life in the the fast lane. We all can learn a lesson to slow down and enjoy the car ride.
Thank you, Mr. M...for your endless laughs on Saturday mornings since forever. You will be sadly missed.
Thanks for reading. Until next time~
Love, Light & Contagious Laughter - - and Don't Drive Like My Brother,