Sunday, May 12, 2013

The reason I will never own a Prius

Part of my regular work, is a reconditioner for several car dealerships. I basically take the ugly trade-ins and make them all shiny and pretty again. I work on every kind of car they take on trade. I drive them all. I can tell you, after doing a lot of work between two toyota dealers, the Prius is a pretty cool little car. But, there's no way I will ever own one. 
They are cheap on gas. Not very expensive. Fairly sporty to drive. Not a bad looking car. Pretty comfortable inside. Even enough room for a big guy like me. But, no way. Want to know why? Because they have developed a stigma that I don't want any part of. They have become notorious for having owners who are arrogant, obnoxious, rude and generally think they are better than everyone else. Not all of them, but enough to create a stigma. They feel like they are doing more to save the planet that any one else.... By driving a Prius. By buying a Prius, they have bought into a marketing pitch that convinces them the earth will last longer and they will be the hero for it. Not really guys. So. They begin to get proud of themselves for making an effort that the rest of us don't. Soon, they transform from people with great intentions of doing good, to people who can't understand why it doesn't make sense to everyone. So they become jerks. Not all, but enough. 
I promise I will make a point soon. 
I have always ridden any motorcycle I liked and could afford. Usually older cheap bikes that didn't even need a title. Developed a special love for the Honda CB750 and the Kawasaki KZ1100. Rode a sportster for a while. It was ok. Not enough to get a Harley tattoo, but ok. Years later I didn't like Harley because I met so many guys who had them and thought they were better than the rest of us. Most bikers, like-able ones, do a wave when they pass other riders. It's usually two fingers, index and middle together, pointed down. I always saw it as a salute to another guy with two wheels on the ground. I would get irritated when a Harley rider wouldn't return the wave when I was on my Japanese bikes. Jerks. 
Then, one day, I get a call from a buddy of mine. He found a high end custom motorcycle frame. It was one like I had wanted for years. We worked a deal and I got it. For the next 23 weeks, every spare minute was committed to building my first completely custom rigid frame chopper. It ended up being 9 feet long and a great bike to ride. It was Harley parts from front to back, except the engine. I built it around a vintage Honda CB750. It was beautiful. And, just to be obnoxious, I used metric wrenches as braces and supports for some custom parts I made. The Harley guys didn't know what to think of it. It looked wicked. My wife nicknamed it "the mistress" because of how much time I spent with it. I loved that bike. I was so proud to be out riding something I built. 
Then it happened. I caught myself being a jerk. Some guy was bragging about his Harley and how much he spent on it. I asked him how long it took to build it. The conversation changed after that. I realized that I had become the jerk. I set out to do something I always wanted to do and then got arrogant about it. Sure, my bike wasn't the best one out there, but I built mine. Did you build yours or just borrow some money and buy it? Yeah. That kind of attitude. I became the jerk. Suddenly I felt like I was better than those guys. They didn't get it. 
That kind of arrogance and attitude creeps up on us. Most of us start out with good intentions. We will work to provide for our family. We work hard. Sometimes too hard. Then they don't appreciate us. Then they nag us. Then we just can't take it. It's a progression based on bad priorities. We take the career to support the family then we expect the family to support the career. Dude. The career is a necessary evil. We work because we have to and sometimes because we enjoy it. But, don't make it your priority. Your family is your priority. Do the job, love the family. Don't be a jerk. 
Not just at work, it happens in church all the time. We like the church and want to be involved. We get involved and end up being committed. We are surrounded by other "committed" people who are burning out and dropping out. We eventually end up going from involved to committed to responsible. Then it takes over and we have another job taking us away from the family. I did it several times. Watched dozens of people follow that same pattern. Gradual transition that consumes your life and time. Once we get that deep, we end up stressed and angry. We are trying to do a good thing, but it's straining our family even more. Then they just don't understand how important this is or how much good I am doing. Then.... We are jerks. Lots of people will never be Christians simply because they know Christians. They don't see "life abundantly" or "joy unspeakable." They see boring, mindless, arrogant jerks. Like Prius drivers, the stigma is there. 
This has been a long rabbit trail to make a simple point. Don't be a jerk. We can't be leaders if everyone thinks we are jerks. Our kids don't want to be around us or be like us if we are jerks. Our wives have ABSOLUTELY NO DESIRE FOR INTIMACY WITH A JERK. Even the people who hired you or introduced you to whatever world you are in, will back away eventually. Take a serious look at how you react or respond to confrontation. Take a look at how often your sentences or thoughts begin with "I" or "me." Be willing to consider the possibility that you might not be the smartest person alive. Maybe someone else understands something you don't. Maybe a little humility is worth considering. We can be good guys if we make the effort. I am a recovering jerk, I know. 
Good luck with all that. And enjoy your Prius. 

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