Click and Clack, The Tappet Brothers
Car Talk
PO Box 3500, Harvard Square
Our Fair City, Cambridge, MA 02238


Dear Click '58 and Clack '72:

I understand that you have once again expressed on-air disappointment over not being asked to speak at MIT's graduation.

Last summer, I advised you that your chances of being invited as Commencement speakers would be enhanced if Car Talk had a suitable flag that could be used to help us decorate the campus. I hear that you now have come up with a flag and that you thought this would assure your inclusion in the 1998 Commencement program. Certainly, it is possible that a truly elegant flag -- along with your accountable, yet undeniable, popularity among your fellow alums -- might have gone a long way toward assuring places for you in this year's celebrations, except for two rather obvious problems:

* Problem Number One: You failed to show your new flag to anyone at MIT. Now, I don't doubt that the flag actually exists (well, that's not entirely accurate: I do doubt the flag exists), but its existence does you no good if you keep it secret. There is, after all, a reason why people use expressions like "Let's run this up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes..." or "Let's get out there and show the flag..." -- and that reason is, very simply, that people cannot appreciate your flag unless they can see it. Now some of my colleagues have suggested that the Car Talk flag may be based on some sort of advanced stealth technology, in which case I applaud your technical prowess. On the whole, however, a stealth flag seems to me to be a self-defeating innovation.

*Problem Number Two: One of this year's commencement speakers is the honorable William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States. As the duly elected leader of the world's only superpower, Mr. Clinton not only comes with his own flag -- and a darn good one, too -- but he's even got a SEAL. Talk about upping the ante! Heck, this guy brings his own podium, audience, press corps, helicopter -- you name it. There's just no way for the two of you to compete this year. You think you're disappointed? Not even I get to make a speech this year, and I'm supposed to run the place.

Nonetheless, I urge you not to give up hope. Send us pictures of this alleged flag of yours (along with appropriate contribution to the alumni fund), and we'll talk about next year.

Oh, and good luck with the audit.

As ever, I remain
Technically yours,

Charles M. Vest

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