A lot of weird semi-tasteless stuff passes through the Car Talk mailbox, so we were pretty excited to see this pearl of culture and civility gleaming in our inbox.
What is it? It’s an Epic Poem that tells the gripping tale of a Ford Focus who valiantly sacrificed its own life to save the lives of its passengers--namely, Janet (the driver and poet) and Maude (the dog).
For those of you who remember the weeks it took to read The Odyssey, fear not. Janet is a lot more concise than Homer, so you can read the whole thing before your boss comes back down the hall. Best of all? No quiz. You have our word.
And don’t worry, the dog is fine. Here’s Maude after the accident, and in good cheer.
Here's an ode to the valiant car Fionn MacCumhaill,
An intrepid Ford Focus who was nobody's fool,
An automobile both stalwart and brave,
Whose short life was ended in a premature grave.
Fionn was a model year two-thousand-five,
But by two-thousand-four he could already drive.
Born prematurely, he rolled out as surely
As if he'd been driving since nineteen-ninety-five.
From the start economical, there were those who thought comical,
His humble crank windows and air-powered system for cooling,
But fewer would laugh when we filled with for gas
And paid half what SUV owners spent for refueling.
To the core he was loyal, with an attitude royal,
Requiring little fuel between changes of oil.
Regardless of weather, he'd start light as a feather,
For the many road trips which we went on together.
His five-speed transmission and flawless ignition
When passing or merging beat all competition.
His voice versatile had the power to beguile-
Whether Brahms, Monk, or tunes from the Emerald Isle.
Over back roads and dirt roads and of course interstates,
He was a combination fine ship and a trusty first mate;
Well over a hundred thousand miles he went in his travels,
On roads which would make lesser drivetrains unravel.
And I'm sure he'd have made a hundred K more,
Were it not for a moronic, incompetent boor,
Driving a V-8 Nissan truck like a drunken fool schmuck,
Thereby ending the fair Fionn's long run of good luck.
On a night in December, both stormy and dark,
Fionn, my dog Maude, and I did embark,
From Connecticut, where it had started to rain,
Through the rest of New England, on our way home to Maine.
Halfway through the trip the rain started to freeze,
Making roads slippery, and motorists ill at ease.
At thirty-five miles per hour we proceeded right slow,
When about in New Hampshire it started to snow.
By the time that we crossed the Piscataqua River,
The snow fell so hard many started to quiver.
Cars started to slip, but Fionn stoically charted,
Our homeward-bound course in a manner stout-hearted.
By the time we reached Falmouth I thought, "Nearly there!"
When in the rear view mirror, as if out of thin air,
There appeared the two lights of a vehicle large,
Which seemed bound and determined into us to barge.
I then shouted profanity, aimed at the insanity
Of the driver who so recklessly, hastily drove,
But deaf to protestations and enraged accusations,
That blockhead poor Fionn in the rear end then stove.
With his tailgate stove in and his rear windows broke,
Fionn slid down the highway like a loose cake of soap,
But the car and his driver, we both kept our heads,
And he didn't spin out, but landed in the left ditch instead;
Still facing forward, and thank goodness upright,
And thus Fionn saved both Maude and me that night.
In the right ditch, the driver of that V-8 Nissan Titan,
Got out of his truck in his shirtsleeves, unfrightened.
He lit up a smoke and dejectedly viewed
His truck's injuries, caused by his driving crude.
Then after a while when he'd finished his smoke,
He tried to exit that ditch, going for broke!
His bumper in his front tires and his airbags deployed,
He attempted to flee, his truck all but destroyed!
But just then the police did arrive on the scene,
And told him to disembark from his machine.
Then what happened next, I cannot be sure,
But the cop spent a very long time with that boor,
And although Maude and I went with Fionn back to town,
Mr. Neanderthal in the tow truck was not to be found.
And that is the story of the brave Ford, Fionn McCumhaill,
His motoring days ended by a dimwitted fool.
So here's to Fionn the Ford Focus, valiant and brave,
Who gave up his life, Maude my dog and me to save!