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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #341
Beyond Bondo
David Gunn

The car imagines itself the consummation of sophisticated vehicular technology, the product of an advanced civilization whose mantric ethos was "translocation, translocation, translocation." In reality, it possesses the contraptional composition of a four-wheeled moped with a hood. Unaware of reality--except as it pertains to the buying of beautiful buildings and selling of sheetrock shacks--the car hurtles down the rocky, rutted dirt road en route to its destiny with disaster. Warbler Hadley Blackmoor, professor emesis of Calamitology at the University of Hummock-on-Smythe, could not have concocted a more catastrophological finale for the vehicle. The professor, however, was still preening from his recently awarded honorary debacle-laureate from Kandaharvard College of Detonacy and was not aware of the impending adversevent.

The car is piloted by a competent steerman, though his burgeoning schizophrenia more and more assigns basic go-stop and left-right decisions to an internal steering committee. The last starboard maneuver involved an extended process of personal deliberation, argument, rebuttal, mediation and reconsideration before arriving at consensus, by which time the vehicle had long since passed the intended turn, resulting in a circuitous route, indeed. While rutted and rocky, the road still possesses the two attributes paramount to motoring aficionados the world under: it affords adequate overland access between two points, and it doesn't spontaneously combust--not often, anyway.

The car presses onward, blissfully ignorant of the increasingly disputatious committee at the helm. At a fork in the road, it intuits to port, for the navigational crew is still squabbling over a directional nondetermination a mile in arrears. The road now trends downward, and in places is downright precipitous. In addition, a thin film of ice has begun to insinuate itself over the road surface. The studded snow tires on which the car rides knows the road better than any other part of the car; they also know something about ice when it is not in the controlled environment of a hockey rink or a berg of lettuce and they do not like it.

A bend is rounded. The road narrows. The layer of ice is joined by another. And then another. It is all the tires can do to maintain a professionally sanguine demeanor as they anxiously count the slippery congeries: one patina, two patina, three patina, four.

A complementary curve draws nigh. The surface of the road is now more conducive to travel by Follies or Capades. The tires sense that the control component of the car's forward motion has passed from "in" to "out of," and that it is time to alert the "cessation of momentum" mechanism, the brakes. A teeny caution tendril seeps through the chaotic muddle that is the helm's present state of mind, and it does, indeed, respond with a gentle feathering of the brake pedal. But the studs, now reduced to mere tire ornamentation, squeal back "too late too late too late."

Sirenlike, a tree by the side of the road beckons. The steerman, now alert to the point of omniscience, saws on the wheel more vigorously than a Boise-Cascade woodsman in an old growth forest. "Too late," chime in the skidding nylon cords, "too late!" All parts of the car, in concert at last, wait for time to dilate, contract, brighten or darken, the way they'd expected it to do when doom impends. But, no. It just sits there as the car's right front quarter panel says howdy! a bit too enthusiastically to the tree trunk.

Now time simultaneously expands and compresses, depending on the activity. While awaiting roadside assistance to dislodge the car from its Sirenesque mooring and move to an examination site, time distends. However it takes virtually no time at all for the car to officially be declared beyond Bondo.

Such is life--the life of a car, or the life of a radio show. But this 341st episode doesn't mean to imply that a large immovable object looms life-threateningly before Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar any more than before his large immovable microphone looms Kalvos.