Four things God wants you to know about your car

fourBalanced on the deck of a carved wooden boat on the top of a toilet tank at a pitstop in Newfoundland, there was a small pamphlet. The cover announced, “Four Things GOD Wants You to Know.” I didn’t get a chance to read the full pamphlet because it wasn’t that type of pitstop.

But the four things were this: God wants you to be saved; you cannot save yourself; only Jesus can save you; trust Jesus now!

That’s some fairly specific information. I wonder, though, whether these are the only four things God wants you to know or merely four of many. Maybe God also wants you to know that no good can come of tequila and that the Expos are never coming back. But then, they don’t call God a mystery for nothing.

Regardless, at this point in our road trip across Newfoundland, our poor old two-door was shaking like a caffeinated alcoholic in a self-massaging chair. It was handling like a shopping cart with a pair of wonky wheels. The potholes of Newfoundland and the weight of our gear had savaged the shocks and alignment, and the unearthly vibrations coming from the front axle was like the Rubbing of the Damned.

My mind, then, wasn’t fixated so much on my eternal soul as my mechanical one, namely would the car make it back home without breaking down, or, at very least, onto the ferry, or, better still, off the ferry? I was having a crisis of automotive faith.

What I really could have used was a pamphlet entitled, “Four Things God Wants You to Know About Your Car.”

 

God wants your car to be saved

As Jesus said to Lazarus, “Hey, you awake?” so too is God by your side as you drive down the byways and highways and over the hills and sidewalk curbs that, oops, you didn’t see there. He wants you and your car to arrive home safely from your camping journey. For God is impressed that you have taken this voyage to explore the beauty of His lands and stimulate His economy.

“And they travelled many days; with the running shoes they did stuff under their seats, and the suitcases piled heavenward, blocking the rear window, even unto the side rear windows, where the sleeping bags, pillows and blankies were, verily, squashed. And God looked down upon them; and noddeth did He to Himself: ‘Now that’s some packing.’” – Westfalia 3:17-18

 

You cannot save your car

Man is flawed, man is ignorant, man is driving with the windows rolled down in a pathetic attempt to drown out the terrible squealing coming from the engine. But God is onto you. He sees doubt in your heart and hears even the tiniest whisper, as when you lean over to your spouse and say, “I don’t think we’re going to make it,” and she replies, “You’re being paranoid,” and you say, “I think it’s the gargamel,” and she responds, “I thought we had that fixed!”

“Lo, then did Flautis lift the hood skyward, and poketh he at the vessels and receptacles therein, retracting sticks anointed with oil and other viscous fluids the purpose of which he knew not. ‘The tire humming: could it not be that the pavement upon which we travel is made partly of crushed locusts that resonate so? Yea, that must be it.’ And then did Flautis over-inflate his tires, making matters worse.” – John the Deere 4:16

 

Only Jesus can save your car

Let us recall the parable of the footprints in the sand:

A man walking along the beach looked back and saw that there were two sets of footprints in the sand. Just then, the Lord spoke to him: “See? That is where I walked with you.”

And the man replied, “And there, Lord, where our footprints disappear and tire tracks appear, is that where you towed me?”

“No,” said The Lord, “those are four-wheeler tracks. Those assholes wreck everything.”

 

Trust your car with Jesus now!

Honestly, it’ll delay your trip by, what, four hours? And you’ll be able to get on with the rest of your travels with peace of mind and a redeemed soul. With Jesus, you always get reasonable rates and a money-back-from-the-dead guarantee. Special this week: oil change into wine, $39.95. Plus, act now and get a free myrrh-scented air freshener!

“Yea, though the passing lane is the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I shall fear no diesel: for the car art under warrantee; the tie rod and the drive shaft, they are covered for me.” – Passats 24:4-5.

Remember: Jesus will carry your burden, but if you foolishly exceed the recommended weight limit, you’re on your own.

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Some things last

Over the last two weeks in Newfoundland, I’ve seen moose, caribou, hares, shooting stars, an iceberg and an old man’s white rump.

What these have in common is their fleeting nature, the idea that I saw them once, briefly, never to be seen again, perhaps by anyone – although given the tendency by some not to lock their shower stalls, I make no guarantee for white-man rump.

This is what draws tourists to Newfoundland, this notion that you can see something you’ve never seen before. Icebergs, for example. We caught what was reportedly the last one of the season, a chunk of ice that by now may be gone. We chased up a hill to get a better look. A piece of ice in the ocean was a highlight of our trip. That’s how it goes with things like icebergs.

We came upon a moose and her calf by the side of the road, stopped and took pictures, even though moose are everywhere in Newfoundland; they were introduced to the island around the turn of the last century, and they have done, as they say, very well. But for us mainlanders, they’re a rarity. And the pair we saw, perhaps no human will see them again.

This is Newfoundland. Geologically, socially, you get the sense that we are living the smallest of moments in time. We’re a blink, like the meteor showers of August, and then history washes us away.

But don’t be depressed; some things last. Continue reading

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Chaos in Paradise

People like the edges of things. 

Newfoundland is all about the edges, the seacoasts that positively shout, “How’s she goin’, baey, I’m rugged.” There’s not much in the middle except people rushing to get to the sides and the corners and the pointy parts jutting into the sea that, for the record, is cold. Abby is determined to swim in it, though, and undoubtedly will do so before our trek across Newfoundland is complete.

But back to the edge. On our first fog-bound day, we went south on the Avalon Peninsula to Cape St. Mary’s to view the second-largest gannet colony in North America, which is not as disappointing as it sounds. I’m sure the largest is impressive but peeking over the edges of the cliff at Bird Rock, hoping not to get shoved over by the pushy Quebec caravaners who had been dogging us since we boarded the ferry, we felt “We’re in Newfoundland.” Continue reading

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Things I know about Newfoundland

Our luxury ride at the Canaan Motel, Maine... which is a whole other story.

Our luxury ride at the Canaan Motel, Maine… which is a whole other story.

By the time you read this, we will have landed or be on the verge of landing in Newfoundland. Does one land if travelling by ferry? Deboat? Debark? Is “debark” worse than “de bite”? I would have to say yes.

The ferry voyage from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Argentia, on the eastern Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, takes about 15 hours. It’s not exactly an Alaskan cruise, but it does hold the prospect of being Alaskan, given that Newfoundland is undergoing its coldest summer in 20 years.

I know this because my friend Rick, who lives in St. John’s, keeps posting weather-related links, including that bit about the RCMP arresting the local CBC weather man in connection with the unexplained disappearance of summer. Continue reading

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There is no “I” in “ego” — strangely enough

That's not me.

That’s not me.

At the school where I work, the staff sometimes organizes games against the students. If anyone asks me why I don’t participate, I’ll explain, “I have a medical condition.” If they press me further, I’ll say, “I’m allergic to humiliation.”

Or sometimes I’ll convince myself that I’m simply not competitive. It’s easy for a man who’s not good at many things to say he’s not competitive until he finds that thing he’s good at. I play Trivial Pursuit like lives are hanging in the balance. My wife likes to remind me how I forced everyone into Monopoly bankruptcy rather than make deals, even though that’s the whole point of the game and it happened one time!

So I am competitive, and I do hate humiliation and I am bad at sports. The solution, therefore, is to avoid sports at all costs, unless it’s against people who are worse than me, i.e. my children… when they were much younger. Continue reading

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Your summer reading Guido

BookStackThe Collapsible Marriage
By Gwen Gladenia

In her sequel to her bestselling The Disposable Date and The Travel-Size Engagement, Gladenia asks the hard questions about wedded life: is love forever; is mustard a vegetable; is Wednesday garbage day? Through the ongoing adventures and interminable foot rubs of Alex and Sandy, Cape Brangeline’s most androgynous newlyweds, Gladenia uses her trademark wit and hand-me-down tweezers to concoct a tale that will leave the reader positively lopsided with inner ear problems. An Oprah’s Bratwurst Club selection. Continue reading

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I’d sooner not be a consumer

When it comes to consumerism, my wife and I are outliers. What’s a consumer outlier? Someone who would rather leave an old bunk bed out lying by the curb labelled “TAKE ME” than try to make a couple of bucks selling it.

Or say I’m at a store and there’s a sale on shorts. I’ll say to myself, “But I already own a pair of shorts.” Later, I’ll come across a photo and realize I was wearing those same shorts 10 years ago, and I’ll think to myself, “Classic!”

When I do buy things, I never haggle. I waggle, straggle, finagle and gargle; at breakfast I bagel, but I rarely haggle. Whatever’s on the sticker, I pay or walk away. Pay or walk away, that’s my motto. Actually, my motto is “I Used To Be Fun,” but the other thing works too. Continue reading

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