Herbietown - Why, Dad, Why?

Why, Dad, Why?

I feel compelled to start this post with a few details about what kind of man my father is.

In 1983, he was the leading hitter for the World Champion fastpitch softball team, the Raybestos Cardinals.    No small feat.  He started a company from scratch, took it public and then sold it.  Also very impressive.  More importantly, when he took me to the Final Four in Tampa and we watched the UConn Huskies win a National Championship, our seats were 2 rows in front of the governor of Connecticut. That was awesome.  Even more awesome was that he owned a minor league baseball team for 7 years.  And I guess I should mention that he paid for me to go to college, too.

So yeah, my father has had both an impressive athletic and business career, and he’s done some amazing things for me.  I’m proud of him.  He’s definitely much cooler than your father.

But he’s not perfect, and that’s why I’m writing this post.  My father has the worst taste in cars of anyone I’ve ever known.

Growing up, we always had American cars.  No objections there (though a Harvard MBA should have read The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection).  So along the way we had a Mercury Sable, a Ford Taurus, a Chrysler Town & Country, a Jeep Cherokee and then a Jeep Grand Cherokee. No complaints so far.

The problems started when I turned 16.

We were looking in the Bargain News for a used car.  My mother refused to let me get a new car when I turned 16, even though my father was prepared to buy me a brand new Dodge Neon.  Not that I was in love with a Dodge Neon, I wanted a Jeep Wrangler.  But it was her religious conviction that 16 year olds shouldn’t have new cars. She felt that a used car would build my character. (Some good that did.)

Anyway, none of that matters now.  What matters is that while we were shopping for cars FOR ME, my father came home with a car FOR HIM.  A little $5,000 toy that he just couldn’t resist.

A used white convertible Mazda Miata.


It was so small that he practically didn’t fit in it. His head stuck up over the front windshield.  I know this is sexist but let’s be honest, this car was designed and engineered for a woman.  Just look at it.  It’s tiny.   It has this cute feature where the headlights pop up when you need them, and then fold back into the car when you don’t.  I’m sorry but that just seems so feminine to me.  Somehow Like Sally Carrera from Cars:

Sally Carrera

Sally Carrera

Except at least Sally was a Porsche.

Who buys a white Mazda Miata convertible?  I mean, come on, there are so many other better options for a sportscar.  You might be thinking “to each his own, stop making fun of your father…and after all he did for you.”

Well, you have to realize that his choices affected me.  I took that car on a date and thought I was so cool for having a convertible.  I remember loading up the CD changer with my music so I could roll in style, and on the way to the date I played Blackstreet’s No Diggity on full blast.  No Diggity, No Doubt.  Hmm hmm.

Shoot me now.

That girl probably thought I was borrowing my mom’s car.  No wonder things didn’t work out.

Later, when my father was fortunate enough that he could really afford to buy a nice car for himself, he got a Mercedes SLK-230, another car designed and engineered for a woman.  Just look at it.

Mercedes SLK-230 looks a little like this

Mercedes SLK-230 looks a little like this

By that point in his life, money was no longer an excuse.  He could have afforded a real Porsche, a BMW, an Audi, whatever.  A chick magnet car.  Instead he got a chick car.

He got it in blue, to match the logo of the Bridgeport Bluefish, the baseball team that he owned.  That was actually pretty bad ass.  But why such a small sportscar?  Why not get something a little bigger, a little more manly?

Finally, the icing on the cupcake, a few years ago he bought another little car for tooling around town in.  I’m not making this up, I swear.  This car is sitting in his garage right now, unless he took it out with him to the nail salon.

The color of this car is called "Passion Cabriolet"

The color of this car is called “Passion Cabriolet”

He owns a bright red convertible SmartCar.  Meep meep.

Dad, I love you, but next time you’re going to buy a car, please take me along with you.

Although I inherited my mother’s insane liberal guilt about wasting money on fancy cars, I have no problem helping you spend your hard-earned money.  You owe it to your other sons, who are at the age where they’ll be borrowing your cars for their own dates.  Don’t you want them to roll up in style?