There's nothing more pathetic than a mid-life crisis
DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour email@example.com
Just like the ball dropping in Time’s Square to celebrate the New Year and robins marking the first signs of spring, so too are there tell-tale signs that designate the presence of a man mounting a mid-life crisis. Among the clues are: a bad toupee, dressing in the modern version of disco clothes, the presence of a buxom blonde barely out of high school and attending rock concerts and dancing with all the grace of Elaine Benes on Seinfeld. But the single, most visible indication of a mid-life crisis is what kind of vehicle he drives.
There’s no set age for a mid-life crisis but it generally covers the span of late-40s/early-50s. Chances are the kids are grown and gone, the job has assumed all the glamour of working in a coal mine and sadly, the marriage has become as stale as a three-week-old open box of Ritz Crackers. What’s left to stop a man from eating a Smith & Wesson sandwich? A slick car, that’s what!
Mid-life crises are the dreams of exotic car salesmen throughout the world. Show me a 350-pound accountant going through a mid-life crisis and I’ll show you the title to his recently-purchased Porsche 911. Show me a skinny, balding dentist and I’ll not only show you the title to is Mazdaspeed 5 but also his personal thank you letter from Sy Sperling (Hair Club for Men). Show me a 55-year-old thoracic surgeon and chances are he has a red Maserati protected by a car cover, parked in his private space in the hospital garage.
Volkswagen's mid-life crisis TV ad of a couple years ago. We don't know if it actually helped anyone. It might have sold a Passat.
Nobody having a mid-life crisis is shopping for a Kia or a Buick. Rather, they think the height of cool is driving around in a European roadster, an Escalade (an Escalade Hybrid, if they really give two hoots in hell about the environment), a Hummer (for those who don’t give two hoots in hell about the environment) or a Japanese high-performance coupe like the Nissan GT-R.
Full disclosure: I actually had two mid-life crisis vehicles. The first was a 1984 Dodge Convertible (in 1984) and the second was a 1985 Ford Mustang GT (in 1985). I thought I was really something with what little hair I had left blowing around when I had my convertible top down, and running through all five gears in my GT’s manual transmission. I was in such tip-top shape that I could leg-press almost 300 pounds., although I did this whenever I arose from a sitting position. Fortunately, visions of a proctologist came to me in a dream and convinced me I should start purchasing sedans if I ever wanted to be comfortable in my own skin (because God knows I wasn’t comfortable in my tight clothing).
Being an advocate of “Things Could Be Worse,” and now 25 years beyond my mid-life crisis, I have some profound wisdom to pass on to all you guys who are waiting for your turn at the mid-life crisis tent: do a quick scan of the day’s obits and look at some of the deceased. You may drive a two-year-old Mercury Marquis…but you’re still cooler than the late-Artie Katz, whose widow now drives his Jaguar XK-R Coupe.
Happy New Year no matter which crisis you’re dealing with.