High school was fun. Girls in plaid skirts (hey, it was the required attire in a Catholic school), the TV club, suicide sprints in ice hockey, that foxy Ms. Poliwoda who taught me the value of words, and those crazy lunch ladies who took pride in serving me chicken fingers from the ninth ring of hell. Every time I pass a fire station, however, I’m reminded of my favorite part – the morning commute. Here’s my story.
It wasn’t all that exciting at first. I was one of two students (the other being a great guy – we’ll call him Slick Rick) in a certain region of Montgomery county, and so, was forced to take a school bus chock full of rich and snobby elementary school kids. We were actually bullied by the little punks quite often – hey, they understood the law of numbers. But whatever – Slick Rick and I would just listen away on our CD players, on which we’d frequently play the same album. Incubus’ “Make Yourself” comes to mind. And our bus driver was a character, always telling those “no-good punks” to “sit down and shut up”. Little bastards.
Then, Slick Rick got his driver’s license, and things started getting really interesting. Slick Rick began picking me up in his totally awesome white 1988 Cadillac DeVille. Primus and Dream Theater would absolutely blare out of its speakers as we made the 20-minute trek to our school every morning. The other students would regularly stare at us as we found our parking spot. Sure, they probably thought we were weird, but in our head, they thought we were simply awesome. And we were, dammit.
As time went on, the DeVille started having strange, though comical, problems. On a particularly hilarious day, when Slick Rick honked the horn at a driver waiting for a certain shade of green (another random Incubus reference for the smart ones in the crowd), the horn got jammed and stayed that way all the way to school. Another day, we were “racing” another group of students out of the school’s parking lot when the accelerator became stuck. Slick Rick went to fix the problem while I held the wheel from the passenger seat (yeah, don’t try that at home). This kind of stuff eventually became par for the course, and we came to love every minute of it.
But, listen. One day stand out among all the rest.
Remember that classic Mentos commercial where that sleazy businessman blocked in that girl’s really tiny car? And this group of large men randomly emerge from the street and simply pick up her car to move it? With that amazing jingle? Sure you do.
We were driving home from school when we pulled into the parking lot of a local train station (this was part of a shortcut we used to take). The DeVille – bless its heart – started dying on us. So, we pulled into an empty area of the lot on an incline and let it finally fizz out. We cursed for a while, thought out loud, and tried laughing it off. Suddenly, the car began slowly rolling down the incline. We jumped out to spring into some sort of confused and misguided action. Quite frankly, I was an asshole; I burst out into a furious flurry of laughter with absolutely no chance of controlling myself. Slick Rick – bless his heart – started wailing for help while he stood in front of the car trying to push it back up the incline to no avail. But don’t let that fool you; he was laughing too.
Into the parking lot pulls a giant fire truck with about six brawny firemen hanging off the sides (mind out of the gutter). The truck pulls up behind Slick Rick, who’s essentially about to be crushed by his own Cadillac, as the firemen jump off and take control of the car. They easily push it up back up the hill to stable ground, wave, and hop directly back on the truck as it pulls away. Slick Rick and I just stare at each other for a few minutes trying to make sense of what just transpired. Eventually, he calmly states, “Dude, it’s like we’re in a fuckin’ Mentos commercial!”. I couldn’t have agreed more.
I’m not entirely sure what the point here is, but I like to think that everyone has a “Mentos Moment”. I hope so, anyway. They’re quite awesome.