09:08:17 pm on
Thursday 20 Jun 2024

A Trick of Time
Matt Seinberg

When we were kids, we all had dreams of what we wanted to be when we grew up. Girls wanted to be models, princesses and actors. Boys wanted to be firefighters, police officers, astronauts and racecar drivers.

I wanted to be a racecar driver because I liked going fast. It didn't matter, car or bike, I wanted to go fast. My late grandmother, Dorothy, bought me my first racecar set, an Aurora HO scale Thunderjet 500 racetrack. She also bought me the Montgomery Ward Golden Gate Bridge AFX racetrack.

That hooked me. I used to spend hours in the basement working on my track and cars, tinkering and upgrading them. I would take my allowance and buy "hot rod" parts for the cars to make them go fast. I would order even parts from catalogs and wait anxiously for them to arrive.

I learned to drive in a 1972 Volkswagen Beetle, with an automatic transmission. When my father first brought the car home, he had to explain it to me. I had to shift the gears, but not use a clutch. That was cool.

My mother had a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass SS, with a 350 cubic inch engine and a 4-barrel carburetor. That car was fast and I wanted to drive that more than Dad's bug.

My first car was a used 1975 Volkswagen Squareback. It wasn't fast. I think the fastest I got it to go was around 80 mph. The Cutlass easily hit 120 mph. I hated that Squareback. It was slow, barely had heat in the winter and no AC in the summer. It also had some sort of leak in the cabin that rotted out the floor. I was so happy when I sold that car.

I loved watching stock car races on television, as a kid, and loved the Plymouth Roadrunner racer with the big wing in the back. They are rare, now, and expensive. Back in the 70s, they cost around $5000. Today, they are worth ten times that, if you can find one.

I recently found a game for my phone, in the Google Play Store, called "Real Racing 3" by Electronic Arts. It is the most realistic racing game I have ever played. It rivals anything you play on any home gaming system. My friend Charlie, the fellow with the green pickles, saw me playing it one day and asked about it. Since then, he's told me how addicted he has gotten to it.

You race against other players in what they call Time Shifted Mode, so it seems very realistic. You can race for dollars and fame points for every race. You can use the dollars and gold coins to buy and upgrade cars.

If you've never had the chance to race a Ford GT, a Dodge Viper or Porsche 911, this game is for you. The true beauty is that no matter how many cars you hit to move up, the car repairs itself, magically. As if that would happen in real life, I should be so lucky.

Speaking of fast cars, on my way to work today, I saw a brand new, 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, also known as the C7. This thing looks fast no matter what speed it goes. I just wish I were moving slower, so I could have gotten a better look at it.

When I was a kid, I loved Corvettes and always wanted a 1968 Stingray. Today, that car is a collectible item, worth a lot of money.

The funny thing is, speed is for the young; only the more mature can actually afford a new Corvette. Time likes to play tricks on us.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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