Until a few months ago, I was a loyal NPR listener, enjoying such programs as A Prairie Home Companion, Elitist Intellectuals Discuss Jazz, and Bach’s Bowels.
I even pledged money one year, only to find out they don’t accept coin rolls.
But ever since I called in to Car Talk, my support for public radio has crumbled away like the bed of a 1986 Toyota pickup.
Car Talk, if you’re not familiar, is a hilarious program consisting of two brothers, “Click” and “Clack,” who dispense auto repair advice to Volvo or Honda-driving callers from Oregon and Massachusetts. Once in a while, someone calls in from North Carolina with a question about a 1974 El Camino, and the boys tell him to “sell it.”
People routinely call the program to settle marital disputes about driving. I fell into that category. As every sane person knows, you’re supposed to leave the button on the hand brake alone, so the brake makes that “click-click-click” sound as you pull it up. My wife, automobile heathen that she is, presses the button in so it makes no noise.
Furthermore, she refuses to recognize that I, as the carrier of our family’s lone y-chromosome and a former driving instructor, have superior automobile knowledge and should be trusted on such issues.
(One of my wife’s most annoying qualities is her refusal to respect “expert” opinions without heavy scrutiny if they don’t make sense in her own head. Since when were women allowed to think independently, anyway?)
So I called 1-888-CAR-TALK and left a message. The producer, smelling blood, called me back, and I participated in a recording of the show.
Needless to say, “Click” and “Clack” did not share my opinion about the emergency brake. In fact, they went so far as to declare, “Chuck, Chuck, you’ve got your head up your keister.”
(Just so you know, “keister” was not the word originally used; good thing it’s not a live show).
“The Tappet Brothers” insisted that whether you hold the button on your hand brake or not makes virtually no difference to any sane person. I remain skeptical. They were probably just providing whatever answer had the most entertainment value, looking for any opportunity to tell a listener that his noggin was lodged inside his most cherished personal orifice.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, NPR had to re-broadcast the segment a few weeks ago during their pledge-drive, complete with my weak attempts at humor, and, later, my sad and pathetic pleas for them to stop dismembering my ego.
My wife, of course, remains gleeful. She could be on the worst PMS-fueled, raging migraine rampage of her life, and I just have to mention the words “Car Talk” and she breaks into a broad smile and repeats the taunt, “Chuck, Chuck, you’ve got your head up your keister.”
Our two-year-old has even started repeating it.
I’m glad I can bring so much joy to my family.