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June 24, 2009
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My first car was a 1982 Chevy Citation that I had when I was a senior in high school in 1994. If you don’t know what it looks like, it’s the kind of car Kim Basinger drives in the classic 1989 “Batman” movie.



And the only reason I got the Chevy Citation is because my grandfather, or pépé, as we refer to them in the French Canadian community, passed away. My pépé’s name was René Carpentier and strangely enough, he was a carpenter by trade. In addition to carpentry, he loved collecting junk. He was kinda like a white Fred Sanford. He also loved setting up tables at flea markets where he would display the old antiques he found and polished up. And he didn’t care if he sold anything either because most of the time he didn’t. I think pépé just liked being around junk.

Personally, I never understood the allure of a flea market. My mother forced me to go with pépé all the time and I don’t think I ever once enjoyed myself. In fact, the only memory I have is some fat cougar at the snack bar who held a lit cigarette in her hand as she made me a snow cone. The image of that cigarette between her finger tips as she packed down the ice with her sweaty palm still makes me shudder today. I’ve never smoked a cigarette and I’m convinced that’s the reason why. I still love snow cones though:




My pépé’s favorite thing to collect were old license plates. He had hundreds of ‘em. And I even remember he and his license plate collection were on a news segment called “Dave’s People” when I was really little. Dave Silverbrand was this guy who did positive, slice-of-life stories for the local CBS affiliate in Maine and one day pépé got the call to be one of Dave’s people.

I think my pépé loved collecting license plates because he loved collecting cars. He was always trading one junky car for another. He must have had at least three different cars every year. As he got older, he couldn’t run around like he used to so he finally settled on the Chevy Citation mentioned above. And I don’t exactly remember when it was announced, but my mom told me that it had already been decided that we would inherit pépé’s car when he passed away. Once my mom said that, I couldn’t wait for pépé to die.

And fucking Christ, it took the old man forever to die, too. I’m not kidding. He was in and out of the hospital for like three months. The asshole kept getting sick and then miraculously recover. It happened like three times and I couldn’t take it anymore, so I did the only thing I could -- I killed pépé.

I snuck into his hospital room one afternoon when he was sleeping and I pulled a bunch of important looking cords. I took an IV out of his arm. I even added a number “3” to one of his medical charts by his bed, thus changing the number of milligrams of some medicine he was taking from “30” to “330.” I’m not sure what killed him exactly, but I did the job. Sure enough he was dead the next day and I was driving to his funeral in style.

But you know what – that Chevy Citation ended up being a piece of shit lemon and the transmission blew out a week later and I had to dump $2,000 into it. So fuck you, pépé! Fuck you and your Chevy Citation!
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