92. It Doesn't Have That 'New Car' Smell
Dylan's car was 20 years old, but the faded paint made it look even older. His friend Joe told him no girl would ever go out in a car that looked like that. So Dylan took the car to a paint shop and got it painted dark blue for only $200. He was very pleased with the new look. The car stereo did not work. Joe told him that no girl wanted to be in a car without a good sound system. So Dylan bought a nice stereo and installed it himself.
Months went by. One day, Dylan told Joe that no girl had ridden in his "new" car yet. "That's because there are other problems," Joe told him. "Like what?" "Well, you don't exactly have the world's best personality," Joe said. "That's a little more important than a paint job." So Dylan told Joe he would ask a psychologist to give him a new personality.
Recently, Dylan had a new problem—gasoline. He smelled gas after he started his car; he smelled it while driving the car. Was he driving a bomb? What if someone tossed out a cigarette near his car? Would it explode into a thousand pieces—pieces that included Dylan?
That night, he opened his car manual. It was a well-thumbed book. He had a car problem at least once a month, and he was always looking up ways to fix the problems. He thought this might be a carburetor problem.
The next day, he took his toolbox out to his car. He opened the hood. He started up the car and looked all around the carburetor for a gas leak. He could smell the gas, but he couldn't find a liquid trail. After a few minutes, however, he found the source of the problem. It was the fuel line.
"All right!" he thought. "All I have to do is buy a new line and install it." But it wasn't long before he realized that this was a job for a mechanic. So he got into his car, opened all the windows, and drove to the closest mechanic. The mechanic quoted Dylan a price of only $50. He told Dylan to come back in an hour.
Dylan walked down the street to the coffee shop and bought himself a cup of coffee. He read the paper, drank the coffee, and then walked back to the shop.
"We couldn't fix it," said the mechanic. "The fuel line wasn't the problem; you need a new fuel pump."
"A new fuel pump? How much is that?" Dylan asked.
"Parts and labor? I think it'll be about $200. We'll have to special-order the pump. This car is so old that they might not even make pumps for it any more. Do you want me to try to order it for you? You'll have to put the money up first, of course."
"Let me think about it. Here's the $50 I owe you. I'll give you a call when I decide what to do."
But Dylan had already decided what to do. He had bought his car for only $1,100, but had put over $3,000 into it since then. When he got home, he called the Car Donation Corporation. They would take the car off his hands for free. Enough was enough. It was time to let go.
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