Tuesday, November 06, 2001

Do you have a name for your car? If so, what is it and how did it gets its name? If not, what would you name it and why? Could it be Christine?

My first car was Sherman. It was actually the first car for two of my friends and myself. It took three of us to own it, and it cost less than $100. During high school we bought it off our film teacher and mentor in exchange for doing yardwork and gardening and some small amount of cash. We cleared away the jungle that his property had become, and dug out the remains of this ten year old (a 1968 or '69?) Pontiac station wagon the color of L.A. sunshine (primer gray with rusty brown splotches).

To start Sherman required getting beneath the car with a crowbar and pushing the flywheel into the correct position where the one remaining gear would catch the ignition. Not too elegant a move on dates, but it worked, and it got my buddies and I out of my mother's car.

Sherman had two stories for his name. The first was that he was named for the Sherman Tank, and that was certainly fitting. But in truth, Sherman was named after Mr. Peapody's pet boy, Sherman, of cartoon fame and the Way-Back Machine.

Next came my "real" first car, a little yellow Mazda RX3, known as My Sharona (it was the summer of '79 and the Knack were at their peak). Sharona was followed by a black Datsun 310 with the name of Sheena, and to paraphrase the Ramones, Sheena was a punk rocker. Sheena bore the license plate LO BDGT, and her theme song changed from the Ramones to the Kinks, Low Budget, but her name remained the same.

After Sheena melted down on Highway 101, just past the exit for Avila Beach, I got Joan Jetta, a gray '84 VW Jetta (obviously), named after the former Runaway, she Loves Rock 'n' Roll, Joan Jett. Not that I was ever such a huge Joan Jett fan, but the name just sort of fit, and I don't question these things.

Joan Jetta proved to be my last named car. My current gold Saturn is only known as the Saturn. I've searched for name, but nothing has come. These things happen in the first days of ownership, or they don't come at all.

Dave and Bill in Sheena
Dave and Bill getting lost in Sheena

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