I have been looking for a new car, so I have been paying close attention to the automobile ads in a certain statewide New Hampshire newspaper. (And with our annual new car and truck review coming out next Sunday, I know what I will be doing come Sunday afternoon.)
Middle grandson Mike might be related to Henry Ford. I asked Mike what color car I should get. Mike said, "black."
Mike is a black-and-white kind of kid, given to solid, simple replies to questions. "No," being his favorite answer. "Yes" ranks a distant second.
Mike probably wouldn't be a car salesman. My car search has reminded me of the persistence of the car salesman, a hearty breed genetically wired never to take "no" for an answer. (Or, as a Realtor friend likes to remind me, a "No" is a definite "maybe.")
I don't mind persistence. But I was a bit irked the other day when a sales guy, having taken down copious information about my needs and my current conveyance, sat down next to me, leaned in, and said, "So, Mr. McQuaid, tell me about your car."
He sounded like a CIA guy trying to get the wonderful James Spader to spill the beans on the new "Blacklist" show on NBC.
It seemed an odd request, because I had already told him about my car, which I bought new, have had for 10 years, and which has low mileage and a pleasant attitude.
Which is what I repeated to the man, looking to see if his next move was to hook me to a lie detector or a waterboard.
He paused and then, looking like Perry Mason before a jury, pounced.
"What about it being totally demolished?" he asked.
"What? Who? Me? My car?"
"Yes!" he said. "According to our records, your car was totaled in December of 2007."
Now, I will admit I am getting a bit hazy with my recollections on certain matters, like golf scores or what I had for lunch, or whether I spoke last week to the Turks, the Hooksett Kiwanis, or the Ancient Order of Hibernians. (In fact, it was all three.)
But I am pretty sure I would remember demolishing my beautiful little five-speed, manual shift Lexus with the sports suspension and the Bob Dylan disc in the CD player.
But there it was, duly noted by something called "Carfax," which apparently has access to more information on car data than Edward Snowden took from the NSA.
Carfax, clearly, gets things wrong.
Much to my relief, I have been told that the whole thing can be resolved and corrected. All I need is to get the U.S. House, Senate, and the President to agree to it. Piece of cake.
Write to Joe McQuaid at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @deucecrew.