VIP Sponsors


Damn, I'm Getting Old

Damn, I'm Getting Old


I got older the other day. Way, way older than I ever planned on. Certainly way older that my past would have predicted. Anyway, I had a birthday, and I celebrated it by eating a small piece of cake that was loaded with sugar. Diabetics are allowed to have just a smidgen taste, you know. And that was more than enough to satisfy my sweet toof.

I spent the day ‘membering my buddies who have gone ahead. Parks, and Brock, and Rickman, and even Pete, although I never considered Pete to be one of the “guys.”  I always kind of felt sympathy for Pete from when he lost both of his boys to an airplane crash up in Colorado years ago. I felt far worse for Margie.

But I got to considering just how useless we mortals become when we age. Some of us age well, often gracefully, and on rare occasion, we age with plenty of physical strength right up until we pull the plug. I think Jim Clark will be like that, because he has ripped abs in his poop.

But, sure as shooting, the older we get the more invisible we get. Until we just shrivel up and blow away in the wind. And mostly, nobody notices we are gone. At least for awhile. Parks was kind of like that. Brock wasn’t, he was robust to the end. So, I am now even more invisible, and who cares? Only the tax people, because their only reason for existence is to collect money from even invisible people. You got a name, you gotta pay. Maybe even they will go away if we answer the phone by replying, “nope, nobody here by that name.”

So, the interesting thing is that the older one gets, the more money one needs, for health stuff. But, the big rub is that the older one gets, the more expensive things have become while a person has been invisible. I mean, you checked how much a pair of flathead heads cost now? Are they any better than they were back in 1950? Not likely.

By the way, I liked Sharp heads, the thick ones. Used them a lot, along with the Sharp dual intake. Made my own headers out of discarded but new exhaust pipes, did the penny in the exhaust bypass in the block deck so the rap would wake the dead. Anyway, when you get old you finally realize that the Ford flatmotor sucks, Big Time. I mean, you seen what the guys get out of those banger Iron Dukes?Put one of those in your midget and you have absolutely no need for that left front wheel and tire. If you don’t know what that means, you are already over the hill anyway.

So, what I did was pack up my toothbrush and head for the Grampians, some hills over on the west side of the state of Victoria. You can figure out where that might be. Not much for hills, but pretty great on an ancient continent that has far too few wrinkles for a respectable land mass. Like, for three days in February, which is middle of the summer, the place comes alive with juke music and hot rod exhaust and all the stuff that really matters. Unless you are too old to do the boogie anyway. In which case, you just kind of shuffle around and kick a few tires. But since you are invisible, no one asks you anything about anything. Especially flat motors. Did I tell you I really don’t like flathead Ford V8 engines?

Street Rodder mag tech guru Ron Ceridono likes flatmotors, mostly I think be cause they always need working on. And Ronnie Poo cannot abide having nothing to work on. A match made in somewhere.

I don’t think they make a neat sound, no matter what kind of muffler you use. Or no sound deadener at all. First of all, the ignition and coil are exactly where you can’t get to them. Henry designed them to be impossible to service. And if you need to do a valve job, you have to have several long crowbars and the patience of Job. He was invisible, too, you know. You ever see him? Thought not.

Nope, in advanced age you come to realize it is best to just sit in the sun (or the shade), keep the mouth shut, and rely on a good wooden rocking chair. No one pays any attention to an invisible man in a rocking chair, no matter what the speed decals say. Although I have been thinking of maybe applying an old SCTA speed badge to my rocker. B-Street Roadster, 97mph. Bonneville, 1953.  I’ll attach a note, Set with an invisible flat motor.
The one I built in my basement and then had to wrestle up the outside stairwell to Terra Upus. The one George Schrieber drove in that borrowed Deuce coupe to get that dashboard plaque. The motor we broke, and never did bother to fix. We had other, important things to do that were not invisible.

Just a few years ago, Ronnie Poo and I had a small block Chevy taking up garage floor space over in a corner. With nothing to do, Poo Bear had built the street motor, but we had nowhere to put it other than the cement floor. Then a buddy from up Billings, Montana way scattered his super Whizzer Bike modified roadster engine at the Salt Flats, and we let him use the streeter. “What if I break it?” he whined? So, big freaking deal. We make another one with the parts. He didn’t break the engine, even after several years, but he did break his class speed records at B’vIlle. But, he turned out to be invisible, too. He got too old. Even though he had been a heartthrob rock musician around his home area of Minneapolis, he just faded into the sunset. Where most of us old’uns now live.