[Editor’s note: This is Professor Gumby’s first blog post, ever. It’s somewhat thoughtful and well-organized, as if he’s been taking too many of his own creative writing courses. For a glimpse of the real Gumby, consider what he wrote to me behind the scenes: “Now I just have to get a pet and check out this whole cremation thing.” Please, please don’t let this worry you. First of all, Gumby loves animals, and second he is too technologically challenged to strike a match. I’m just explaining why he needs an editor.]
This morning in a part of Atlanta called Druid Hills (more on that later, once I climb down from this great height), I saw the most interesting thing. It was a canary yellow Smart Car. Even with the black tires and the black interior, it stood out like a 400 watt bulb suddenly switching on. Like Jackson Pollock accidently dropping a splash of yellow on the crummy neighborhood of liquor stores, empty lots, dead trees and used car dealerships with no cars in them (no kidding). I pulled up alongside the Smart Car.
It’s perhaps important to note here that this is only the first time in my life I have pulled up alongside a Smart Car. I usually see them going the other way, or getting clipped by Dodge Rams and being launched into low orbit. The only person I’ve known who owned a Smart Car never drove it under 70 mph: through school zones too, I’m guessing. Gamboling through the legs of the kids.
The Canary Yellow Smart Car was going straight. I was turning right, my destination somewhere in the mystical, wooden center of Druid Hills. We waited for our lights. Then I noticed that this was an Advertising Smart Car. In curley-que letters I was informed that my grief over the death of Rover, or Blue (“he was a good dog, Blue”), or Precious the Pony, any pet I ever loved, cuddled, fed out of the palm of my hand, toyed with a ball, poked with a stick, raced with across the plains of Africa, walked with on a leash – any beloved pet I had lost, my grief would be eased by my pet’s cremation. Ease Your Loss with Cremation, it said.
Then the light changed. The Smart Car went one way, I another. There’s a lot more to be said about this, I know. Something about the Romans cremating their dead, something about the ancient Egyptians mummifying their cats, maybe something about Jim Morrison. For sure there’s something more to be said about Smart Cars.