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Two Reasons I Write Comedy

"At least it's not on fire."

12-Write Comedy Pauline Baird Jones

There are at least two good reasons that I write comedy into my books.  

I was driving with my sister in her car this week and she commented on the funny sound the A/C made and I said, “At least it’s not on fire.” 

We both had a laugh at what ended up remembering what turned out to be a kind of comic episode in my past with what we affectionately call the flame-mobile. 

So here’s the first reason/story behind that comment and name. (Yes, there is fire.)

The son had an early appointment at MD Anderson for some tests, so the day kind of sucked before it even got started. After fighting rush hour traffic all the way there, we finally turned off into the parking lot and were wending our way up to a level where we could legally park.

I had started to smell smoke, but I thought it was a traffic thing, not an our-car thing. 

I realized it was an OUR-car thing when smoke started coming out from under the hood.

I pulled off onto a level where we weren’t supposed to be and pulled crookedly into some empty spaces.

The son and I jumped out and retreated to what we hoped was a safe distance.

I could hear the crackle of fire! 

So I called the Hubs and got his voice mail.

“I’m not available to take your call right now. If this is an emergency call this number.”

I called that number. 

“I’m not available to take your call right now. If this is an emergency call this number.”

I called THAT number.

“I’m not available to take your call right now. If this is an emergency call this number.”

It was the first number I called. (This is probably why I write comedy and science fiction—causality loops are my life.) 

I may have yelled into my cell phone. 

I told the son to go to his appointment and decided to call my dad, who knows most things car-related. And so the son wouldn’t hear me if I started swearing (I’ve since given it up—it doesn’t help at all. Trust me, I know.).

Dad’s not home. It’s six am there and he’s out running. My mom, who I woke up, asks if anything is wrong. 

So far the car hasn’t burst into flames, so I tell her, “No everything is fine. I just wanted to ask him a car question. Sorry, I woke you!” 

Eventually, I get to talk to hubs and my dad. 

The car doesn’t go up in flames, but forever after, wisps of smoke come out the A/C vents and for a while, it would randomly catch on fire again. (Apparently, when cars catch fire under the hood they don’t explode.) 

And later, I get a ticket for parking in the wrong place. I write back and explain what happened.

Yes, it is embarrassing and is probably out there on one of those “funny things people write to get out of tickets” sites. 

But I did get out of the ticket. Ha!

There are actually more adventures in the flame-mobile (before we finally got it fixed—which never stopped the smoking smell), but this post is already long. 

And now for the second “sister story.” 

It’s shorter.

We had another, smaller car that the Hubs drove to work. He had to park on the street because the flame mobile was in the garage. 

The “street” was really low where he parked because it had a drainage thing (what do you call those???) on that side. 

During the night it rained. A whole lot of rain.

The hubs had left a bottle of dish soap in the back seat.

Don’t ask me why. I still don’t know.

But the soap bottle leaked, so when the hubs went out to go to work, all he could see were bubbles inside the car. Lots and lots of bubbles. And under the bubbles? Water. 

So we called that car the bubble-mobile. It always smelled like Dawn, which is better than smoke.

Yes, you get weird looks when you use those names for your vehicles. 

Anyway, none of our cars have disaster names (right now). The Hubs truck could have been called the crash-mobile but it was totaled. 

So yeah, no weird names for the vehicles. 

Do you have a painfully fond name for a vehicle, either now or in the past?

Perilously yours,


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