Scratch your Car and Feel the Freedom!

A wise drunk weird crazy man once told me that the first thing he always did after buying a new truck was drive it through a bunch of brush to get some scratches on it. I was a kid at the time and thought this sounded crazy.

Now XX years later, I realize the wisdom in this.

My work truck is an old beat up Ford, which looks good overall for its age but has that spot where I nicked a mailbox, the dents from poorly-aimed firewood thrown in the bed, and the place where I kissed a wall in a parking garage (not due to unfamiliarity, but from trying to do 35 on a twisting ramp I had become too comfortable with…)

Last year I bought a new (to me) car which still had pristine paint, no dents, no scratches. And while it is a blast to drive, I found myself parking far away from other cars, and worrying about getting a nick or a scratch in the paint. However, when I drive my truck, I don’t have a care in the world.

Only about a month after owning it, a valet parked the car and backed it into a wall, creating a series of nice scratches on the back bumper. Of course I wasn’t excited about this, but I’ve realized since that those scratched has relieved me from the opression of perfection. Since that time, I’m no longer so worried about little nicks and dings from day-to-day use, and I’m now (at least closer to) enjoying the freedom from worry that I’ve enjoyed with my truck for so many years!

So apparently the crazy guy knew what he was talking about.

I’ve observed the opposite in action as well. An unnamed associate of mine is a wealthy business man who last year bought a very expensive luxury car. I’ve observed this normally relaxed individual become obsessive in his quest to keep the car in pristine condition. Not too long after purchase, the “first scratch” appeared on a fender, inflicted by an unknown party. Instead of embracing the new freedom of imperfection, he took the car to the shop the same day to have it repaired, and continues to obsess over the car to this day.

Thus I propose the Scratch Your Car movement day month concept ritual. Anyone buying a new car should free themselves from the oppression of perfection by finding a creative way to “personalize” it and add their own first imperfections. Instead of dreading and being victimized this uncontrollable future event, embrace the process and take control of your life. Key yourself, bump into something (but not someone..), or find something really creative to do. You’ll simultaneously improve your life and create a good story to tell your friends.

And they’ll probably think you’re crazy too.

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