As a member of Toastmasters, I have a chance to enter speaking contests. This is a speech I wrote for a Tall Tales contest. I won at the local level and at the district level. I have another contest at the end of the month.
“The Rubber Car” — A Tall Tale
I’ve recently been having some car trouble. The trouble is that people keep running into me. Oh, not hard or anything. Just little fender benders. . .dings on my door. . that sort of thing.
My mechanic has been very please with my misfortune. Sure, he draws a long face when I come in with another dent for him to bang out, but he sure cashes my checks right quick. But, finally, he came to me and said he thought he had a solution for me.
“It’s this new thing they’re just trying out called “rubber fenders.”
“Yep, They replace your metal fender with a rubberized one. It’s made with a special process that let’s it keep it’s shape and hold the color. But, whenever someone bumps into you, it just springs right back. Like a rubber ball.”
“Okay, let’s give that a try.”
So, I came back a week later and got my car. Sure enough, the fender looked good as new. Jim grabbed a wrench and SMACKED the fender as hard as he could. The wrench just bounced off and not a single mark.
Well, this was great. I still got run into just as much, but before long, we’d replaced the entire body with these rubberized fenders and bumpers and such.
I began to notice a little bit of a problem though. Whenever I’d go over a large bump, like crossing railroad tracks for example, the car would bounce up and own something terrible.
“That’s just a result of all that rubber in the body,” Jim would tell me. And to tell you the truth, I sort of got used to it after a while. I even got to where I’d hit the gas a little right before the tracks, get a little airborne and then bounce on down the road for a good half mile or so.
Well, one day I was driving south down Geneva road in north Provo, and there’s some railroad tracks there about about 400 North, just before that big bridge they built to take you up and over Center street.
I guess I was gave it a little more gas than normal when I hit those tracks and when the car came back down, it stuck on something. That stopped me pretty quick too. I gave it some gas and it didn’t move. I tried reverse, same result. I was pretty thoroughly stuck on whatever had caught the bottom of my car. I thought about calling a tow truck, but that seemed a little silly if I was just high centered or something. I gave it some gas and I could hear the engine strain to pull me off whatever was catching. It’s a big powerful engine and front wheel drive.
I gave it even more gas. Now the engine was really straining but no luck. Even more and the front tires started to spin.
At this point it occurred to me that the car was made mostly of rubber and I was stretching it like a rubber band. I began to be a little worried what might happen if I stopped. The built up tension might throw the whole car backwards. I kept on the gas, even shifting in a higher gear. The tires were really smoking at this point, but I daren’t let up.
Glancing in the mirror, I could see the rear window getting further way. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear? Well, I was stretching that rubber. Have you ever snapped a rubber band back on yourself? Well that’s what I could imagine happening if I let off the gas. I poured it on even more. The wheels are spinning, smoke is billowing up, the speedometer is pegged out at 140 mph and the car was stretched out tighter than a guitar string.
Finally, just went I thought I’d have to back off or blow the engine
I broke free of whatever I’d gotten hung up and all that built up tension flung my car down Geneva road faster than a speeding bullet. I was worried I might hit someone, but there was really nothing I could do but hold on. And then I hit that raised bridge over center street. That was just like a launching pad. My car hit the top going well over 200 mph and it launched me in the direction of Southern Utah.
You might think I’d die, but here’s where the beauty of the rubber car came in. When I came down, somewhere around Ephraim, I landed in a WalMart parking lot and WHOOSH! Bounced right back into the air. And that car kept bouncing all the way down I-15. Each bounce wasn’t quite as long as the last, but there was so much built up pressure that it carried me clear past Cedar City and into Nevada. I finally came to rest on the outskirts of Las Vegas.
I was pretty shaken up, as you can imagine. I climbed out of the car checked for damage. And that’s when I realized that my car looked slightly different. All that stretching back in Provo had lengthened the car. It was now a long as a stretch limo. Which was handy, me being in Vegas, it only took me a couple days of limo work to get the money to come back home.
My friends are all impressed. Neighborhood kids want me to drive them to prom. My mechanic wants to charge me for turning my car into a limousine. Personally, I’m just happy it was a front wheel drive. Had the same thing happened with a rear wheel drive car, all that pushing would have turned it into a Mini Cooper.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.