Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ford Crown Victoria and a Pig

The last Ford Crown Victoria rolled off a Canadian assembly line Thursday, marking the end of the big, heavy Ford cars that have been popular with taxi fleets and police departments for decades.

Since 1979, almost 10 million Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Cars -- so-called Panther Platform vehicles -- have been sold.


Not to be too much of a stickler...okay, I am.

The Crown Vic first came out in 1955 replacing the 1954 Crestline Skyliner.


Of course it may have went out and then brought back, as in the Chevy Impala, but to the best of my knowledge the model name was a constant, if not the quality. Ford slipped as badly, if not more so, than GM and Chrysler and AMC in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

I had a 1976 model equipped with a huge V8 that would pass everything but a service station. Back then I made most of my money as a salesman and then as now face time with the customer was required to be successful.

The 55 mph speed limit was a serious problem when your territory covered 4 states of the mid south.

But equipped with a CB and a radar detector I ventured forth each work day determined to avoid the law and see enough customers to become rich and famous. Or, more likely, make enough money to pay the mortgage, buy some groceries and keep the kids in school.

Then, as now, the appeal of the car was its size and the great ride. I once hit a 100 or so pound hog doing about 75. All of the knobs bounced off the radio and the hog was launched like from a catapult. Somehow I maintained control of the vehicle and brought it to a stop. Outside of having to put the radio knobs back on the only damage was a thin coating of what can best be described as unprocessed hog manure on the hood and windshield.

It was a smelly mess. Thank goodness my windshield washer/wipers were in prime condition.

A 2011 anything would have either bounced the hog up allowing me to run into it with my windshield or bounced over the unfortunate animal causing the car to flip. Either way I would have been dead or severely injured.

And Obama's experts can't figure out why Americans are partial to large cars.

After I got the car stopped I turned around and drove back to the spot of impact, which was in front of a small farm house with a barn a 100 yards or so from it. Standing beside the road was a farmer.

Now Tennessee had a fence law which said that you must keep your livestock penned and that you are responsible for all damage they do if they get outside the fence. An interesting law in that it has led to the belief that any “escaped” stock that has done any damage by, say, getting hit by a car automatically becomes free agents of unknown ownership.

But not in this case.

“Was that your hog?” I asked the farmer who had dragged the hog back to the side of the road.

“Mister, you didn’t need to hit my hog,” he replied with a look that said, “That was my winter’s meat you asshole. Wait right here while I go get my shotgun.”

I decided that sometimes things should just be left alone, got back in the pig shit covered Vic and drove away.

At the next small town I stopped, filled up with gasoline, washed the car off and called the highway patrol to report the “accident.”

“Any damage to the car?” the patrolman asked.

“Not really,” I said, “but I just want to make sure there’s a record in case I find some and decide to sue the farmer.”

After a lengthy pause.

“Now, who did you say you worked for? And it is a company owned car?”

I gave him the name and confirmed that it was the company’s car.

“Sir,” he said, “you want to sue a farmer after killing one of his hogs in a local court?”

“I might,” I said not sure as to the direction the conversation was taking.

“Well,” he said, “you can certainly do that but my guess is before that trial gets done the farmer will own the car, your employer and you.”

For the first time in my life I truly understood “Home Field Advantage.”

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"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." - Karl Popper

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