Posted by: nickgerlich | August 31, 2007


Not too long ago I came to the painful realization that I had become my parents. I’m not sure if it is some bizarre sort of poetic justice being served, or if it is an inevitable part of aging. My kids think I am just as dull, boring, and old as I once thought of my Mom and Dad.

Funny, I don’t see myself that way.

Every once in a while, though, parents do things that start to redeem themselves. These unexplainable actions catch everyone by surprise, and leave folks scratching their heads. Or jumping for joy.

1980 CorollaSuch was the case in the spring of 1980 when Dad came home with a brand new 2-door Toyota Corolla SR5. Red. Stick shift. Fast.

Dad was 59 at the time.

My younger brother and I were high-fiving each other in the driveway, long before high fives were even invented. OK, maybe low-fiving. We weren’t exactly trendsetters, either. Our elation, though, was obvious throughout the neighborhood.

“Man, Dad really is cool!” I shouted gleefully.

I’m sure the neighbors, though, were wondering what was up. “Hmmm…red sports car. Late midlife crisis there, Mr. Gerlich?”

Mom was none too pleased. No self-respecting 50-something woman back then would be seen riding shotgun in a red sportscar. Maybe a blonde 20-something, but not the matron of a family. No siree, a nice 4-door Buick sedan would be far more appropriate.

And so Mom begrudged Dad his indiscretion. No one knows what possessed him to momentarily take flight of his senses, but my brother and I were loving him for it. Every time we got to drive it, we were Earnhardts-in-training. Thankfully, we never got any tickets.

Mom never let Dad forget that incident. We only had that car two years before Dad traded for a more sensible model (car, not wife). I suppose he got tired of listening to it. Today, they cruise around Florida in sedate (and stately) Cadillacs, Mom smiling with approval, and Dad’s head barely visible above the headrest.

After Dad’s bout with coolness, life returned to normal. But I’ll never forget that little lesson in consumer behavior. As predictable as you think people are, just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they’ll pull a stunt like this.

Have you seen the new Toyota Solara convertible? The red one. I bet my kids would love it.

Dr “I Am Not Dull, Boring, and Old” Gerlich


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