Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Rough Draft First 975 Words

This is my rough draft of the first 975 words of my book. I felt it was time to start taking my experiences from the loose format in this blog to a more organized format for the book.

Is it possible to buy a Ferrari, drive it for a year, and then sell it without spending a bucket of cash? When I asked folks in the know I got different answers. “The maintenance costs will eat you alive” some said. “If you can handle the purchase price, the price of admission, you will be fine” said others. I think it is possible and set out to try just such an experiment. I decided to buy a Ferrari.

That sounds simple enough but what if you are not wealthy? What if you have house payments, school tuition, and all the other expenses that go along with raising a family? What if I am wrong? What if buying and driving a Ferrari really does require copious amounts of money? Will I end up with a car needing an enormously expensive service to be worth a few thousand less than I bought it for? What if a grocery cart hits it? What if one of my kids crashes their scooter into it? I can think of a thousand reasons why buying a Ferrari could be a financially poor decision but I am going to do it anyway.

Why? That’s a great question. It turns out “Why did you buy this car?” is the best question people will ask. You get several “How fast will it go?” and “How much did it cost?” but “Why?” is the best question. The answer is complicated and will take a bit of explaining. Let me start with this. Although I am what most people would call a pretty serious auto enthusiast I have never driven a Ferrari. I have only owned one mildly interesting car. I did ride in a Ferrari when I was nine or ten, sat in a few as an adult but have never driven one.

At first I would swear this was not a mid life crisis, now I am not so sure. When a nearly forty father of three decides simultaneously to buy a Ferrari and write a book mid life crisis is a good bet. I am not sure which was first but about the same time I was deciding to buy a Ferrari Alex, my oldest daughter had realized Barb and I were going to die. I remember going through this phase as a child. I spent many evenings talking about my death with my then ten year old daughter. So a further coming to grips with my own mortality played a part in my decision. I bought a Ferrari because someday I will be dead and probably unable to buy and enjoy the car then.

I have wanted a Ferrari since I understood there were Ferraris. I vaguely remember going through a stage when I wanted a Lamborghini, when the Countach was introduced. I calculated how long it would take me to save the money to buy one. Since my dad paid me three dollars an hour and I only worked a few hours a week I would be almost 100 before I could afford the car. If I buy a car now I am well ahead of schedule.

I can clearly remember when I fellow brought a rosso corso, red at that time, 308 GT4 to our house offering to trade the car for one of the lots dad had for sale. The car sounded great. I have yet to hear a Ferrari that does not sound great but to a ten year old it was absolutely stirring. Dad let me come along on the test drive. GT4s have tiny back seats. Thirty years later I still remember the roads we went and where we made a u turn. I think I remember how the car smelled, a combination of gas and leather. Dad chose not to trade the lot for the car. He’s a car guy too. A good financial decision certainly but I am guessing we would have had a lot more fun with the Ferrari than the land.

I thought about this experience often as I was going through the process of purchasing a Ferrari. So, growing up with a parent who likes cars and being introduced to Ferraris at an early age is part of why.

Those are the easily understood reasons. When folks ask I usually give them a combination of the first two. I bought the car because you only live once and I was brought up appreciating them. The other reasons require too much time and effort to explain. I am buying a Ferrari to expand my horizons. To broaden the realm of what I believe I can do. It feels a bit strange to say I am buying a car to broaden what I think I can do but there it is. When I was younger I took for granted the idea that I was able to do whatever I wanted which included buying a Ferrari someday. Years later I looked around, I have bills, kids in school, a house payment, all that stuff and I had a much narrower idea of what was possible for me. So the Ferrari is prop in an effort to expand my horizons. Like climbing Everest or visiting a foreign country.

I am buying a Ferrari so I can write a book. When I tell other Ferrari owners this I get a weird look, you’re not really in the club, look. Understandably so, they might be right. I have wanted to write a book for several years. I have started twice but always ran out of story after twenty or so pages. Buying a Ferrari gives me something to write about. Why write a book? Probably mid life crisis and desire to expand my horizons. So buying a Ferrari allows me to cure two middle age crisis itches and two self improvement itches for the price of one.

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