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Eric: Severe Tire Damage

p55.gif(From Gossamer Commons. Click on the thumbnail for full sized waiting!)

As always, this is not a snark, because I can't Snark Gossamer Commons. I wrote it.

I'm writing this link because A) it's been a while, and B) because it's been the requisite two weeks since the end of Chapter One, and so we have had guest strips. But now, Chapter Two has begun, as of today, so it's a good day to get back into it.

Not... er... that much happens today. But hey, we've all been where Malachite is, right?

And now... a brief story from my life. So that this is more than just a shameless plug.

It was Friday night, and I was driving north from Peabody, Mass. I had a stop to make there, to grab some things for Wednesday. But, it took longer than expected, and now I needed to drive fast and hard to make it to the mall in Portsmouth in time to grab other things on her care package list.

(If you're wondering just why I'd be putting together a care package to send to Wednesday... yeesh, man. You haven't been paying close attention, have you? But I digress.)

So I'm driving, listening to the iPod... and the car begins to vibrate. Rhythmically.

So, like all good drivers, I think "oh crap. Don't tell me I need to have an alignment done. God damn it." And then I sped up some more, because dude. I had to buy conditioner. Conditioner for Wednesday. And as I go faster, the vibration disappears.

(When I told Wednesday this little tale later on, she let me know in no uncertain terms my priorities were screwed up.)

I make it to the mall at 9:22. I go to two different stores and buy two different things within eight minutes, and then talk to the Select Comfort saleslady through the metal grate. (I have a sleep comfort bed, and it has a slow leak. I asked advice. She gave me an eight hundred number and told me that apparently they'll just up and send replacement parts, free. Dude!)

I head out, feeling smug, and drive North... to the grocery store. There are foods one cannot get in Britain, you see. Foods which I can provide. Foods which are dirt cheap, which means bonus points without incredible expense.

And then I drive home. And put on the iPod. Specifically, one of the episodes of The Shadow I have. It is now late, and the radio play will help keep me awake, I figure.

So... I get within ten miles of my home. And the Shadow is playing. Specifically, a commercial. For the Goodrich Safety Silvertown Tire -- a tire that literally whisks water off the road like a windshield wiper working on a windshield, with the patented golden ply for extra blowout protection! (Goodrich was the national sponsor, while Blue Coal was the regional sponsor for New England. So, about once every three episodes we get Goodrich shilling tires.) The Shadow himself was advertising this particular tire, this particular episode.

"We'd like to talk to you about your tires," the announcer said. "After all, who knows--"

"The Shadow knows!" Orson Welles hissed, in his trademark voice, interrupting the announcer.

My car began to vibrate again.

"Your tires could be a death trap!" the Shadow hissed, in his trademark way. "Slipping! Skidding! Leading to a blowout! Leading to expenses, or injuries--"

The vibrating became a violent shaking. My eyes grew wide. This -- this was trouble, and I knew it.

"--or worse!" the Shadow cried.

My front left tire -- the one nearest me -- exploded.

I pulled over to the side of the road and put my blinkers on. And let me tell you, Orson Welles screaming at me that I was in terrible danger, using the intonations of the Shadow -- which was scary as Hell, thank you -- did not work to calm my heart rate down. Especially since I can't buy stupid Safety Silvertown tires. They haven't made them since before World War II!

I got out, and looked at my tire. Smoke was pouring from it. It had overheated, and that caused the blowout. So I call AAA. (I royally suck at changing tires in the best of situations. Given that I was on the side of a major arterial highway, trying to change a tire at nearly midnight with cars doing seventy around the curve right next to where I would be crouched seemed at best suicidal to me. Besides, I have AAA Plus for a reason, and this was it.

Forty-five minutes, they said. So, I listened to more Shadow episodes.

An hour and a half later, the guy shows up and changes the tire. In his defense, I live in the middle of New Hampshire. However, even with Shadow episodes to keep me company, an hour and a half in my car waiting for AAA was plenty long enough to shift me from freaked out to bored out of my skull. I watched cars blur past me all the while (including one person in a Mercedes going at least 90 who had the audacity to honk at me. I'm on the shoulder, my hazards on, and he honks. Yeeeeeah).

I go home. I shake a bit. I take Benadryl. Eventually, over the course of the weekend, I play City of Heroes, talk to folks, and price out tires (specifically designed to not overheat on the road). I make an appointment to get them replaced on Monday. Which is tomorrow.

And then, I uploaded Gossamer Commons. Because we're back, and blowouts may happen, but darn it, I had a deadline.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at August 1, 2005 2:26 AM


Comment from: ANT Link posted at August 1, 2005 3:50 AM

Dude, did that really happen while you were listening to an old tire commercial for The Shadow that happened to match up perfectly with what was happening to you at the time? That's gotta be one of the coolest and freakiest things that can happen to someone, the kind of thing that usually only happens in movies or other forms of entertainment.

Anyways, I'm glad to hear you're alright, that there was no major damage to yourself or the car, that AAA performs it's duties even if it doesn't always do them on time, and that Gossamer Commons is back. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been looking forward to it.

Comment from: Stephen Dunscombe posted at August 1, 2005 4:25 AM

Dude, did Orson Welles voice the Shadow? I would swear I have an episode where Orson Welles plays an innocent man accused of... accepting bribes, or possibly murder (it's 4:30 a.m. here, see)... and the Shadow has to clear him.

Comment from: Sean M posted at August 1, 2005 4:59 AM

"If you're wondering just why I'd be putting together a care package to send to Wednesday... yeesh, man. You haven't been paying close attention, have you?"

Wait, why were you putting together a care package? Honestly, I thought I was paying attention...

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at August 1, 2005 9:27 AM

In order:

First, yes. It actually happened exactly as I said. The Shadow was doing a tire commercial -- one of the ones where the Shadow was himself warning of the dire consequences of not using safe tires -- at the exact instant I have a blowout. I plan on suing the Welles estate.

Secondly, Orson Welles was indeed the 'original' voice of the Shadow, from 1937-38. (It's quotated because the character was originally just the host and narrator of a more general detective show that the magazine publisher sponsored, only after he came out, there was a clamor for "The Shadow Magazine." The publishers (naturally) met that demand with pulp, and then a new radio show that actually featured the Shadow's adventures was launched. That's when Welles became the man with that trademark spooky-ass laugh.

(Agnes Moorehead, who many years and many pounds later would become Endora on Bewitched, along with many other character actor parts she played over the decades, was Margot Lane, the Shadow's confidant and partner. Lois Lane, of Superman, was named after her -- though Lois never had Margot Lane's track record of saving the Shadow at least as often as the Shadow saved her.)

(And while we're talking about homages in Superman, the Shadow's identity of Lamont Cranston on the radio show was actually a simplification of his identity in the pulps. In the pulps, he was "Kent Allard," but "Lamont Cranston" was one of many identities he assumed -- an actual millionaire who Allard saved and who left the nation to retire and let the Shadow use his identity as a weapon. Siegal and Shuster took the name "Kent Allard" and combined it with Man of Bronze Doc Savage's seldom used first name of Clark when they created a man of significantly tougher materials.)

Comment from: John posted at August 1, 2005 10:04 AM

I was paying attention, but from now on I will be paying much closer attention. ;)

Comment from: Patrick Harris posted at August 1, 2005 11:47 AM

There's people who didn't notice the Wednesday thing? That's very sad.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at August 1, 2005 12:16 PM

The Shadow knows....

Comment from: MasonK posted at August 1, 2005 1:19 PM

Thank you, Bro, for the parenthetical comments in your comment. I knew Clark was taken from Doc Savage, and I knew about Margo/Lois Lane (a major tie in the attempts to tie all pulp and golden age comics into one universe and family), but I didn't know about Kent Allard being homaged there. But then, you know from name homages.

Comment from: Montykins posted at August 1, 2005 1:25 PM

and blowouts may happen

Heinlein reference?

Comment from: alephtwo posted at August 1, 2005 6:03 PM

That's "Blowups Happen" -

and I had the same thought...

Comment from: Coralie Coelsch posted at August 1, 2005 6:34 PM

I'm just glad Gossamer Commons is back!

Um, yeah, also glad the tire damage didn't turn into a really nasty accident or something. (Cause then you might not've updated GC on time.) (Boy, am I ever so selfless.)

Comment from: Doc posted at August 1, 2005 7:07 PM

I'm just glad that I'm not alone in thinking the Goodrich ads are cool.

Also I had no idea about the Orson Welles thing or the Superman connection, this greatly enhances my listening pleasure.

Just like achewood it seems Websnark is about education.

Comment from: miyaa posted at August 2, 2005 2:38 AM

Eerie. I too had a tire blowout, not once, but twice over the weekend. On the same tire. The first time, it happened on Saturday in a fairly busy local interestion near the college. The local mechanic had this kid fix my tire, but it didn't work. I was pissed the next day when my tire went flat again.

So, I went to Wal-Mart when it happened again the next day, because that day was a Sunday. And God looked down upon my car's wheels and called it Bad, because verily it was the wrong kind of tires. I've driven this car since I bought it for over a year, and now I'm told the doofus I bought the car on had the wrong kind of tires put on this car? And I'd have to pay $400 for a new set unless I'd want four flat tires?!?!?

I'm still bitter about this. Maybe it's time for some scotch...

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