Sunday, October 22, 2006

Respect the bovine bandana

On my way into the hardware store the other day, a guy stopped me in the parking lot to talk cars. Nobody ever stops me to talk cars. That’s like stopping Tucker Carlson to talk foxtrot. I can change a tire, refill the windshield washer fluid and rotate the radio stations, and that’s about it.

Thankfully, this guy asked the only three questions about my car (a Toyota “Don’t Call Me a Station Wagon” Matrix) that I could answer: what kind of mileage did it get, how old was it and how did I like it. It was nice of him to lob me some softballs. I’m glad he didn’t ask more difficult car questions, like why the letter V is used to signify how many cylinders a car has, because that just doesn’t make any sense. A cylinder looks nothing like a V. My car should be an O4, or maybe an I4 if you’re looking at it from the side.

I usually don’t do conversations with strangers very well. I never know how much I’m supposed to pry. Not prying enough makes it look like you don’t care, but too much prying makes it look like you’re interviewing the person to be a congressional page. Luckily for me, this guy did most of the talking. But his son finally indicated that our boring adult conversation had gone on long enough by aiming his space man action figure at me and going, “Pyoo, pyoo pyoo!”

“You got me!” I said. If I were in a sitcom, I would have clutched my chest and acted like John Wayne during a protracted death scene, perhaps tripping backwards over a pile of garden hoses or something, but you have to be careful when you’re hamming it up for a little kid in the presence of other adults. If the kid doesn’t laugh, you don’t get back the dignity you just spent. That’s a little more power than I’m going to give a kid who just murdered me in his imagination.

Now I’m tempted to go out and get one of those action figures for myself. Every time I want a conversation to end, I could just take it out of my pocket and go “Pyoo, pyoo pyoo!” and that would be that.

“Baby, would you mind rinsing off those dishes and…”

“Pyoo! Pyoo pyoo!” I’d reply.

“Mike, I didn’t see the report you were supposed to turn in last…”

“Pyoo pyoo pyoo!”

The applications of this technology are limitless. It mustn’t fall into the wrong hands.

I’ve noticed that people are much more likely to chat me up on the rare occasions when I’m wearing my ridiculous cow bandana, as I was on that day. People are really nice to me when I’m wearing that thing, perhaps because it makes me look deserving of sympathy. It’s just a black-and-white bandana with cows printed all over it, but it seems to have magical powers, like the Great Tiger’s turban from Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!, except that instead of telling you when I’m going to fly around the ring and punch you in the face, it makes you be nicer to me.

Still, I don’t wear it that often because it pushes my hair back like baseball caps do, and people have told me that baseball caps are the number one cause of baldness. People have also told me that slicing through fingers in the attempt to slice through bagels is the number one cause of trips to the emergency room. All of this information seems slightly suspect to me. In my personal experience, the number one cause of trips to the emergency room is igniting model rocket engines in one’s bare hands, and I’m pretty sure that baldness is the number one cause of baseball caps.

You can borrow Mike Todd’s cow bandana before your court date online at


  1. wtf? baseball caps cause baldness? no way. Gary alwyas wore baseball caps when I met him and not his forehead is something like 2 inches bigger that when he was 20 yrs old. I think you're on to something here, Mike.

    Pyoo! Pyoo! Pyoo! I think I'm saying that right.

  2. Sheri -- in how many ways do you rock the hizzle? Many. That's how many.

    Also, for any dumb people like me, here's an explanation of the cylinder thing from a cool person who emailed me's dad:

    "By the way, the V8 reference to a car's engine does not refer to the shape of individual cylinders, as that
    blogger wonders, but to the shape made by the two rows of cylinders
    seen from from the front: angled from the engine block, the two rows
    look like a V."

    I hope you feel smarter now. I do.

  3. You seem to know more about cars than I do.

    I know someone that has a cat named Ann Cusack.