The Cruelest TV Commercial Known To Man

Before meeting my wife Ashley, I used to own a fully-loaded, gleaming red Dodge Charger. I've never been much of a motor head, but when I drove off the lot and heard the growl from the dual exhaust, I knew this was a car that fit my personality.

Today Chargers are a dime a dozen. A few years ago, however, after first hitting the street, all that power under the hood was quite bad-ass. When I rolled up to the clubs, the valets would park it for free near the entrance along with all the other hot cars. (Clubs like to do this because showing off hot cars projects an image that hot people are inside.) Since I knew a lot of the club owners, the coolness factor afforded me by my cool car was further enhanced by the ability to nonchalantly bypass the long lines of gawking onlookers waiting to get in.

Among the many great things about my Charger was the amount of room in the back where all three of my boys fit comfortably to include their car seats. And when the trips together were over, the leather interior made for easy clean up of Happy Meal fries and Gummy Bears. Kids plus cool car equals babe magnet. (Forgive my sexist reference ladies--it's only for effect, I swear.)

When I got the Charger, my plan was to pay it off early and then trade it in for the Dodge Challenger scheduled to roll out a few years later. That was not to be, though, once I went from three kids to five. It didn't matter how much truck space the Charger had, simple math and physics dictated the need for a larger vehicle. An SUV might have preserved my masculine image, but finances restricted my options to (damn it) the minivan.

Walking into the dealership to trade my Charger for a used Honda Odyssey, I realized my old life was over, and I was on a new course with no OnStar to guide me. Pulling away from the car lot in a drab symbol of emasculation complete with automatic sliding doors and eighteen cup holders, I glanced up in the rear-view mirror only to see my beloved Charger staring back with a sad, questioning expression. It looked like a faithful beloved dog that I had just dropped off at the pound never to return.

Since then I've come to accept the transition from V8 to seats eight. Sometimes my minivan even makes me chuckle like when I hand the valet ten bucks and then watch as he brushes away the Happy Meal trash before getting in and driving off. Still, there's a part of me that will always long for my Dodge Charger (and its brother, the Challenger).

When I see either one, Ashley consoles my distinct whimpering with a, "there, there, honey," while patting my hand. I know what I have in her and the kids is greater than any silly ol' car, but it doesn't change my opinion. This is the cruelest commercial known to man (unless you own one).


PS. I'm kind of curious what guilty pleasure(s) you other dads (and moms) gave up for the greater good?

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