“A Car Like Mine,” by Steve Schutzman

May 4th, 2022 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Because I am a proud, patriotic, ambitious, young immigrant to America who hopes to be rich someday and take advantage of all the great new tax cuts, I always try to follow the commands issued by cars bigger and better than mine, especially Hummers which are much bigger than the room I live in. This is especially true of the bumper sticker command “Support Our Troops” that I see on every Hummer on the road. I know Hummer drivers are doing their part, by burning the gasoline our troops are working so hard to keep flowing. What better way to show our troops that we support their efforts and that we care. It makes me wish every day that I had a bigger, better car so I could drive for Uber and lend more of a hand. Well, someday, but only if I keep taking night classes and working hard delivering for my Papa John, who is like the nicest guy in the world.

When there is a Hummer, and I am lucky enough to be stopped alongside it at a red light, I roll down my window, crane my neck and shout to the driver to ask him how a go-getting guy, temporarily saddled with a car like mine, can do a better job following the command to support the troops, Sir.

The truth is I feel accused and guilty. I shout up to the driver, patiently explaining that I am sorry he has had to issue his command since it wouldn’t be necessary if our support for every war we send our loyal troops to fight had been what it should, Sir. I shout that War is Hell and never Heck, Sir.  I shout that, since we sent our troops to war in the first place, supporting them is the least we can do and then ask him where he bought his bumper sticker so I can support them too, Sir.

But Hummer drivers are so high up and traffic noise being what it is, I have never heard an answer. Then again, I wouldn’t answer someone driving a car like mine either.

The example Hummer driver’s set is truly awesome for an American patriot like me because not only do Hummers get like ten miles to the gallon or even less, Go Troops! but as they say “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.  You see, Hummer drivers are not only supporting our troops with their bumper stickers, they are trying to act like soldiers at war both in their choice of military vehicle and in how they drive them.

Let’s face it: Hummer drivers are the type of drivers who can’t stand to have another car in front of them and what could be more American than that? Truly, when they tailgate you and blast their cardiac-arresting horns to get by and storm all the way to Baghdad, Kabul or Tehran they look like ferocious, big-toothed monsters in the rearview mirror. But after they pass, their command to “Support Our Troops” can be seen and obeyed by guys like me, at least for a little while. It’s effective advertising and nothing’s more American than that either. Those of us with lousy cars often need commands from higher ups to tell us what to do.

Speaking of higher-ups, the Hummer bumper sticker command to “Support Our Troops” is often accompanied by another bumper sticker command that says “God Bless America”. In the great American tradition of being both tough and righteous, these drivers are taking the bold initiative of giving orders to God. I don’t know about you, but if I were God and I saw a Hummer coming up in my rearview mirror, I’d follow its orders too.

Though I always follow the commands issued by Hummers and large SUV’s, I never follow the commands issued by cars littler and worse than mine, on the very rare occasions when I see one. These commands include such things as “Dog is my co-pilot” (whatever that means) and, of course, “Visualize World Peace” and “Visualize Whirled Peas”. Who in their right mind would ever follow orders issued by the slovenly drivers of these wrecks? What’s more, their commands are hard to follow. First of all, I don’t like peas, the way they pop and squish like rat eyeballs in your mouth. Second, in a world filled with imminent threats throughout history, like Vietnam, Iran, and Iraq, Afghanistan, Grenada and Palestine, it’s hard to imagine how there could ever be peace: At least not until all of us ambitious, patriotic citizens are rich, pay no taxes and drive better cars.


Steve Schutzman is a fiction writer, poet, and playwright whose stories have appeared in such journals as The Pushcart Prize, Alaska Quarterly Review, American Drivel ReviewFleas on the Dog, Painted Bride Quarterly, TriQuarterly, Third Coast, Post Road, Sand, and Gargoyle, among many others. He is also a seven-time recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant Award, awarded for creative writing excellence.

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