Remembering all the bad luck with cars growing up. A story of constantly getting caught hiding all the dings dents and scratches and my dad’s ability to always catch me!
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It’s hard to speak your mind these days. voicing your opinion is tough and a climate where you’re either seen as an ultra conservative or a bleeding heart liberal. But what about our perspective? What about the Gen X perspective? Hi, I’m Tony a latchkey kid from the 80s and 90s. Now I’m in my 40s wearing cargo shorts, collecting Star Wars figures and reminiscing about the days before my first cell phone. The jennex perspective is for us cuts somewhere in between boomers and Millennials are we see things a bit differently? I’m tired of staying silent. It’s time to rant, discuss, unload and debate. Join Tony and his guests as they tackle the topics of Pop Culture, Sports, religion, and yes, even politics. If life’s a Rubik’s Cube, we’ve got the experience to tackle it. Welcome to the Gen X perspective with Tony Randazzo. Hey, how’s everybody doing today? So back for another episode here. So I wason Friday, I washad to go pick up my my car that had been in the shop for weeks and had to get a bunch of work done on it. And as I was driving at home, I had had some upgrades done to it as well gave me a little more horsepower. andI spent some time driving in and laughing as I was on my way home. And it it really made me think about my first carwhen I was back when I was 16 years old. So jumping back toback in thelate 80s has it would be I wasreally late 80s. I was, you know, 16 years old. Freedom meant getting your driver’s license. And my whole world was around this. So it was probably arguably since I sucked in high school. Like the one thing that I think I took seriously and studied was getting my driver’s license. And the big deal about going down on my birthday,which happened to land during the week.And going and taking the test and getting that driver’s license. Prior to that I’d gotten my learner’s permit, and was super stoked to be able to go down and do this. Andand before I turned 16, my dadwent out and bought a car that wasn’t running to teach me how to work on cars.It was at the time, which I still wish I owned this car because I’m an idiot. And when you’re young you don’t realize things was a 1964 and a half,two plus two fastback Mustangandwould be a hell of a car to own today by all standards, even if it was not restored fully. And I started working on that car early. I mean, I was 1415 ish. I mean, it was a solid year, year and a half before I ever got my license and started working on this car.And it really quickly turned into awhat would be referred to as a frame off restoration totally tore apart. And now everything off, down to bare metal and brought back once I think my dad realized how big the project was,and how long it was gonna take.Before my 16th birthday, I got another car and he and in my father beinga kid of the Hot Rod era himself realized that I was going to kill myself on a car that was souped up so he bought me a nother 1965 Mustang regular coupe.A six cylinder straight six. Now, if you put a tow ball on that car, you could probably tow damn near anything. So it had all sorts of torque but had no horsepower at all. It looked pretty, but it wasn’t going to win any races. It wasn’t even going to try to win a race but about the easiestengine to work on it ran. It didn’t need to be tore apart. And I had my first car 1965 Mustangstraight six. NowI love that car, I put a brand new interior in it.I learned how to work on the motor, I made every mistake on the planet, I broke every bolt on the block, you probably could break, which is not good when you’re dealing with motors. And about the only thing I didn’t do on that car myself or learn how to do was, you know, tune the brakes inand deal with the transmission all that much. I’m guessing brakes because I was even at 16 smart enough to realize that a brake job needed to be done by somebody that knew how to do it than a dumb kid that was going to crash the car more than likely at some point anyway. And brakes were probably important. Solong story short, 16 birthday, 16th birthday came around, and lo and behold, I got my license. And off, I was free to roam the world and drive cars and cause trouble, which I did. AndI was probablynot the best driver, I’m going to say I wasif I if I reminisce back on all the stupid shit I did driving cars, and notfrom the perspective of being outright dangerous to the publicin a way that I shouldn’t have had my license but stupid and distracted. So back then you were distracted by tapes for your tape player.or friends in the car that were those were your distractions, not texting, not all the electronics, it had no electronics, you turned your high beams on on the floor, which Oh my god, that story is hilarious. So those of you who are older,probably remember the little button that your left foot would control that turns your high beams on and off. Well. When I started working on that car, I was crawling around in there doing something and my dad was helping me in.And I said Hey, Dad, what is this thing? What is this? What is this little knob here button or what is this. And he kind of had a funny look on his face. And he said that’s for your high beamsfor your headlights. And I thought that was about the funniest thing in the whole world and laughed my full head off and jumped in the car and started pressing it with my foot. And I had only experienced, you know, high beams and regular cars at that point we’re up on the dash. And,and he still tells that story to people to this day on how that was the moment that he realized he wasgetting old.The high beam button that you used with your foot andand I have a ton of memories like that with my dad and working on that car and othersare getting caught trying to cover up things that I did to cars in our driveway. So as I’m driving this 65 Mustang around, I wasdoing dumb things, brushing to work or to high school or whatever. And I lived out of that car, that car was everything. I had my radio in it. And I’m always putting new speakers in it that you know, every time I could afford to go down and buy something, I would add something to it. Eventually I had new carpet and new seat covers and a new dash pad and everytime I could afford something, we would order it out of a catalog because there was no interweb really at that point. Sothe internet wasn’t the place to go. The catalog was we’re down at the shop, if you knew where the Mustang restoration place was you go down and buy stuff over the counter. So as I’m working on this car, and mind you It didn’t run all the time. So my dad had a Chevy pickup truck that I drove from time to time and sometimes longer stretches and sometimes shorter depending on how broke my car was.Not probably because he wanted me to drive it. I don’t think more because we lived. Although we were in Southern California, we really lived in a rural area called Santiago Canyon. Actually modjeska Canyon is where we lived in that was the foothills of Orange County. So my closest neighbor was a half a mile away if you can believe that in California and this is my high school years andSo it was a, it was a pain in the butt for to take me anywhere that meant somebody had to drive me. So there was an incentive for me to as long as I was kind of holding it together and not failing all of my classes in high school and being a punk. They would let me drive, especially to school every day because it was a huge hassle.So he had this pickup truck. It wasn’t anything.extravagant. At the time, it was really just kind of a basic pickup. And I would drive that andfrom time to time, I would do stupid things. So the one thing that I really remember and I almost got away with isI believe mom and dad were out of town. And I was driving that truck around and I want to say I had my best friend in the car with me and maybe my girlfriend and there was a whole group of us that we’re going to go drive up Saddleback mountain, which was kind of this really a Foothill, but this mountain in Orange County, anybody from there would remember saddleback. It’s still there. It’s probably burned down a couple times, but it’s still there. And we were going to take the service roads up. And it waswe were hanging out witha bunch of people some older than me, probably most some, you know, my age friends. And everybody had CB radios back then was pretty popular still. And we were going to take these fire roads slash dirt roads up to the top of Saddleback at night and up at the top of Saddleback mountain is a bunch of at the time TV repeaters and antennas and blah, blah, blah. And it was just somewhere to go drive up in the dirt in the mountains and go mess around. I mean, we weren’t up there drinking beer part in but it was just growing up having fun being stupid kids. AndI learned driving on those dirt roads at a very young age that unless you are in the front of the group, you can’t see shit.So we’re driving in a caravan. I mean, maybe there was 10 of us, and we’re going up the hill anddriving around and couldn’t see anything because of the dust. And it was dark. And we were dumb. And I hit or drought drove over a boulderwhich collectively crushed a section of the exhaust pipe in this truck.So Oh my God, I get in a panic. I didn’t get stuck. But it sounded like well, it sounded like there was no exhaust left in the truck. And it was loud and there was no hiding it from my dad who was going to be home in like a day or two. I mean, it was maybe that was like, we’ll call that a Saturday night and he was going to be home. Sunday night or Monday and I was gonna get busted. Well, our neighbor was a professional welder that lived a couple houses down, and I got at home and the next morning, I went over there in a panic. And he was, God bless him. He came over and brought his welding truckand fixed mycut out the crushed mangled portion of theexhaust and replaced it with some more tubing and called it good. And he said he wasn’t going to tell my dad. And off I went and I didn’t say anything. And I wasI was good. So I’m gonna say a week, two weeks went by, I’m in the clear, all good.I happened to be coming home from work and at the time I was working part time at my parents business. So at that particular day, for whatever reason.My dad and Imet up at a light on the way home. He was in his car. I was in the pickup truck, and he was sitting a lot lower than I was not that he could see under the truck. But that is where he was sitting. He could hear the exhaust. He heard an exhaust leak. It was I never heard it. I couldn’t hear it. I didn’t know what I was listening to anyway, but this little pitter patter of a exhaust leak that I could totally pick up now but back then, dumb kid.Get home.Everything’s good.Getting ready to go in the house and dad says Hey, hold on a second.Start that back up.I started back up.Andyou hear that snow? What are you talking about? get nervous. Now I remember kind of the sinking feeling that if he bent over and looked under that caror under that truck and sawthe weld marks and whatever that I was busted. And I for half a second thought, Okay, well, he’s in,you know, a pair of slacks or whatever he was wearing at the time thinking he wasn’t going to bend over and look under the car. And you know what being super old school the way my dad was, he immediately bent down. I don’t know if he set his briefcase down and knelt on it, or what he did in the driveway, but he bent down, looked under there and took one look at that jumped up, looked at me.And I just admitted what I did, because at that point, hehe knew I did something he just didn’t know how I fixed it. So I admitted that the neighbor Frank came over and fix the exhaust. And I think I got grounded. I don’t remember what happened to me at that point. But he was more concerned about the transmission, because when he looked under there, the transmission the bottom of transmission was banged up wicked, and that’s the transmission plate. And that truck wasn’t made for off roading, so there was no shielding or anything. And I put a couple big dents in the bottom of that. Well, eventually, that was going to make the transmission probably fall out or break not to get too technical in this podcast about being a dumb ass. But he made me take it to the training shop and probably pay for it with my own money. They checked it and everything was good. I didn’t do any damage to anything, except for one small exhaust leak that Frank missed when he was so graciously helping me out, which got me busted. And then I remember my dad and Frank talking and Frank just laughing. And dad being really mad, at least in front of me. And then I’m sure they laughed their asses off when I wasn’t around. But um, yeah, I got busted. So not too long after that. I was. I want to say Junior, junior year high school, graduation day, last day of school, not graduation day. But last day of school, you know that you can remember. I love the last day of school growing up always was that it was the weather we were in Southern California. So this amazing weather and it always seemed so bright blue out and like summer was here. The most awesome feeling ever. Oh my god, I can’t wait. And it was one of those days were coming home. I was coming home in the truck, same pickup truck. And I pulled into a parking lot like a convenience store to go get a Slurpee and a whatever. And came out and jumped in the truck and put it in reversed and promptly backed it up to a backed it into, you know those big giant concrete or steel poles that are on either side of a fire hydrant in a parking lot so that you don’t hit the fire hydrant. Yep, I slammed into one of those and tacos. The bumper in horrible.Andso I went home. Now, if you’re thinking of timing, so this was probably three o’clock in the afternoon. I get the truck home. Dad’s not home from work yet. So I figure Okay, I can get I can straighten this bumper out and he won’t notice. So I think I took a piece of wood or a piece of steel and I know for sure I took a sledgehammer and I’m trying to bang this bumper out nobody’s home yet. I figured maybe I can get this thing straightened out and dad won’t catch me. And the where we lived. You can see people the approach because there was kind of this canyon area in front of the house and you could see the road on the other side. And my dad had a convertible I think at that point. Andhe was coming up that hill and I didn’t notice him but he could hear me banging on the back of that truck with a sledge hammer from kind of across this canyon.And I noticed immediately when he gunned his car because I could hear the motor and looked up and here he comes down the driveway, jumps out of the car. I’m standing there with a sledgehammer covered in sweat trying to fix this dumb ass bumper on the first day of summer andIt’s ruined.Another couple 100 bucks out of my allowance for savings or I worked it off, or whatever I did, I got grounded again.By the time I graduated high school between having my car in that truck all in dad loves to tell this story. So if you listen to this podcast he’s going to be dying isall four quarter panels that are off four corners of that truck. By the time I graduated high school had been replaced, or fixed from me banging it into something, running it into something.I don’t think I was ever hit ever. But I hit everything with that truck, it didn’t matter. So the bottom, so the exhaust the trainee, so underneath, and all four corners, I think both door skins were replaced.So I got a lesson in spending money on fixing things that I couldn’t fix myself. And, andoh, that was after I graduated high school. Once I graduated high school, I was late for work one day, and so I was rushing in my Mustang. Andthey’re not known for handling really well their old cars at the time. That was from 1965. And were 1992 93 right in there. just graduated high school as working and crashed into a tree when I lost control while I was speeding on my way to work late. So younger days, not good attaking care of cars. And while I did take care of them, I was constantly paying to fix them because I kept breaking them. Which is really funny because now I havevehicles at our work that our employees drive. Not all the employees drive. But there is a handful of employees that drive and I go crazy.Now, when anything happens to these cars, and it’s total karma coming back to bite me, for sureAnd because I was in drove my parents, my father so utterly, absolutely nutswith with all this crashing that I did as a kid, and and fast forwarding tothis week, I had. So I had my truck, another truck. Like they keep showing up in my lifea diesel and had to have some work done on it and hada tuner package put in it so that it would run a little bit better. And I was talking to this guy who’s this crazy diesel mechanic guywho races tractors professionally and had this amazing conversation with this guy that does amazing work on diesel engines. And,and he said, Well, you know,we could give you a you know, we can tune it, you know,100 more horsepower,or 50 more horsepower on a more horsepower, 150 more horsepower. And then it went all the way up for 567 100 horsepower. And he was telling me stories about some of these younger guys would come in and get these jobs done on the trucks and then two weeks later, they would bring them back in and say detune them they were too much horsepower. And so I got I got a bit of an upgrade. I didn’t go crazy because this is still my work truck, it needs to be reliable, and it’s not a hot rod andgot a little more pep in that step. Andthis time of year, there’s a lot of salt and gravel on the road etc. AndI laugh I had never laughed so hard as I did when I ramped up the gas on that truck and started basically doing donuts in the road.A little better driver now I didn’t hit anything but cracked myself up all the way home with my new my newfound pickup truck that came back to life again, and just had the laugh and got me thinking about all the other cars and how much time and how much I’ve learned working on cars and that’s kind of where the story from, from dumb ass to adult.My wife at one point had asked me how do you know how to do all this stuff? And I don’t remember what I was working on at the time but maybe I was working on one of the cars or I was working on something in the house or building something. I don’t remember what it was but just how did you learn how to how do you know how to do this?And I think my dadso much for being this guy thatalways knew the importance of being self reliant and teaching yourself how to fix things and do things not just pick up the phone and call a handyman or whatever, you know, have somebody else do it not deal with it. So, you know,in my life now working at the winery, and this little farming operation that we have, that we work on, you know, we have tractors, and we have things and we have equipment and hoses, and piping, and plumbing, and electrical and all these things that need to be worked on fixed, modified, changed all the time.And my experiences and the people I’ve been exposed to have taught me how to do all these things over time. And, you know, I know how to do a little bit of everything.You know, jack of all trades, master of none. And it’s because of my father who has coincidentally teaching himself how to do crazy master woodworking stuff in his garage right now. And I’m kind of more hung up on thewelding and trying to figure out how to weld better than just good enough to make it hold together is kind of where I’m at right now. So that’s kind of something I’m trying to figure out and get better at. Butit’s been a really amazingadult life in regards to being able to be self reliant. And I think so many Gen Xers, you know, we kind of get this slacker generation thing going on, and, you know, just super easygoing and whatever, man.But I think what so many people forget is we still come from a generation of being self reliant, and, and figuring it out and doing it ourselves. Andthat is still super empowering to be able to say,you know, we can do this, we can take care of it, you know, yeah, I can do that, you know, not being afraid, not just calling, you know, Mr. handyman guy, or the mechanic or whoever, you know, obviously, there’s always a time and a place to call a professional when you’re working on something, but to be able to, you know, go fix whatever needs to be fixed.And be a little more self reliant is a pretty powerful, prideful thing, at least in my world. And I think is a direct result of kind of the Gen X generation, you know, we’re not afraid to get our hands dirty. You know, we have the stuff that’s out there anymore. We invented,although still considered the slacker generation, andyada, yada, yada, but we are also that eventful generation. And that’s a new fun word. And also, people that are, you know, determined. And, you know, we saw our parents, the boomersout there working their full heads off anddoing what they were doing. And we were those latchkey kids left home, right. So I had to work on my car. If it was out of self survival. It was out of survival if it was out of making sure it kept running, which I had to do all the time with my Mustang to keep it on the road. So I could go wherever I wanted to go. That’s what it was. But, you know, it’s a, I think, reallyadmirable, and I respect so many people that just kind of can roll up their sleeves and get it done when they need to. And that’s always been a fun and exciting thing in my life, because I spend 99% of my time every day, doing that, fixing it, modifying it, restoring it, cleaning it up, whatever it is, spend a lot of time doing that. Andjust last year, year beforethe localtown about 20 miles away Watertown, New York, used to have all these lamp posts all over their older area. And they were decommissioned A long time ago and kind of upgraded pot metal or concrete or whatever they were, but these were the old cast iron lamp poles with the ornamental lights on top and I bought a couple that had been sitting in this guy’s backyard for 20 years. I mean, literally in his backyard, out in the weather for 20 years, the tops of the lamps.The lights themselves he had in the garage, but the Poles were outside and they were cast iron and I spent probably a monthstripping paint and sanding on this pole in the lamp in restoring the light itself, getting rid of all the old electrical that was in it, fixing all of the glass panels that were in it andAll the fittings in it on the inside of it were all brass and they had all been painted. And if the thing was a mess and spent a couple months or a month, whatever it was working on this thing, stripping it down, repainting it all. We rewiring the electrical. And, ultimately, one we bought two of them.I did one of them, and took that lamppost. And I think that was when my wife had asked me the question, most recently, how did you learn how to work? a lamppost Seriously? How do you know what to do?We took that lamppost and we put it in my mother, we’d gotten it.Because my mom really wanted.Mary wanted this lamppost in the in the roundabout in their driveway on the house that they built on the farm. And they were kind of on this hunt for the perfect light. And I found itin this is before she passed away, so she knew we had it, and we were going to work on it. And, and we ended up putting it up kind of in her honor, it was after she had passed away, and we had gotten to rewire it. And my dad just made a comment about that light a couple days ago, and said, wow, you know, that thing is just perfect. There, it throws all sorts of light, and it looks beautiful. And it’s been out there. And mind you, I was a little nervous on that project. We put it in last year before winter hit. And in the way the wind blows through there, and I was thinking man that this top of this thing’s gonna blow off, or it’s gonna just fall apart, you know, whatever. And second winter in a row, and it’s still going strong, the light still lights up, it still looks beautiful. And I got another feather in my cap something else to restore. And it was really a neat, fun project that I kinda ended up doing in honor of my mother, and stepmother and her passing and putting it up. And every time I drive in there, and it’s turned on, or I can see it from the farm from the winery.See it lit up and it reminds me of her. And it’s kind of a cool thing, that it’s there. And so many people comment on it, because it’s, it’s a unique light. And, and people that grew up in the area know those lights, because they were all over Watertown. And there’s a similar version of them up in Watertown now. So you see it in, you know, the casual observer wouldn’t know the difference necessarily, but it’s an original old, original light, old school style. So it’s kind of cool to know how to fix that kind of stuff and put those kinds of things in and make them work, which is that was probably by far the biggest thing I had ever worked on. And I might just have an old barber pole from the 50s or 60s sitting in a box on a shelf that I’m getting ready to start working on next. And I can tell you how that one goes, I might actually do a video on that one and show the progress asas we restore it back to its former glory. And it’ll be a fun deal. Sothanks for listening. I had a good time chatting with you guys. And please leave your comments.Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, wherever you want to leave them. All my tags are in the outro herewill talk to you guys soon. It was great talking to you and have a good one. Man. You guys have a great day. Thanks for listening to the Gen X perspective with Tony Randazzo, where we see things a bit differently. Let’s get social. Find us on Facebook by searching Gen X perspective, Twitter, at Gen X underscore podcast and on Instagram at Gen X perspective. You can also find us online at Gen X perspective.com. And reach out to Tony directly at Tony at Gen X perspective.com. to maybe you can talk strategy on how to beat Super Mario Brothers three. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Gen X perspective wherever you get your podcast. Thanks for listening