I’m comedian Vinnie Vitale, I’m 30 years old now. I have a steady job, a steady girlfriend, and recently moved into my own apartment.
Life is going great, and I feel more uncomfortable than ever.
Stability. It scares me. It’s like an unfamiliar guest that shows up at my door when I least expect. I’m never sure how to welcome him. I’m more inclined to bid him farewell in advance so I can get on with my unstable life.
I’m accustomed to “instability”, the lingering pest that overstays his welcome and prevents you from ever getting you life together.
He makes you stay out late at night, pushing you have another drink. When you get home, he raids all your cabinets. You wake in the morning on your couch – because instability “made you sleep there” — only to realize the motherf*cker cleared out your fridge too.
Your apartment’s a mess; it’s a Tuesday; you don’t have time to brush your teeth because you’re already 30 minutes late to work – and f*ck, where are my pants?! Did instability take those too? I swear, I’m never inviting him over again. That guy’s a d*ck.
If society has it’s way, instability and I won’t be hanging out much longer.
And I think I’m okay with that.
In fact, I’m even willing to give up a thing or two to prevent him from sticking around. At least for a month at a time…
Sometimes I try to see what my life is like without certain vices. More often I develop new ones. After all, isn’t life meant for enjoyment? Last month I discovered my latest obsession: sports cars.
A Sports Car(less) Life
Up until this point, I had driven two sports cars in my life. The first was my dad’s ’87 Corvette when I was in high school. Although my father owned the car, I rarely was allowed to drive it.
My dad never really liked this car. It was given to him in lieu of payment for a job he did because apparently the original owner didn’t really like it either. He refers to it as “the Barbie Vette” and “gay”. Nevertheless, it has roughly 400 horsepower and could take Barbie’s top right off on a straightaway.
He once let me take it out for about 5 minutes when I was 17. I hit 120 on a clear stretch in my hometown and thought I was floating. The only other time I drove it was to pick up my girlfriend for prom. I showed up to my high school in the Barbie Vette, a tuxedo, and a bowtie about two decades too late. My mom followed me there, promptly trading back the keys to my 1993 Honda Civic. That weekend I went down the shore without the Vette or my girlfriend.
For the next few years, I asked to borrow the car to no avail. Only my mother would drive it occasionally to run errands. Sometimes she’d send me selfies with the convertible top down and her hair blowing in the wind. Since then it’s been sitting in my parents’ garage with no battery. I’ve asked to buy it and they tell me it’s too valuable now because it’s “antique”.
A few summers ago I got the chance to drive another sports car. I was at some party with 4 Persian couples who were all wealthy and wondering what the hell I was doing there. This dentist and I started doing shots of tequila as he was telling me about the brand new Maserati he had just purchased. He asked me if I would like to go for a spin and I said, “Sure.” When we walked out to the car he handed me the keys.
I don’t know if he considered the fact that he had never seen me drive or we had just done 3 shots of tequila, but I didn’t really care. Before he could change his mind, I was peeling out of the driveway. Semi-automatic, it had shifters on the steering wheel and gave you the sense of driving a racecar. I burned around a few neighborhood turns when he must have started sobering up. He told me to go back before I had the chance to put it on the highway or through someone’s house. That night, I drove home in my Mazda wishing I went to dental school.
My Current Whip
Currently, I drive one of the most unappealing cars ever. It’s a 2000 Chevy Cavalier that used to be my grandfather’s. It’s got roll-down windows; the driver’s side mirror is broken; the sun visor is all disintegrated so when you put it down you get a cloud of debris in your face. It may sound luxurious, but I assure you it’s not. Yet, my grandpa would have had you think otherwise.
“The Cav” became available to me two years ago when he lost his driving privileges. Evidently he took it out to pick up prostitutes and my mom revoked his right to drive. When the cops found him about 100 miles from his house in some ghetto area outside Orlando, he claimed he was lost. Supposedly he was developing dementia, but I like to believe this was simply his scapegoat for trying to be a baller: “Oh, I was just trying to find Disney World, officer?”
Meanwhile, I have no idea what kind of hookers he was picking up. He was 85 and had this cancerous ear on the side of his head that looked like a rotten tomato that he refused to get removed. The cops were afraid he had an infectious disease so they called the fire department who showed up in gasmasks to transport him to the hospital. They detained him there until my mom arrived, at which point they should have offered her a gasmask because she had to drive him around all week to get his ear amputated. Apparently he smelled so bad she had to stick her head out the window the whole time she drove. Afterwards she cleaned his car and claimed “there was every imaginable liquid in it. I swear, there was some hooker’s puke in the backseat—he doesn’t sit back there! Why would it be his?”
Now I’m proud to say this is my car. It’s the car my girlfriend and I use to run to the grocery store; the mall; we go on road trips in it (though she may change her mind after reading this article). As unflattering as this car may be, it gets us from point A to B and that’s all that matters to me. Sometimes I do wish my grandpa were still alive just so I could get the real lowdown on what he was doing with it. On the other hand he would probably be disappointed to know the most exciting thing I do with it is purchase fresh cold cuts from Shoprite each week.
Last month I flew to California for a wedding. I was completely irresponsible from the moment I left. It was one of the best trips ever.
I started by going to the wrong airport. I didn’t plan on going to the wrong airport; I didn’t even check my ticket before leaving. I was actually attempting to fly standby and had no choice as a result. I was also running extremely late. When I arrived, it was 12:20pm and the flight I wanted was at 1pm.
I went up to the check-in counter and asked, “Can I get on a plane?” to which the guy replied, “Man, you better hop a cab ‘cuz you at the wrong airport!” Then I asked to speak to his manager because his response suggested he was not in charge.
The manager was a little more understanding and told me they “don’t normally do this” but under my circumstances “would make an exception.” This was after the female ticket agent next to him whispered in his ear, “He’s not going to make his flight anyway.” Subsequently I got held up in the security line behind some clueless old French lady, but I sprinted to my gate and they wound up seating me in the emergency exit row. Not only did I make my flight, but I had 5 extra inches of legroom with no one sitting next to me! Essentially I got upgraded for being a moron. I think I’m flying standby at the wrong airport from now on.
When we landed in LA, my friend said he couldn’t pick me up because his car wouldn’t fit my luggage. I use the term “friend” very loosely in the previous sentence. I had a car rental reserved for Friday morning, but it was Wednesday. I decided to see if I could push my reservation up.
If you’ve ever tried to rent a car from LA airport, you’ll know why they made pot legal in California; it’s pure chaos. But I was optimistic when I arrived to the claustrophobic congestion at Hertz, because sometimes I have false hope. And so far my irresponsible nature was bringing me good fortune.
At first this lady who resembled George Clinton forewarned me that “rental prices have surged in the past two days because Hertz is a publicly traded company” and she “can’t control the prices”. She then told me it would cost almost $400 to rent a Kia Rio for one extra day and I promptly told her, “This is bullshit.” I trudged off, only to pace around 10 feet away from her. Within moments, I returned to her window like a dog with its tail between its legs.
“You know, I got a nephew with an attitude just like you,” she remarked.
“Yeah… sorry. So about that price, is there anything else you can do?” I stated sheepishly.
“Well, you didn’t give me a chance to tell you before. Let me see,” she replied while typing into her 15-year-old desktop PC. She looked up from her screen, “So you’re a comedian?”
“Huh? Yeah, how did you know that?” I asked, dumbfounded.
“You put that when you rented with us last time,” she responded.
Oh, that last time? When I smashed the back window because I locked myself out of the car at 5am and my stupid friend had to get his bag in the trunk so he could go to the airport? Is that information there too?
I looked at her and smiled, “Oh yeah, I forgot I rented with you guys.”
“Ok, so I’ll tell you what. Do you want a Corvette?” she asked.
“What? You know I can’t afford that. We just established I’m a comedian,” I stated, beginning to seriously question her credibility.
“For real, I’m not joking. I got you a good deal.” She pushed the rental agreement in front of me. $336.03? This must be a joke.
“You can get me a Vette for all 5 days for this much more?” I inquired skeptically, my doubt growing the more I considered her resemblance to George Clinton. The sunglasses and dreadlocks were really not helping her case.
“Yes. Do you want it?” she replied, exasperatedly.
I paused for a brief moment to consider the possibility she was scamming me or on drugs, or both, and finally blurted out “Yes!” with more enthusiasm than I think she’d ever seen from anyone renting a car. Without hesitation, I signed the rental agreement, repeatedly thanking her, and walked out to the Corvette as fast as I could to ensure she didn’t change her mind. It was parked comfortably in spot “418”—my birthdate. Maybe this was meant to be.
For the next 5 days, this car was my dream. I floated down the Pacific Coast Highway to San Diego; hugged the winding cliffs of Malibu Hills while my girlfriend yelled at me to “slow down”; and floored it at every stop light there wasn’t traffic, which was about 3. There’s nothing quite like cruising down Sunset Boulevard blasting Elvis. In those moments, I felt like “the king”.
But like all dreams that involve luxury rental cars, eventually you wake to realize it needs to be returned. When the day came, I felt the way a hip hop star must feel after shooting a music video; although it appeared I was living the life, it was all just a facade. Soon I’d be back home to the cracked windshield reality of my Chevy Cavalier, turning tricks on corners to make ends meet.
On the other hand my grandpa proved you don’t need to be a gangster in a hot car to be a baller; even an old man with a mutilated ear can pick up hookers. Life is what you make of it—live it up however you can!