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Kermit’s Croak

July 25, 2012

Well, after 14 years and over 205,000 miles, my green 1998 Honda Civic EX (aka Kermit) is being retired. He still runs fine, but not well enough. He failed the state emissions test last weekend, and I can’t renew the license tag without passing the test.

A dealership I took him to last night asked for a mere $1,400 to fix the exhaust-related problems, plus another $800 if I wanted to also fix the driver’s side window, which does not go all the way to the top. Since the car itself is probably not worth $1,400, it doesn’t make sense to now spend over two grand on it.

Kermit was a faithful and reliable companion, lo these many years. True, I once tried to bring him sideways through a toll booth during an ice storm, but he never held it against me. He bears the scars of a city car parked on the streets of Chicago, but he never left me stranded by the side of the road. Other than the one time I blew a tire on a trip back to Akron, but I couldn’t stay mad.

My history with cars prior to Kermit was checkered at best. There was the mid-80s Chevy Cavalier I shared with an uncle during my senior year in college. I fused the engine together on a trip back from Christmas break. Turns out engines really like oil. I would’ve put more oil in it, but I was distracted by a loose cat in the backseat. But that’s a story for another post.

Then there was the gray 1990 Dodge Dynasty I bought off a different uncle. (Suddenly, a theme seems to be emerging…) This was the first car I ever bought. I loved its V-6 engine, but it constantly had problems. One time I lent it to a friend of mine, who was using it to lead a 5K foot race. As he gunned the engine with the start of the race, the car belched a thick black cloud of noxious smoke right in front of the runners. They were left doubled over, coughing and hacking before they’d even taken a single step.

When the brakes on the Dynasty were grinding against the rotors, I decided I’d had enough. That’s when Kermit and I found each other. I would’ve preferred a blue car, but green was the best I could do. I didn’t want to pay for the mud guards he came with, but I relented to finalize the deal. He didn’t have a CD player, but I put one in later. We made our first drive home on a Tuesday night. Next Tuesday night will be our last drive together.

Kermit is being donated to charity, where he will likely be auctioned off to someone who can appreciate the reliability and fuel efficiency he offers. He’s still a good car, even though the air conditioning stopped working several years ago, the fabric on the sun visors is flaking away, and a piece of the passenger-side panel has been missing since my wife was bested by a garage she was backing out of nine years ago.

For now, we will be a one-car family. Farewell, old friend.

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  1. Maybe Jason Segal will buy it and restore it back to life!


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